NEW DELHI: “If a girl is ugly and handicapped, then it becomes difficult for her to get married,” says a textbook for class XII students prescribed by the Maharashtra board, Indian news portal The Wire reported on Friday.
The sociology textbook prescribed by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Education for class XII students lists ‘ugliness’ as a cause of dowry. The state is ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu revivalist Bharatiya Janata Party.
Following this line of argument, the section suggests that when “such girls” have to get married, the bridegroom’s family demands more dowry, and the girl’s parents “become helpless” and pay the demanded dowry.
The book, Sociology Standard XII, authored by six people and published by the state board, discusses dowry under the chapter ‘Major Social Problems in India’, which also includes sections of gender inequality, domestic violence and farmer suicides among other things.
In the dowry sections, 12 causes are listed among which are ‘social prestige’, ‘expectation of the bridegroom’ and ‘compensation principle’. While the causes listed in the book outlines established practice in India, it fails to evoke critical engagement, The Wire said.
For instance, the section titled ‘social prestige’ says that dowry has become a “symbol of social prestige”, as a consequence of which the book suggests the more the dowry is paid, the more social currency a family has.
Published in Dawn February 4th, 2017