‘Women as aphrodisiacs’: RGUHS trial subject comes under fire

In a new controversy from Karnataka academia, a questionnaire given to final-year Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) students has gone viral for ‘objectifying’ women as an ‘aphrodisiac’.

The Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) stood aside saying that the content is from the prescribed curriculum.

Apparently, the questionnaire was given to the students during their exam on Wednesday for the subject Kayachikitsa-2 (internal medicine).

Students were asked to write short essays on 12 topics. One of the topics was “Stree as a Vajikarana Dravya” (woman as an aphrodisiac).

Also Read: Karnataka Government Uploads All Revised Textbooks

Twitter user TheLiverDoc (@theliverdr) shared a screenshot of the quiz.

The user then posted screenshots of a “government approved” manual – A Text Book of Kayacikitsa – prepared “according to the curriculum” by the Central Board of Indian Medicine.

The screenshots contain paragraphs that have, among other things, a line that reads: “Woman is considered the best among aphrodisiac drugs…”

Netizens, including TheLiverDoc, criticized the questionnaire and the “prescribed” manual. “Are we teaching our young students the way of ‘rape culture’ by objectifying women? …it’s the answer that students study in their bachelor’s degree, instead of progressive scientific facts that are meant to benefit the community and humanity,” the user said.

RGUHS Registrar (Assessment), Dr Ramakrishna Reddy, said the questionnaire was set as per the program. “The university does not have the power to add or remove the content of the textbook as defined by the Central Council of Indian Medicine,” he said.

This controversy comes after the state witnessed a fuss over textbook revision.

Jessica C. Bell