New Delhi: Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi on Monday demanded an apology from the government over a ‘blatantly misogynist’ question in a recent Central Board of Secondary Education Class 10 question paper. The paper had recently gone viral after netizens widely shared a “regressive” passage on women that had been included. The development also comes mere days after the board’s Class 12 Sociology exam sparked a row with a question on the ‘Gujarat violence’.
Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in Parliament, Sonia sought a review and the immediate withdrawal of the objectionable question. “I urge the Ministry of Education and CBSE to immediately withdraw this question, issue an apology and conduct a thorough review into this lapse to ensure this is never repeated again,” she told the Lok Sabha.
Demanding clarifications, lawmakers from the Congress, DMK, IUML, NCP and National Conference also walked out of the House.
The English exam on Saturday had featured a comprehension passage that spoke about how the “emancipation of women destroyed the parent’s authority over the children”. According to the excerpt, it was only by “accepting her husband’s way” that a mother could gain obedience over the younger ones.
Since then, the question paper has prompted outrage from several quarters. “Most CBSE papers so far were too difficult and the comprehension passage in the English paper was downright disgusting. Typical RSS-BJP ploys to crush the morale and future of the youth. Kids, do your best. Hard work pays. Bigotry doesn’t,” tweeted Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.
“Are we really teaching children this drivel?” asked fellow party leader Priyanka Gandhi. Tagging the CBSE and Prime Minister Modi, she also shared the passage in question.
As netizens hit out at CBSE for “promoting gender stereotyping” and alleging that it supported “misogynistic” and “regressive opinions”, the board has now referred the matter to subject experts. The CBSE has also issued a statement, insisting that the passage is not in accordance with their guidelines. Reportedly, the passage and questions have been dropped and students will be awarded full marks for that passage.