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Maharashtra Sociology Books Redefine Family Structure By Adding Single Parents, Same-Sex Families

During our initial days at school, what we learnt about Indian families was quite usual. Our textbooks portrayed a family as a father who earns money, a mother who takes care of household and us, grandparents who stay with us to support and teach moral values, and children who study and obey their elders. We also studied there are two kinds of family namely, nuclear family and joint family. In fact, we studied mothers cook food and do the household work. But now the scenario is different.

These days, gender roles and responsibilities have become fluid. And so are relationships. This was explained by the recent initiative of Maharashtra government where it took a major leap and revised the Class 11th sociology books for including a diverse representation of current day families and parents such as live-in relationships, same-sex parents, single-parent families, families consisting of step-parents.

Published by the Balbharti, State's publishing bureau, the books have been revised from the 2019-2020 academic session. The revised books talk about gender equity, same-sex marriages along with the blending of various cultural influences which is popularly known as cultural hybridisation.

As per a report published in the Hindustan Times [1] , one of the lines of a chapter from the book read as, "In a historic verdict, the Supreme Court of India on September 6, 2018, decriminalised Section 377 of the IPC and allowed gay sex among consenting adults in private...."

In addition to this, a module of the book 'Twenty-first century families' talks about live-in relationships to introduce cohabitation of current generations. The module speaks, "Younger generations specially in many parts of Europe and in urban areas of India are preferring cohabitation as family relation. This is especially true about same-sex couples... live-in relations or cohabitation might not lead to marriage."
The book also contains the 2013 and 2018 verdicts of the Supreme Court where the judgement said, "Live-in relationships are neither a crime nor a sin." This was later revised in 2018, "Adult couples have the right to stay together without marriage."

The step was taken under the guidance of Vaishali Diwakar, the chairperson of the subject committee. According to her, "A need was felt to teach sociology with the help of contemporary references while challenging existing biases." Later she added, "The committee was of the opinion that students need to learn more than just the concepts. We also wanted the book to be a reflection of the changing social fabric."

In order to emphasize gender equity, Social Stratification chapter asks a question, "Where are the women?" The question then further highlights the need for social and economical gender-equity. The chapter talks about equal pay for women, allowing them to have rights for living a happy life and indulging in taking policy decisions.

Below are some more add-ons as per the report of the Hindustan Times:

  • The rapid growth of divorce leading to an increase in the marriage age: The section talks about how modern society is delaying the age for getting married due to the increased cases of divorce among couples.
  • Same-sex relationships: This section talks about what is same-sex relationships and how the marriage relation nowadays, includes homosexual couples.

This step will instil the teens with beliefs to not get indulged in any kind of gender discrimination based on sexual orientation and the family background they come from.
We feel proud of this brilliant and much-needed move to abolish gender biasing and the regressive attitude towards people.

View Article References
  1. [1] 1. Bhatkhande Ankita (2019 Jul,19)Maharashtra sociology textbook includes single-parent, same-sex families. Retrived from on 2019, August 1