Delhi child rights body asks NCERT to remove chapter from textbook

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The Delhi Commission For Protection of Child Rights on Wednesday urged the National Council of Educational Research and Training to remove a chapter in one of its textbooks, saying it normalises “violent masculinity”.

The chapter The Little Girl in the English textbook of Class 9 depicts women in stereotypical ways and teaches children to accept violence at home, the child rights body chief Anurag Kundu wrote in a letter to NCERT.

Kundu wrote that the chapter depicts the story of a girl, Kezia, who is portrayed to be constantly scared of her father.

The father of the girl is “angry, physically strong, violent and punishing in nature”, the letter noted. Kundu said that the child rights body consulted several gender experts who concluded that the chapter is “deeply problematic”.

“[Kezia’s] Grandmother and mother are shown as docile and enablers of abuse and patriarchy as they tell the daughter that being a good girl means serving her father despite the abuse,” the letter added. “Mother never rests, always doing household chores. Children ought to be exposed to a more progressive portrayal.”

The child rights panel chief observed that the story teaches children to accept violence at home. It also provides harmful examples that girls and young women can forgive perpetrators of violence, he added.

“Out textbooks play an important role in shaping minds as they grow up to challenge the notions of misogyny and violence,” Kundu wrote. “Chapters such as this is a self-defeating exercise to that end.”

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