Monday January 22, 2018

Are Indian Textbooks inculcating Gender Stereotypes?

12th grade sociology textbook of Maharashtra State Board advocated that if a girl is ‘ugly’ or ‘handicapped’ then her family is liable to dowry

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New Delhi, Feb 10, 2017: Recently, a story on a social issue based story portal surfaced, which spoke about the plight of gender representation in state board textbooks. A 12th grade sociology textbook of Maharashtra State Board advocated about the reason behind the existential social evil called dowry.

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The reason mentioned in the book was that if a girl is ‘ugly’ or ‘handicapped’ then her family is liable to dowry. It evokes a rationale that the girl is required to pay a ‘penalty sum’ to qualify for marriage. Does this exhibit that India is still regressive and the sub continent is not receptive to positive social growth? Is India still conforming to centuries old stereotypes and pursuing not-so-effective strategies for escaping stereotypes that show women only capable of doing menial jobs?

So, what kind of ramifications do the textbooks conforming to the gender stereotypes have? The ramifications could be aggravation in economic and social gender disparity, in which women are stereotyped to be weak, meant for menial jobs and not possessing any technical prowess. Stereotyping is also responsible for aggravation in gender-based violence and crimes against women. It’s nefarious for men as well. For instance, a man responsible for fulfilling of household chores is often seen with contempt.

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The first time this issue came into the limelight was post 2016 Nirbhaya rape case when Justice Verma committee gave a recommendation to integrate gender equality in the curriculum for inculcating an egalitarian approach. PMO asked HRD ministry to reiterate on the inclusion of moral science and value education in schools. NCERT submitted a report that analysed and examined the number of stereotypical representations of genders. For instance, women were depicted in ‘caretaking’ roles such as nurses, teachers etc. and on other hand men were depicted as engineers, shopkeepers, surgeons etc. NCERT gave some recommendations like certain terms like ‘milkman’ and ‘policeman’ were to be made gender sensitive and ownership of anything should be jointly shown. For example, instead of “man owning a shop”, it should be framed “man/woman owning a shop.

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According to 2008 Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report (GMR), in India, more than half of the illustrations in Mathematics, Science and Social Science textbooks showed males, only 6 per cent of females were shown.

The educational policy makers had pledged in 1965 to eradicate all sorts of traditional concepts of female inferiority. Sadly, even after such a long span of time, no significant achievement has been accomplished to expel gender inequality from Indian society.

– prepared by Sabhyata Badhwar of NewsGram. Twitter: @SabbyDarkhorse

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All You Need To Know About India’s Strategic Chabahar Port

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border.

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Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • The Chabahar Port is of great strategic importance for India
  • It is in Iran and is being built and operated by India
  • This port will increase India’s trade with Central Asia and Europe

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border. Chabahar is the trans-shipment and logistics hub for the Makran Coast and Baluchistan province of Iran.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The tension between India and Pakistan is nothing new. There are several instances where both the countries have tried to obstruct each other’s political or economic agendas. This obstruction, along with other strategic reasons, resulted in the India and Iran’s deal on the Chabahar Port, which is crucial because of several reasons.

Here are few things about it you may not have known before :

  • Under the Trilateral Transit and Transport Agreement of 2016, the Chabahar port is the gateway to the Transport Corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan, which allows multi-modal goods’ and passengers’ transport.

Also Read: India and Iran sign agreement to develop Chabahar Port

  • The agreement also states that India will develop and operate two berths in the first phase of the port. The contract is for 10 years and extendable. This time period excludes the first two years as they will be used for construction.
Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port’s first phase, which was developed by India, and inaugurated by Iran on 4th December 2017, is of great strategic importance as it makes it easier for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Europe.
  • Iran’s Chabahar port is also important for India’s trade because of Pakistan’s reluctance in allowing India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan through its land territory.

Also Read: Gwadar Port: China Turning Pakistan Port Into Regional Giant 

  • The development of Chabahar Port will increase the momentum of the International North-South Transport Corridor whose signatories include India, Afghanistan and Russia. Iran is the key gateway in this project. It will improve India’s trade with Central Asia as well as Europe.
    The Chabahar Port has also reduced Afghanistan’s dependence on the transit road, which went through Karachi. Now, trade can be conducted via Chabahar Port too. Islamabad has accused India of trying to use this development as a means to destabilise Pakistan.

    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port also acts as a counter to the barely 100 km away, Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is developed by China. However, Iran has defended that Chabahar is not a rival to Gwadar and Pakistan is invited to join in its development.
  • In October 2017, India sent its first shipment of wheat to through Chabahar to Afghanistan, in order to test the viability of the route.
  • India will also construct a 900-km Chabahar-Zahedan-hajigak railway line that will connect Port of Chabahar to Hajigak in Afghanistan. It will also connect Mashad in the north, providing access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan.This project is worth $1.6 billion.

    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehrain. Wikimedia Commons
    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehran. Wikimedia Commons
  • It is being said that India will supply $400 million of steel rails to Tehran. There are also possibilities of setting up a fertilizer plant through a joint venture with the Iranian government.