We don’t need no education !!

We don’t need no education !!

Taking parental trauma to a whole new level is the 12th std textbook of Psychology, prescribed by the Maharashtra State Board of Higher Secondary Education.

Education. Seriously.

These folks on the board are the ones who have approved the textbook which is to be read and studied by thousands of unsuspecting young men and women across Maharashtra who need to give an exam in Psychology.

First off, the cover. Designed by the Prof in charge of the committee. Check it out. Inspiring, artistic, profound………….are not the words that spring to mind. Clipart, banal, unimaginative, boring…… maybe.

Then the Pledge on page 2 with different font sizes used within the very first word. The word happens to be India. Or rather India.

And then the torrent of information, copy pasted or dreamed up in such haste that there are an incredible number of speeling erros and grammatically mistakes in every single sentence!

Here are some classics:

“There is an ancient tale about the initial encounter of three blind men and an elephant.(The original poem has six blind men, but three were probably on open merit and hence ruthlessly sacrificed). Each man touched a different part of the elephant, but each man claimed that he alone had understood the true nature of the best (sic). The one who had grabbed the elephant by the legs and described it as being firm, strange (sic) and upright, like a pillar for him. (Yes, the sentence ends there).

The blind man who had touched the ear of the elephant objected, from his perspective, the animal was broad and rough, like a Rup. (Huh ?? Do they mean rug ? or someone named Rup hence the capital R ?). While the third man had become familiar with the trunk (hee hee), was astounded at the gross inaccuracy of the others.”

There is no attempt at grammar, punctuation or even the English language. Since my own mother tongue is Marathi I tried to figure out if maybe the parts that are not copy pasted from some foreign text book were written as ‘original’ by someone who was thinking in Marathi. But nope. There is still no grammar or logic.

Here is another lovely example:

“Even people in general do not agree on what the term “Personality” means. Same equate personality with liveliness, as in, “she/he got a lot of personality.”

Arre bhai-log wot chikni she is no men ? She got a lot of personality !


Extraversion ? Seems to me she is borderline violent and about the punch the other woman……

Just a few paragraphs further down, we have this gem:

“Where as the word ‘psychophysical’ means that personality is neither a psychological or nor ( yes, it does say ‘or nor’ there) exclusively a psychological phenomenon.” (Yes, they do say psychological in both places.)

The list of components of Allport’s definition tells us at the end:

“Adjustment of the Environment: Allport felt (not thought, but felt) that our personalities develop a function of hearting (yes, hearting—I could not even imagine what the real word ought to be) to adapt to social while trying to achieve our needs.”

So, while bizarre meaningless words are added in, words which are actually needed for grammar and accuracy or even just merely to make sense, are randomly dropped.

The section on ‘Atmosphere of the family’ plays out a very interesting argument:

  1. Effect of mother’s working: …..Children in working mothers home (you really expected an apostrophe there ??! and a number match between plural mothers and plural homes ?? Come on!). So, anyway, “Children in working mothers home are encouraged to be more independent which makes them to feel more competent and higher self esteem especially daughters.
  2. Effect of father’s working:………..Research indicated that the effect of father working depends upon the nature of the father’s work. (seriously ??? you don’t say !)

And, it goes on to say further: “ There are some of the important findings related to effect of father working are such as when work does not fully satisfy man’s psychological needs , children may benefit since he seeks compensation through children. “

Hmmm, so, having a crappy job may make him a better parent…..okaaay…….But…there is always a ‘but’………..and here it comes:

“ Whereas it may affect otherwise also where a child may suffer if his father’s frustration with work is not resolved by getting involved in the family at the same time losing job can negatively effect on children. Under these situations, he is likely to nurture the children and more to punish them.”

Got that? Understood the exact effect of a father’s employment on the children? Good. You are a student of psychology, so these nuances are really critical for you know. Because some of the potential job opportunities for you are likely to be a student counsellor, a parole officer, a childcare expert or a teacher.

Ok ? Clear on that one ? Next we deal with poverty. Brace yourself.

“ Many studies revelled ( yup) that parents those who live in poor housing or below poverty line generally experience a lack of control over their lives. (Nooo, really ???/ I thought poor people CHOSE to be that way), which may result in anxious, depressed and irritable and in few cases they may also become abusive. “

The next section is titled “Major appraoches (sic) to personality tell us about traits. “

Coming up with theories must have been very hard work before google from the sounds of what Allport had to do.

