Why is India overpopulated? First, the unemployed, have nothing to do other than have sex. Second, girls mature early in our warm weather so they are married off young and reproduce soon.
These are two of the 11 reasons for population growth that Class 11 state board students are learning this year in the lesson population education, which is a part of the revised syllabus.
Population experts and women rights activists are aghast at this misinformation. "This is terrible," said Sonal Shukla, who has worked on textbook committees and is director of Vacha, a research centre for women and girls. "This is anti-women, anti-caste and anti-class."
Activists and academicians have long pointed out that gender stereotypes and other archaic social myths are overtly and covertly perpetuated through school textbooks.
But when an author of the textbook was asked, she defended it: "This is given in several population textbooks," said Chitra Sohani, one of the book's eight authors.
DA Nagdeve, head of the department of fertility studies at the Indian Institute for Population Studies, Govandi said, "These are misleading reasons."
The new syllabus, put up on the board's website states: "Due to unemployment sexual pleasure is regarded as entertainment. This is also one reason of population growth".
Another questionable reason states: "Warm whether (sic): Girls mature at early age due to the warm whether in India, so the parents wed them while they are young; therefore growth in population".
"The syllabus is written by subject experts, I am not aware of the details," said S Jadhav, state board chairperson.