ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

School Textbooks: From Sublime to the Ridiculous

A Class XII Sociology textbook of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education was found to have written on a number of social practices and trends as if it were explaining the legitimacy of such practices rather than encouraging reflection on their regressive features.

Comments on an earlier draft by Suresh K Reddy proved helpful

In early February, a sentence linking, ugliness of a girl to demands of dowry, in a Class XII Sociology textbook of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, produced and distributed by the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research, made news headlines. The book which has six authors, lists ugliness as the 12th cause of dowry. If 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 bridegroom family (p 78). Other causes listed for dowry are equally random and absurd, such as,

expectations of suitable bridegroom (usually parents expect suitable, well-educated, well matched, better earning, good character and well cultured bridegroom for their daughter. They also expect well-to-do in-laws, so that she can live happily after marriage. Hence they are prepared to spend more money at the time of marriage); compensation principle (parents of bridegroom demand more dowry at the time of their sons marriage in order to compensate for the dowry amount they have paid for their daughters marriage); social prestige and help to newly married life. (MSBHSE 2016)

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

INR 59

(Readers in India)

$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.