Why do poor people, especially of the rural areas, especially tribals, “procreate” more often than the rich? A clas 12 sociology textbook, produced by the Maharashtra government believes this is because they “do not have sufficient means of recreational facilities.”
Insisting “their only form of enjoyment is indulging in sexual activity, without even considering its outcomes”, the book wants teenaged children to believe that the only way to counter is to ensure that “these people are provided with certain recreational facilities”. Once this happens, “the number of births would definitely come down.”
This is, interestingly, not the only quotable quote from the book, brought to light by scholar, Disha Nawani, in a commentary, “School Textbooks: From Sublime to the Ridiculous”, published in the top journal, “Economic and Political Weekly" (EPW).
Published by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, and produced and distributed by the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research, the book also makes one believe that “the women having high status prefer to give birth to few children” because “they consider that having more children will obstruct their career development”.
At another place, talking about the “problems of working women,” the book seeks to blames wives’ ambition for family tussles. It says, “If wife is more ambitious, she concentrates on her career and attempts to get promotion.” The result is, “she becomes somewhat negligent about her home and so her husband expresses his anger.”
Further: “Children are somehow neglected if both husband and wife are in service and as a result children can become deviant. For that they both blame each other.”
And what is the outcome? It underlines, “Many of the working women are not in a position to take care of their husbands or even some of them are not willing to take care of in-laws. As a result husband becomes angry”!
A third example cited by Nawani is about the reason for “demands of dowry”, which include a girl being “ugly” or handicapped”, which makes it difficult to get her married; and “expectations of suitable bridegroom” who is “well-educated, well matched, better earning”.
Other explanations for dowry are – a situation under which “parents of bridegroom demand more dowry at the time of their son’s marriage in order to compensate for the dowry amount they have paid for their daughter’s marriage”; and “social prestige and help to newly married life.”
Unemployment, the sociology book seeks to suggest, is not a problem which the state should be worried about. It says, “Suppose a person has no employment, it is his/her personal problem”, even as wanting to differentiate between “personal” and “social” problem.
It says, “A social problem is different from personal problem. A problem which is faced by the person or his/her family is considered as a personal problem. A problem, on the contrary which is faced by the numerous persons, is considered as social problem.”
Nawani quotes from the preface to say, the book has been published after “teachers and students appreciated those textbooks very much and were satisfied with the content and presentation”, adding, the book has been “reviewed by experts”.
This is not the only book which provides such quotable quotes, says Nawani. The economics textbook for Class 9 (Goel 2017), under “social discrimination against women” states: “As women earn more money – as has been repeatedly shown – they spend it on the further education and health of the children, as opposed to men, who often spend it on drink, tobacco or other women”!