November 11, 2017


To stay fit, women may grind ‘chakki (stone grinder)’, fill water pitchers or sweep or mop floors, advised Rajasthan’s education department in its monthly magazine.

The magazine, Shivira, is meant for schoolteachers and usually carries essays on education, great personalities, or issues of general interest.

The 52-page November issue, apart from other essays, has a set of 14 instructions under the rubric ‘Swasth rehne ke saral upaay’ (Simple ways of staying fit).

In this, it also recommended against drinking alcohol and soft drinks-- particularly naming two beverage brands Coca Cola and Pepsi.

It said while early morning walks, running, cycling, horse-riding, swimming or any other sports are good for health, women can also stay fit by doing various household chores.

Among others, it also dwelt on merits of green vegetables, germinated grains, milk, buttermilk, high-fiber flour, etc.

“Bhojan saada karo evam usey prasad roop mein grahan karo (Have simple food and eat it as if you’re taking religious offerings).

The alleged sexist ‘health’ advice for women has particularly drew flak from rights activists

“It’s very shameful that the education department is reinforcing the same stereotypes that education is supposed to liberate us from,” said Kavita Srivastava, the national secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.

Nathmal Didel, the director, secondary education, and magazine’s chief editor, too admitted that the domestic activities should not have been suggested as exercise specifically for women.

“But that is how it has been happening in our society and the writer was probably influenced by that. I assure you, there is no discriminatory intention behind this,” Didel added.

It’s not the first time that the education department found itself in the midst of a controversy.

Earlier this year, it sought to revise history by suggesting, in the revised Class X social science textbook introduced in the current session, that Maharana Pratap defeated Mughal emperor Akbar in the battle of Haldighati in 1576, a move that raised several eyebrows.