“One of the earliest attempts to list and describe the traits make up personality can be found in the work of Gordon Allport (1936). Allport and his colleague H S Odbert literally scanned the dictionary for words that could be traits, finding about 18,000, then pairing (sic) down to 200 traits after eliminating synonyms.

Based on this, categorized traits into Cardinal traits which are highly generalized dispositions; they indicate the goal around which a person’s entire life seems to revolve. Central traits are associated with (Waver, Sincere diligent) are often used, in writing a testimonial or job recommendation for a person.”

If you ever figure out the meaning of that last sentence, do email me. I am super curious to know! And by the way, in case you were curious about secondary traits:

“Secondary traits such as, like mangoes or prefer ethnic clothes are example of secondary traits. They are influential, but only within a narrow range of situations.”

(Such as when mangoes are not in season and you cannot be naked I guess ?)

Later in the chapter we are told that the Big Five model has some weaknesses. Want to know why?

“Some psychologists have dissented from the model precisely because they feel to neglects other personality traits, such as (hold your breath): Religiosity, Manipulative-ness, Honesty, Sexiness, Thriftiness, Conservativeness Masculinity/ Femininity, Snobbishness, Sense of Humour.”

And here are some photographs from the first few chapters which of course convey more than a thousand words.


What exactly does this photo above have to do with the caption ??? Which attitudes is that child in the front pack going to adopt ?

Why is this photo relevant to a student of the Maharashtra board ?

This is the most relevant anecdote of propoganda that the authors found after extensive research in the Indian context ? A cartoon about an American India and a buffoonish Mr Biggott ??

The grainy car dealer with the invisible client. What is a compliace ??


So an image to explain social loafing is shown to explain what social loafing is NOT, because these American teenagers are washing a car. And of course when people know the other members of their group, social loafing is less likely to occur. Such as in drug dealing gangs or when bunches of young men indulge in sexual harassment of young women on every street corner of Indian cities.


A textbook for students in Maharashtra, whose capital is Mumbai, which has suffered more terror attacks than any other place in India thinks Sarajevo bombings is the most relevant example ( which if ongoing cannot be giving rise to POST traumatic stress in the first place, but prettty much ONGOING traumatic stress).

Nixon ?? Apart from other interesting bits of information about him is the small factoid that he DIED in 1974. About THIRTY YEARS before most of the student using this textbook were even BORN. Can there be more proof that all these photos ( which have no source acknowledged) are all photocopied from some American textbook from the 1960s ?

There is also a liberal peppering of photos of people at random. Mostly old white men who propounded some theory or another. Nothing about Asia or god forbid, India. There are photos which are utterly out of context and pointless. There are some whose own title is meaningless to the actual image.

Out of this complete garbage, what is one supposed to make of the actual science of psychology? How can one learn when every line needs proof reading as well as imaginative detective work to try and figure out what the ** they are trying to say ( Rup ? Hearting ? Waver ?)

The first page of this book clearly explains who is to blame. “As laid down by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, Pune, the committee of authors prepared this book under the guidance of the Board of Studies.”

And they probably copied it out in long hand since spell check does not seem to have been available to them. The photos have no acknowledgements and are so outdated in their feel and so grainy probably photocopied out of some old American textbook from the 1960s.

There are no less than FIVE Professors and TWO Doctors on the list of authors !

The foreword says “Designing syllabus and textbook is by means a simple process”. Yup. Clearly.

It goes on to say that “The textbook is designed with the aim at (sic) arousing curiosities and interest to know the real world. Once the student gets the learning and experience sharing opportunity (sic), In the process he develops various soft skills like language and communication.”

Really ??? language is a soft skill ?

The Chairman then signs off with a flourish “I hope that the teachers and students will notice the new approach in the designing of this textbook”

I guess the new approach to notice is that proof reading is for wimps, spelling and punctuation is a British legacy we need to fling by the wayside and liberal dosing with utterly irrelevant, photocopied, grainy, pointless images of white people doing random stuff will develop the soft skills of imagination and a deeper understanding of globalization ??

All  I can say is –Hey teacher, leave the kids alone !




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