CBSE textbook's regressive note says women unattended by husbands or guardians shall not get treatment

Those who are on the point of death, and similarly, women who are unattended by their husbands or guardians shall not receive treatment, reads a regressive note from this CBSE textbook.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is set to start teaching students from this academic year a few subjects that many will find regressive in this day and age.  

For the last three years, CBSE had taken up a pilot project where after 10 years of regular academic study, students of 11th and 12th standard were to be given a new elective subject, which according to the board, would make students "confident and boost the respect they had for this country".  



  1. CBSE had started this project titled "Knowledge Traditions and Practices of India" (KPTI) in 2012. Many erudite people are said to have contributed to books under this project that are currently available on the CBSE website itself.
  2. However, it is Module 6: Life Sciences (1) Ayurveda for Life, Health and Well-Being - Part 1, which has invited the wrath of many.
  3. This particular 32-page e-book has "extracts from primary texts" like that of "The oath of Caraka", which talks about the initiation of a medical student in the health services and also highlights who shall and who shall not get medically treated.
  4. The book says, "Those who are extremely abnormal, wicked and of miserable conduct, those who have not vindicated their honour, those who are on the point of death, and similarly, women who are unattended by their husbands or guardians shall not receive treatment." It goes on to add, "No offering of presents by a woman without the behest of her husband or guardian shall be accepted by thee."
  5. The book carries a note after this and instead of contextualising it to modern days, elaborates that "extreme caution was to be exercised when interacting with women, especially because in ancient times, the physician used to make house visits to administer treatment."
  6. But it is not just women who are so regressively portrayed. The book also highlights the casteist mindset.
  7. It says, "If thou desirest success, wealth and fame as a physician and heaven after death, thou shalt pray for the welfare of all creatures beginning with the cows and Brahmins."
  8. The notes elaborate that Brahmins and cows are given priority as they have dedicated their lives for the welfare of society. "On the other hand, people who are harmful to society are given the least priority. It was considered important to allow patients on their deathbeds to die peacefully without being subjected to futile treatments."
  9. Last month, CBSE came out with a two-page circular and explained how KPTI was important and that schools which were interested in taking it up should contact the Board within a month.
  10. Dr Vibhuti Patel, who has written text books for IGNOU and e-Pathshala says, "This is extremely irresponsible. Textbook writing should be done after very serious workshops and screening processes wherein one looks at the culture, cast, gender, and ethnic and other biases. Students so young and at this impressionable age take textbooks as gospel truth. If nothing else, the textbooks should be in consonance with Article 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India, which guarantees equality, liberty, dignity to everyone, including women who have an independent existence."