Decision on content of Centre’s book for adolescents taken at ‘higher level’.
New Delhi: India may have given the world the Kamasutra but for the BJP-led government, “sex” still remains a repugnant taboo. In their new book, Healthy Children Healthy India, to be launched on Thursday by the government for adolescents studying in government schools, “sex” education finds no mention.
The booklet, designed by the Central Health Education Bureau, directorate of health services, ministry of health and family welfare, and to be launched jointly with the ministry of human resource development, will be distributed in the government schools to the students of Classes 8 and 10. Significantly, sources disclosed that the chapter on basic “sex education”, though suggested, was removed at an “upper level”.
The book, talks about a sound mind and sound body and contains tips on leading a healthy life. It guides to stay fit and healthy as health minister J.P. Nadda in its preface recommends the students to share the information with family members and friends so as to help them lead a healthy and wholesome life.
The book informs about healthy diet, recommends to indulge in physical activities to prevent lifestyle diseases like “diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke, reduce risk of cancer, improve mental health and mood and makes ageing more gracefully and helps maintaining weight”. The booklet also guides about activities that could lead to “weight gain”, “weight loss”, ideal daily routine, appropriate body mass index (BMI), personal hygiene that includes “washing hands, brushing teeth, taking shower, cleaning under arms and pubic area regularly, combing hair, changing undergarments, cutting nails, covering face while sneezing and coughing, using clean tissues and putting tissues in dustbin.
A chapter on “menstrual hygiene” — which informs about Do’s and the risks of insufficient menstrual hygiene — clean surroundings, make India green, save water, tobacco and its ill effects, drug abuse, road safety and information on Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) are included in the book, but there is no chapter that talks about “sex” — a critical thing among adolescents.
The BJP government has always been sceptical about sex education. Few years back, when the UPA was in power, the BJP had banned sex education in all BJP-led states, stating that sex education “promotes promiscuity” and there was “no justification” or need to teach HIV/AIDS to school children in the 14-18 age group.
The Committee on Petitions, then comprising Rajya Sabha members and headed by BJP’s Venkaiah Naidu, has recommended that “there should be no sex education in schools” since “our country’s social and cultural ethos are such that sex education has absolutely no place in it”. It had even said that sex education “incites stimulation of instincts which is detrimental to society”, basic human “instincts like food, fear, greed, coitus etc need not be taught, rather control of these should be the subject of education.”
To cover up, officials, say that the book has been designed so as to reduce Non Communicable Diseases (NCDS). “The book is an effort to ensure that the children are aware of ill effects of the certain elements and practice what is good for them and also encourage their elders to do so,” Union health Secretary, CK Mishra told this newspaper.