No more les­son on how to con­ceive a boy

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Front Page - Musab Qazi musab.qazi@hin­dus­tan­times.com

IN­STI­TUTE WITHDRAWS BOOK FOR BA STU­DENTS DESCRIBING A RIT­UAL TO CON­CEIVE A MALE CHILD AND HOLD­ING CASTE SYS­TEM ‘INSTRUMENTAL IN PROTECTING THE HINDU CUL­TURE’

A his­tory text­book pre­scribed by Sant Gadge Baba Am­ra­vati Univer­sity that came un­der fire for describing an an­cient rit­ual to con­ceive a male child has been re­moved from the cur­ricu­lum.

Ajit Desh­mukh, reg­is­trar of the univer­sity, said the vicechan­cel­lor took the de­ci­sion to re­move the book from the list of ref­er­ence books pro­vided in the syl­labus. The univer­sity is­sued a no­ti­fi­ca­tion to an­nounce this de­ci­sion last month.

HT had re­ported that the book in Marathi for first-year BA stu­dents ti­tled Bhar­tacha Iti­has (In­dian His­tory), pub­lished by a Nag­pur-based pub­lisher, de­scribed the rit­ual in a chap­ter named Sa­ma­jik Vikas (so­cial de­vel­op­ment) that en­lists 16 sacra­ments of life adopted un­der the Ashram sys­tem preva­lent in an­cient In­dia. While ex­plain­ing Punswan — the sec­ond sacra­ment — the book reads, “It was a rit­ual to con­ceive a male child. It in­volved in­sert­ing pow­der of the stem of a Soma-like veg­etable in the right nos­tril of the preg­nant woman. Some texts have men­tioned the Banyan tree.”

In an­other chap­ter ti­tled Var­nayavastha (caste-sys­tem), the book sug­gested that the caste sys­tem had been ben­e­fi­cial for so­ci­ety. It claimed the caste sys­tem was instrumental in protecting “Hindu cul­ture” from for­eign in­vaders and had con­trib­uted to de­vel­op­ment of var­i­ous skills. It went on to sug­gest that lack of in­ter-caste mar­riage had helped pre­serve ‘pu­rity of blood’.

The pas­sage on con­ceiv­ing a male child was flagged by Ganesh Borhade, an Ahmed­na­gar­based ac­tivist, who sug­gested that the pas­sage vi­o­lates PreCon­cep­tion and Pre-Natal Di­ag­nos­tic Tech­niques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994. The Act seeks to stop fe­male foeti­cide and has banned pre­na­tal sex de­ter­mi­na­tion.

Fol­low­ing a com­plaint by Borhade, the ad­di­tional di­rec­tor of health ser­vices at the state fam­ily wel­fare of­fice in Pune, in a let­ter, di­rected the Am­ra­vati district sur­geon to act against the reg­is­trar of the univer­sity.

“The district col­lec­tor took up the mat­ter and it was re­solved promptly. We hope the state will act against vi­o­la­tion of PCPNDT Act in cur­ric­ula,” said Borhade.

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