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A Comprehensive Guide on How to be an Adarsh Bharatiya Nari

Since this isn’t the first time a textbook had some precious advice for women, we decided to put together the numerous ways books have asked women to live their lives.

Adrija Bose | News18.com

Updated:November 15, 2017, 10:11 AM IST
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A Comprehensive Guide on How to be an Adarsh Bharatiya Nari
Image: Network18 Creatives
If you are a woman in this country, you have grown up hearing too much advice from relatives, friends and Sharma aunty. ‘Don’t go out in the sun. Who will marry you if you are dark?’, ‘Don’t befriend males. Log kya kahenge?’, ‘Don’t wear skirts. It’ not nice to show legs’, ‘Get married and have kids before 30. That’s a woman’s job,’ ‘Learn to adjust with your in-laws. It’s okay if they scold you or not let you work’.

The list goes on endlessly. More often than not you have learned to nod at this unsolicited advice and wear the damn skirt, have male friends and managed to find a husband despite going out in the sun. But it seems now those relatives and neighbours have got together to pen down books—in some cases, textbooks that are taught to children in schools.

The other day the Rajasthan Education Department’s in-house magazine asked women to do household work—sweeping, mopping, manual grinding of grains, and filling water in pots as ways of staying fit. You have to give it to the state government for being so concerned about women’s health, not so much for men though.

Since this isn’t the first time a textbook had some precious advice for women, we decided to put together the numerous ways books have asked women to live their lives. Let’s not lose track of them. After all, they have been written keeping us in mind, right?

1. Please don’t be ugly

Slides-01

A Class 12 Sociology textbook in Maharashtra said that one of the reasons for families seeking dowry at the time of marriages is “ugliness” and “disability”. So if you are a girl with values and care about your family’s hard-earned money, please don’t be ugly. And if you are disabled, you be damned. Please find a way to fix your disability. You know who’s responsible if your parents have to sell their properties to get you married? You, of course.

2. Stop working—you are creating unemployment

Slides-02

Economists may give you various reasons on why unemployment is increasing in the country. But guess who’s the main culprit? Women. A chapter in Class X Social Science textbook in Chhattisgarh said that it is because women are taking up men’s job that men are getting unemployed. “Before independence few women were employed. But today women are employed in all sectors that has increased the proportion of unemployment among men”—Exact words. If you want to be a good citizen, please stop working. And stop stealing men’s jobs.

3. Be a donkey, not a woman

Slides-03

If you are a woman, please find ways to turn yourself into a donkey. Because A 2006 Hindi textbook from the Rajasthan Education Board very clearly said that housewives are like donkeys. After all, you have the same job-- toil all day, and may even have to give up food and water to help your master (Read: husband). In fact, the book said that donkeys are better than housewives. The housewife may sometimes complain and walk off to her parents’ home, but a donkey will never do that.

4. Gambhir, oonchai and sundar rang: How to be a good entrepreneur

Slides-04

Apparently, your ‘beautiful complexion’ is required in every field of your life. Even if you want to become a successful entrepreneur. Rajasthan government schools taught high school students that to be a good entrepreneur you need these very special qualifications-- uttam swasthya (perfect health) shaleenta (calm), prabhavshali vyaktitva (impressive personality), acchhi oonchai (good height), sundar rang (beautiful complexion) and gambhirta (seriousness). Budding entrepreneurs, please take note.

5. Turn into your husband’s phone network

Slides-05

A chapter on Sant Kanwar Ram, a Sindhi poet, for class VIII students "states that a woman's duty is to follow her man." So wherever he goes, please follow him. Or rather, turn into his phone network. Maybe that will be easier.
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