MUMBAI: A textbook for Class XII in Maharashtra has cited an outrageous reason for the dowry problem in the country - "ugliness" and physical handicap of a girl. The text appears in a chapter in the sociology textbook titled 'Major Social Problems in India' of the State Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board. Along with factors like religion, caste, social prestige and compensation principle, the chapter cites "ugliness" as a reason for the grooms' families demanding more dowry.
"If a girl is ugly and handicapped, then it becomes very difficult for her to get married. To marry such girls, bridegroom and his family demand more dowry. Parents of such girls become helpless and pay dowry as per the demands of the bridegroom as family. It leads to rise in the practice of dowry system," the textbook says. Commenting on the issue, State education minister Vinod Tawde on Wednesday said, "The Board of Studies might have wanted to highlight the harsh reality of the society." “The minister has spoken to chairman of Maharashtra State Board of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education Gangadhar Mamane and an explanation has been sought from the committee that put together the book,” said an official communiqué from the minister’s office. “The syllabus and the book are over three years old,” the minister pointed out and said politics and academics shouldn't be
mixed. “This is an academic issue and an experts’ body takes decisions in this regard. They might have wanted to highlight reality in society through the curriculum,” Tawde said in his statement. He, however, clarified that his department will consider objections to the text. “We shall send the suggestions received from sections of society to the Board of Studies and then consider their recommendations,” the minister said. Board chairman Gangadhar Mamane said, “I will discuss the issue with the Board of Studies and will then comment on it.”