‘Virgin means unmarried’: Bihar minister defends goof-up in IGIMS form
In his attempts to justify the awkward phrasing of a question in a marital declaration form at Patna’s Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS), Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey has ended up redefining the very meaning of virginity.
Following a public furore over the document on Wednesday, the minister told news channels that there was nothing wrong with using the word ‘virgin’ because it simply meant ‘kanya’ or ‘kunwari’ – which means unmarried girl. Pandey, who joined the cabinet just three days ago, had earlier told a news channel that the ‘virgin’ question was only intended at making employees reveal their zodiac sign for official purposes.
Sources said the chief minister’s office has taken cognizance of the issue, and asked for a copy of the form. It has also reportedly asked why the question was introduced in the first place.
In its response, the management of the autonomous super-specialty health facility clarified that it was in adherence to the central civil services rules followed by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. IGIMS medical superintendent Dr Manish Mandal told HT on Thursday that making any changes in the format of the form – or even its wording – would involve an administrative decision taken either by the institute director or its board of governors. “The director, who is joining today after four days of leave, will take a call on the matter,” he said.
The marital declaration form, which has been in existence since the inception of the institute in 1983, makes employees declare if they are bachelors, widowers or virgins at the time of joining. Some officials blamed the faux pas on poor translation on the part of individuals who drafted the document.
“The word ‘virgin’ mentioned on the form has nothing to do with the virginity of an employee. It only seeks to know the employees’ marital status, so their dues can be settled on the basis of their declaration in the event of death while in service,” said Dr Mandal.