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Rajiv Gandhi University Question Paper Asks Students To Write An Essay On “Women As Aphrodisiac”. Way To Educate The Youth On Rape Culture, Guys!

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Objectification of women is nothing new in our society but it actually breaks our hearts to see this happening every now and then. More so, when an educational institute ill-treats or shames or objectifies women. And currently, Karnataka’s Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) is on our radar. A question paper of the final year Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery recently went viral for all the wrong reasons. The question paper for the subject Kayachikitsa-2 (internal medicine) students were asked to write short essays on 12 topics, one of which was “Stree as a Vajikarana Dravya” which literally translates to women as an aphrodisiac. Yepp, I’m not even kidding. This is real.

Flagging the essay topic in the RGUHS question paper, a Twitter user pointed out everything that’s problematic about the topic as well as the textbooks of the subject that has the answer to the question, which just by the BTW is even more problematic.

Sharing pictures of the “government approved” book on the subject set by the Central Council of Indian Medicine as per the syllabus, the Twitter user pointed out paragraphs where the sentence (in Hindi) says that women are considered as one of the best aphrodisiac drugs. The user further added that instead of teaching the students “progressive, scientific facts” that are useful, the book actually teaches the student a lesson on “how to objectify women into aphrodisiac items and baby-making factories”. The Twitter user also called out the book and questioned if we’re teaching young students “the way of ‘rape culture’ by objectifying women”.

This soon led to an outcry on social media as netizens took to Twitter to slam the question paper and called it out for objectifying women and reducing them to objects and baby-making machines. Several users also wondered what it would have felt like for the female students in the class to write an essay on the subject and called for it to be scrapped.

Responding to the controversy, RGHUS was quoted by Times Of India as saying that the questions are from within the syllabus and are in the textbooks. They also justified the question by saying that it is “one of the methods of treatment” while adding that if it needs to be changed then the same has to be done by the Ayush Board.

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Now here’s what I have to say about this. Everything with this question and this textbook reeks of sexism and is extremely problematic. To begin with facts, Ayurveda was written back in the day and while it does have great knowledge, problematic things like this need to be changed with time. We’re talking about young impressionable students here and to teach them that women a food or drug that is supposed to arouse sexual instincts and induce desire is not only disgusting and deplorable but it’s also setting a bad example. With this, we’re teaching all young men that women are just sexual objects and nothing more while demeaning every single woman who is studying this subject. Another thing to note is that we are, in fact, promoting rape culture by telling men that women induce sexual desire and pleasure and if the University chooses to justify this question by saying that it is “one of the methods of treatment”, we really don’t know what to say. Are they trying to say that women are used as a “drug” or an “item” to treat something? So, every man dealing with a problem like erectile dysfunction can “use” women to get treated? I mean WTF are we doing here. If this isn’t promoting rape culture then I don’t know what is.

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To have female students sit in that examination hall and answer this derogatory question and write an essay on how to objectify their own gender is beyond disgusting. And all this while other male students sitting next to them answer this question. What kind of teachings, values and moral lessons are we giving the new generation with all of this. And after all of this, we cannot sit here and expect the rape cases or statistics to reduce or for the mentality of the new generation to change because the fact is that we are the ones teaching them the rape culture and telling them how exactly they can objectify women and use them as “baby-making machines”.

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