‘Ugly girls can be married off’: Indian textbook lists merits of a dowry system

Indian textbook FI
Image: The Quint
  • A page purportedly from an Indian nursing textbook has gone viral for stating that “ugly looking girls can be married off with an attractive dowry.”
  • The point was from a list in the textbook regarding the “merits and advantages” of a dowry system.
  • The post warranted a response from Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Priyanka Chaturvedi, who posted an official letter to the Minister of Education urging him to remove “such regressive textbooks.”

A page from an Indian college textbook is going viral for stating that “ugly looking girls can be married off with an attractive dowry.”

The page is reportedly from “Textbook of Sociology for Nurses” by TK Indrani, and was posted on Twitter by user @chhuti_is on April 3. The image of the page shows a bullet point list of the “certain merits and advantages” of a dowry system. It states that “ugly looking girls” still had a chance at being “married off” to a “well or ugly looking [boy]” with an “attractive dowry.”

Also included in the points were the “spread of education among girls,” since the demand of a dowry would be “less” with an educated or employed woman. 

At the time of the post, the textbook was reportedly rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon reviews.  In the comments, one user urged everyone to leave a low review so that the book might be “withdrawn,” citing the book as “dangerous” for the “young and impressionable.” Amazon appears to have taken the book down as it is no longer available for purchase.

The post also warranted a response from Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Priyanka Chaturvedi, who posted an official letter to her Twitter account. She publicly urged Minister of Education Dharmendra Pradham to remove “such regressive textbooks” from “the curriculum” and “take strict measures” to ensure that “anti-women content” is “neither taught” nor “promoted” in academic institutions. 

The Twitter post about the textbook page has been retweeted over 5,000 times  and liked by over 12,500 users since being uploaded on Sunday.

On April 4, the Indian Nursing Council (INC) issued a response stating that it “strongly” condemned unlawful, “derogatory content.” It also raised concern over the textbook’s reference to INC material to publish what the INC deemed “substandard.”

The INC is a committee that regulates nursing education in India. Its letter also emphasized that it “only [prescribed] syllabus for various nursing programs which is placed on its website.”

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