The CBSE class 10 term 1 board exams are underway and a major criticism has come to light over the English paper. A closing paragraph in the comprehension section was backlashed by academia and various stakeholders. The passage was seen in section A of the English question paper. It reads:
What people were slow to observe was that the emancipation of the wife destroyed the parent’s authority over the children. The mother did not exemplify the obedience upon which she still tried to insist… In bringing the man down from his pedestal the wife and the mother deprived herself, in fact of the means of discipline.
Following this page, one of the questions asked whether the writer ‘seems to be a male chauvinist pig/an arrogant person’, ‘takes a light-hearted approach to life’, ‘is a disgruntled husband’, ‘has his family’s welfare at his heart’. Now, as per the board’s answer key, the answer should be ‘takes a light-hearted approach to life’. However, now, this particular passage has been criticized to be ‘retrograde’ and offensive to women.
The passage, in a way, hints that the indiscipline among teenagers is due to a feminist sentiment. It tried to draw a contrast to a past era when the husband was claimed to be the master of the house and his wife used to obey him. This is a clear indication of the inherent misogyny and in no way indicates that the writer takes a light-hearted approach to life. As a result, the students have marked the answer as ‘seems to be a male chauvinist pig/an arrogant person’.
Congress MP Jothimani of Tamil Nadu said that such passages have a great role in normalizing regressive and misogynistic thoughts. Hence, these ideas should have no place in this century. Various other stakeholders have commented on the type of knowledge and education that is being imparted to the students. After that, CBSE PRO Rama Sharma has stated that this matter will now be looked up by the subject experts. However, experts are of the opinion that the particular passage brings out multiple interpretations and so, to protect the interests of the students, necessary actions will be taken.
As of now, CBSE has dropped the passage and the students will now be given full marks for the question. This decision came after the political stakeholders voiced their concerns. Some even added that the passage was ‘disgusting’ and ‘blatantly misogynist’.