By Chandni Shah
Let us add one thing to the very long list of things that baffle me these days — the news about the Adarsh Bahu course. The course, which many news portals claim is linked to IIT-BHU, is supposedly an attempt to prepare girls for married life. Called Daughter’s Pride: Beti Mera Dhan, the course was touted as the course to take for marriage preparation. Understandably its existence has enraged many people and its authenticity doesn’t seem dubious in a time when strange upper caste organisations advertise on the front page of newspapers offering matrimonial ѕеrvісе for young achievers and for ultra-rich families.
Except, that’s not what the CEO of Young Skilled India, the start-up in charge of the course told The Ladies Finger.
On 4 September, Neeraj Sreevastava, the CEO of Young Skilled India, said, “It is fake news because IIT-BHU is not starting such a course at all. Young Skilled India is a start-up that aims to provide professional skills to those who have a degree but aren’t employable. This includes communication in both Hindi and English, problem solving etc. This course is not in collaboration with IIT-BHU, nor is it to prepare girls for being an Adarsh Bahu.”
Poor Mr Srivastava. A victim of fake news.
Now imagine my surprise when I saw on the same day that Mr. Sreevastava has been quoted in the Deccan Chronicle saying “Young girls on the verge of marriage are often saddled with complexes which makes it difficult for them to adjust in a new household. This course teaches them how to make adjustments and deal with situations that emerge after marriage.” Now I find it extremely strange that a newspaper would fabricate a quote from the CEO as well. Then I read in a statement to DNA India, Mr Srivastava said that it was because most parents wanted this special course for their daughters who were of marriageable age. So Poor Mister Srivastava is Not-So-Poor?
During our conversation when I’d asked him for a syllabus, he didn’t give me any such document. What would students be taught? The course would include problem solving skills, communication and increasing self-confidence, he said. The skills included sounded like the innocuous ‘soft skills’ components of many educational programmes, I wondered why they didn’t have a brochure.
The course was organised in association with an all-women, Varanasi-based institute Vanita Institute of Fashion and Design, he had said. I called them and they said, call again.
On September 5 I tried to contact them again. This time no one was available because of Teacher’s Day. Hmm.
For now the origins of the Adarsh Bahu course remain shrouded in the mists of Varanasi. And Mr Srivastava’s quotability/misquotability will remain a thing of wonder to me.