This article originally appeared on VICE India.
Between courses that teach you how to win a husband to a school that educates its students on ethical hacking, India is no longer regarded as the land churning out doctors and techies. But now, Lucknow University wants to do one better and is launching a course called “Garbh Sanskaar” with an agenda of teaching people how to be pregnant.
This certificate and diploma course on pregnancy will teach students all there is to know about motherhood, which is far more than simply staying away from smoking and drinking. This will include instructions on how a pregnant woman should dress, what she should eat, how she should behave, how she can keep herself fit and what kind of music she should listen to. “The step has been taken after state governor Anandiben Patel, who is also the chancellor of state varsities, proposed that the administration train girls for their prospective role as mothers,” Durgesh Srivastava, spokesperson of Lucknow University, told ANI. This course has been moulded in a manner similar to the nutrition and lifestyle in pregnancy course offered at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in Germany.
While the curriculum for this course mainly focuses on nutrition and family planning, it starts to get kinda questionable when teaching prospective mothers Indian values becomes a priority. The efforts and intentions behind this course may be purely to educate young minds about how to prepare for pregnancy, but still, it starts to get a bit murky when a course dictates how a pregnant woman should dress and behave. Considering there’s significant policing of pregnancy anyway—with unstated rules dictating what expectant mothers should and should not do and often taking away the autonomy from them—we definitely do not need a course telling them how to dress and behave in a socially-sanctioned manner.
Still, it’s cool that this course isn’t only restricted to women, with male students also having the option of pursuing it, and could be a stepping stone in normalising and sensitising conversations around sexual health and the female reproductive system.
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