updated 4/4/2006 7:00:49 PM ET 2006-04-04T23:00:49

A textbook used in western India compares housewives to donkeys — and concludes that the pack animals make more loyal companions, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

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"A donkey is like a housewife," declares the Hindi language primer approved by the state of Rajasthan, according to The Times of India newspaper. "It has to toil all day, and, like her, may even have to give up food and water."

"In fact, the donkey is a shade better," continues the text meant for 14-year-olds, "for while the housewife may sometimes complain and walk off to her parents' home, you'll never catch the donkey being disloyal to his master."

The book, reportedly used in Rajasthani schools, has sparked protests from the women's wing of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which controls the state government and approved the text, the Times reported.

Rajasthan is known to be one of India's most traditional states, where conservative attitudes toward women predominate, and state education officials said the comparison was meant to be funny, nothing more.

"The comparison was made in good humor," state education official A.R. Khan was quoted as saying.

He added, however, that "protests have been taken note of, and the board is in the process of removing" the reference.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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