Bengaluru: The Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) recently landed in a major controversy because of its IV year BAMS Degree Examination Question Paper, which allegedly objectified women by terming them to be sexual objects.

In the concerned paper of Kayachikitsa on June 15, 2022, the paper setters had asked the students to write a short essay on ‘Stree as a Vajikarana dravya’, which roughly translates to “Women as an aphrodisiac item.”

Soon after the question paper was shared on Twitter, it received severe backlash. Meanwhile the University authorities clarified that the question paper had been set on the basis of the syllabus mentioned in the textbooks. 

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The controversy started after the Twitter handle of The Liver Doc shared the question paper and pointed out how the Ayurveda question paper asked students to write short essay on “Women as an Aphrodisiac item.”

He also shared the excerpts of the textbooks that the Ayurveda students need to study and also the answer to the controversial essay question. The first line of the answer stated, “Female is considered as best among aphrodisiac drugs as mentioned in Ayurveda.” While another page described the topic of “Ideal female for sexual acts.”

Referring to this, the doctor wrote on Twitter, “instead of progressive, scientific facts that are to be useful for community and humanity…Chapter teaches how to objectify women into aphrodisiac ‘items’ and ‘baby making factories’.”

…this is the answer that students are studying in their Bachelor’s degree, instead of progressive, scientific facts that are to be useful for community and humanity

Chapter teaches how to objectify women into aphrodisiac ‘items’ and ‘baby making factories’

— TheLiverDoc (@theliverdr) June 16, 2022

“Are we teaching our young students the way of ‘rape culture’ by objectifying women?,” he questioned.

While the question stirred controversy and several people started slamming such a “regressive” reference to women, the University clarified that the question was part of the textbook and it should be seen from that context only.

Speaking about the issue, Ramakrishna Reddy, Registrar (Evaluation) of RGUHS, told The Hindu, “The question paper is set as per the syllabus. These are things taught in the textbook and are one of the methods of treatment. The university has no authority over adding or removing the contents of the textbook as it was set by the Central Council for Indian Medicine.”

“All questions are within the syllabus. These are taught in textbooks and is one of the methods of treatment. If the syllabus and the textbook have to be changed, the central Ayush Board has to change it,” he told TOI.

Also Read: HC tells RGUHS to conduct fresh practical exams for 41 MBBS students

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