If exam questions are focused largely on the contents of a book, it would be disingenuous to refer to the education system as anything other than a ‘memory test’. Photograph: (AFP)
A chapter in a Class XII textbook states: 'To marry such (unattractive) girls, bridegroom and his family demand more dowry'
Students in India's western state of Maharashtra are being taught that the dowry culture "prevails" because "ugly women find it difficult to get married".
A Class XII sociology textbook said dowry was a social ill but the reason listed as to why the culture persists in a chapter titled 'Major Social Problems in India' smacks of downright misogyny.
The text goes on to say: "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’s family. It leads to rise in the practice of dowry system.”
The state's education board chief, GK Mhamane, told CNN-News 18 that he will discuss the matter with the Board of Studies.
"I have asked for an explanation. I am out of station now and will return tomorrow. I will discuss it with the officials and will take action against whoever is responsible."
Payment of dowry remains endemic both in rural and urban India. Many households demand dowry from the bride's side, putting enormous financial strain on the family. Failure to pay dowry has also led to a litany of crimes against women, including immolation.
Although India has legal measures to clamp down on crimes related to dowry, women have been often subjected to abuse and even death if their families are unable to cough up the amount.