Abhishek Choudhari| TNN |

NAGPUR: Writing in a standard XII textbook that “hourglass figure” for girls is considered the best has proved costly for publisher New Saraswati House as the CBSE filed an FIR on Friday at a Delhi police station. The publisher’s ‘Health and Physical Education’ book came under severe criticism because of the sexist textual content.

CBSE spokesperson Rama Sharma said, “We have taken strong exception of the indecent depiction of women and misrepresenting the syllabus prescribed by CBSE for Std XII Physical Education Course. The FIR has been registered in Preet Vihar police station under Section 6 (indecent representation of women (Prohibition) Act 1986).”

According to CBSE, the author VK Sharma is a professor (dept of physical education) at DAV College in Cheeka (Kaithal), Haryana. Sharma said, “There were several complaints reported through various sources including media which said ‘Class XII CBSE Physical Education textbook says/certifies/claims 36-24-36 is the best figure for females’. The news was strongly condemned and denied by the Board and a clarification was issued on April 12 itself stating that the Board had not prescribed the controversial book.” TOI had reported the new on April 13.

Shammi Manik, business head of New Saraswati House, did not respond to calls or messages.

Before filing the FIR, CBSE set up a committee of experts to go through the book’s contents. The committee concluded that the shape, size, figure “have been inappropriately described which are not in consonance with the spirit of the syllabus”. It also found that the author “has written out of context, the textbook is not strictly as per the syllabus as being claimed by the publisher/author”.

Based on review by experts, CBSE has come to the conclusion that “the publisher and the author have committed criminal misconduct by publishing and selling these books to the students in connivance with some schools. In the process, the publisher has caused wrongful loss of reputation, goodwill and credibility of CBSE”.

Sharma said, “The Board neither subscribes nor encourages irrelevant, sexist or derogatory references to any gender specially women.”


CBSE’s Std XII curriculum of physical education is designed to meet certain objectives which promote health and fitness among youth, the written statement by Sharma added. It includes topics among others such as sports and nutrition, yoga and lifestyle, physiology, psychology, training, bio-mechanics and sports etc

Reiterating its earlier position on prescribing books, Sharma clarified that responsibility lies on schools in such cases where textual content is found to be controversial. “CBSE does not recommend books by any private publishers to the affiliate schools. Rules clearly state that schools will exercise extreme care while selecting books of private publishers. The content must be scrutinized to preclude any objectionable content that hurts the feelings of any class, community, gender, religious group in society if prescribing books having such content, the school will have to take the responsibility of such content,” said Sharma.

The CBSE mandates schools to put up a list of such books prescribed by it on its website with the written declaration by the manager/principal to the effect that they have gone through the contents of the books prescribed by the school and own the responsibility.