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HomeIndiaIndian Nursing Council files police complaint over textbook justifying dowry, alleges defamation

Indian Nursing Council files police complaint over textbook justifying dowry, alleges defamation

Textbook of Sociology for Nurses claims dowry can be ‘helpful in establishing a new household’, and says ‘ugly-looking girls’ can be married off with an attractive dowry.

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New Delhi: The Indian Nursing Council (INC) has lodged an official complaint with the Delhi Police against the author of a nursing textbook that justifies dowry. The book has caused a furore after a page from it went viral on social media.

The book, Textbook of Sociology for Nurses, authored by T.K. Indrani, justifies dowry as something that can help set up a new household, or if what’s offered is “attractive” enough, can help marry off “ugly-looking girls”.

In her letter to the station house officer of Okhla Industrial Area, Dr Sarvjeet Kaur, secretary, INC, wrote, “The author, Ms Indrani, has written a chapter in the aforesaid book titled ‘Family and Marriage’ with a subtopic named ‘Merits of Dowry’.”

“The contents of the said topic are not only regressive and derogatory but also justify an illegal act of dowry, which is a punishable offence under the Dowry Prohibition Act. The said book is being used by certain colleges as a textbook. The said book is negatively impacting the young and gullible minds of the students in the field of nursing, and also endorsing objectionable content that hurts the feelings of people at large,” she wrote.

The book, on its cover, claims to be “as per INC syllabus”. Kaur in her letter has alleged that the publishing house and the author have used the INC’s name without authorisation, and have defamed its name. She urged the police to take action against them for corrupting the minds of young students by teaching them “regressive and illegal acts that are prohibited under Indian law.”

‘Marrying off ugly girls’

The book says that one of the causes of dowry is the “desire and aspiration of every parents to marry his daughter in a higher and rich family to keep up or to add to his prestige and also to provide security and comforts to the daughter. The high marriage market value of the boy belonging to rich and high social status family have swelled the amount of dowry. (sic)”

The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, prescribes punishments for giving and taking dowry. Demanding it is an offence, and there’s also a ban on marital advertisements promising dowry.

The offending section quoted in the complaint expounds on the “merits” of dowry as follows: “Dowry is helpful in establishing new household. The custom of giving household items like cards, mattresses, television, fans, refrigerator, utensils, clothes and even vehicle are found in many parts of our India as dowry. The parent will share of property. (sic)”

“The girl receives a share of the parental property as dowry. Spread of education among girls. 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. (sic)”

(Edited by Rohan Manoj)

Also read: Downside of dowry crackdown — women’s decision-making power falls, domestic violence goes up


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