Regressive and illegal: Textbook states attractive dowry can help ugly-looking girls get married

Indian Nursing Council files complaint against the author of a nursing textbook that justifies dowry

Even as India is forging ahead by its tough stance on dowry, a nursing textbook has just glorified the act of offering it. The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, it may be apt to recall here, calls for punishments for giving and taking dowry. Demanding dowry is an offence, and there’re exists a ban on marital advertisements promising dowry.

It is in this context that the nursing textbook assumes significance.  Titled ‘Textbook of Sociology for Nurses’ the book which has been authored by T.K. Indrani, goes all out in its attempt to justify dowry as something that can help set up a new household. Condemnably, it also says that if the dowry is offered is attractive enough, it would prove to be helpful in marrying off “ugly-looking girls”.

Dowry justification content invites INC ire

On its cover, the book claims that the contents are in accordance with the Indian Nursing Council (INC) syllabus.  This has prompted the Indian Nursing Council to file an official complaint with the Delhi Police against the author of a nursing textbook. After the page that spoke about justification of dowry went public, it had gone viral on social media.

Dr Sarvjeet Kaur, secretary, INC, in her complaint written to the station house officer of Okhla Industrial Area, stated that the author, Indrani, has written a chapter in the book titled ‘Family and Marriage’ with a subtopic named ‘Merits of Dowry’.  Adding that the author and the publishing house have used the INC’s name without authorization, Dr Kaur stated that the act has defamed the Indian Nursing Council.

Calling for action against the author of the book and its publisher, the INC secretary said that by teaching young people “regressive and illegal acts that are prohibited under Indian law,” the people behind the book have been corrupting their minds.

As per the complaint, the book’s contents that speak of dowry are regressive and derogatory, and they also go to the point of justifying an illegal act. This, is in fact, punishable under the Dowry Prohibition Act. The book even goes to the extent of stating that one of the causes of dowry is the desire of the parents to marry off their daughters to rich families so as to add to their prestige.

Dowry helpful in establishing new household, says book

One of the deplorable areas in the content is when it says dowry is helpful in establishing new household. Further, it goes on to say that because of burden of dowry, many parents have started educating their girls. When the girls are educated or even employed the demand of dowry will be less, thus it is an indirect advantage. Ugly looking girls can be married off with attractive dowry with well or ugly looking boys.

So much for progress. It is still a matter of concern that such regressive, illegal acts get the go ahead in a country that has been witnessing extreme criminal offences in the name of dowry.

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