Religious Fundamentalism and Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in South India


This study, comprising of a desk review focusing on the national level and a field study in a southern state of India using qualitative and quantitative methods, aims to explore how religious fundamentalism affects the implementation of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in India. The desk review component of the study shows that there is an emerging connection between right-wing ideologies, the denial of comprehensive sexuality education and increase in different forms of sexual violence on the young people, which was embodied by the controversy and debate surrounding The Adolescent Education Programme (AEP) of 2006, seen as going against Indian culture and moral values. On the other hand, results of the field study with parents in Tamil Nadu shows that there is a strong support to provide sexuality education, with caveats; a majority of them still expressed reservations about the availability of contraceptive services and abortion services being made available for young people, and there were strong disagreements regarding inter-case marriages, seen as being inconsistent with culture. Regardless, the favourable attitude of both parents and young people on sexuality education programme bodes well for the country, despite the views of religious leaders and politicians.

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P. Balasubramanian (Phd), Rajalakshmi Ram Prakash and N. Srilakshmi