Sonia Gandhi slams controversial passage in CBSE Class X paper; seeks withdrawal, apology

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Congress president Sonia Gandhi demanded the withdrawal of the gender-insensitive passage in the English paper of the Class X CBSE exam, following which the Opposition staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha Monday.

“Withdraw the passage given for the students in the CBSE exam papers at once and see that it is never never repeated. There should be an apology also,” Gandhi said while raising the issue in the zero hour.

According to the passage, Gandhi pointed out, allowing women to be independent is a problem and the ‘disobedience’ shown by wives towards their husbands leads to similar issues in children. Slamming the passage as one that reflects extremely poorly on today’s education, Gandhi said it was blatantly misogynistic and regressive. She also sought a study on gender sensitivity in the curriculum.

After Gandhi’s submission, the Opposition wanted the government to respond to it with a statement. However, Speaker Om Birla said that it was not the practice in the Lok Sabha. The MPs also sought a review of the entire CBSE curriculum. With Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also present, the Opposition – including the Congress, DMK and Left parties – walked out in protest.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi also criticised the passage in question. “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,” he tweeted. “Hard work pays. Bigotry doesn’t,” he added.

The Indian Express on Monday reported on the contentious closing paragraph of a comprehension passage that several students got in the English paper of their Term-1 Class X CBSE board exam Saturday, which has drawn criticism for being “retrograde” and offensive to women.

“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,” the passage read.

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