Women rights activists have condemned the Maharashtra State Education Board over a class 12th text book listing ugliness as one of the reasons behind social evil dowry.
The chapter, titled 'Major Social Problems in India', in the sociology textbook states, "If a girl is ugly and handicapped, then it becomes difficult for her to get married. To marry such girls bridegroom and his family demand more dowry."
It goes on to say that the girl's parents 'become helpless' and pay the demanded dowry.
Taking a strong exception to the issue, the National Commission for Women chair Lalitha Kumaramangalam told news agency ANI that girls are 'not just about their looks.
She said that the NCW has written a letter to Maharashtra education minister Vidod Tawde to look into the matter.
Speaking to ANI, Tawde said that he has asked the education board to look in to the matter and make the appropriate changes. He also said, "Politics and academics should not be mixed," while asserting that that he never 'interferes in the curriculum and the academic matters'.
Among other reasons for dowry mentioned in the textbook are 'social prestige', 'expectation of the bridegroom' and 'compensation principle'. It also reportedly lists marriage between a higher caste man and a lower caste woman as one of the reasons.