The header of this blog gives away what this blog is all about.

I’m a Bohri woman of 33 years who has undergone this shameful, brutal, sin of an act – a ritual that has caused me much physical and emotional trauma.

I’ve read so many blogs by Bohri woman. They write recipes, about rida’s in fashion, crochette, but there is not a single woman who has the guts to talk about this.

Don’t they find something absolutely wrong about this practice?

Don’t they shudder at the thought of doing this to their very own flesh and blood – even when they know that this practice leaves one emotionally and sexually tarnished?

Are our women so submissive to wrong? No. They won’t tolerate any other woman standing on their massallah (prayer space/mat) at the mosque. A loud brawl always threatens to flare up. But – when it comes to something like FGM, they conveniently choose to ignore the issue.

  • Out of fear of the community?
  • Out of shame?
  • Out of submission to passive thinking – (“What can we do? It has to be done.” / “It is not our decision, our mother in laws have said it has to be done. They call the shots.”)

I want to question.

  • How can we women not have compassion for our female children and our female grandchildren? Wouldn’t we want to save them from the horror?
  • How can men not have compassion for their young daughters? Fathers are made aware of the impending ritual to be carried out on their daughters. They either submit to the – “what can I do about it?” or (when their wives protest for their child in private) “do what my mother says.” Since when did men become so submissive? Where is that heart of a father which softens when he sees his daughter’s face?
  • How can we choose to ignore the truth about this act of circumcising little girls, in this age of science when all the information about it is made available in books and the news and over the internet?
  • Why do we forget that we are all logical human beings, thinking people who are meant to question? Our bohra community does not give us this freedom and we, out of fear, meekly follow. It is easy to suppress the voice of one person but when everyone starts asking questions, they have to provide answers or a solution. Is it that they aim to supress us?
  • There are Bohri female doctors who circumcise little girls, besides the women who were given raza to perform this. What I want to question is HOW CAN A DOCTOR, A PERSON OF SCIENCE, A PERSON WHO HAS STUDIED THE HUMAN BODY, CARRY OUT THIS PROCEDURE ON LITTLE GIRLS OR WOMEN? These lady doctors render this as community service. Is this how a community is served? Do these women think they’ll go to heaven if they contribute like this? Don’t these so called “doctors” know the consequences of this act?
  • Why doesn’t the Indian Law have any mention of female circumcision as a crime when it has been going on for generations in India? Why isn’t there any punishment for those who order for the act to be performed, for the parents who allow their daughters to be circumcised, for the family who pressurizes the parents, for the “old and experienced women” and “lady doctors” who carry this out? Isn’t FGM a crime enough to be punished for? Is circumcising girls a Doctor’s duty or something a doctor should educate people against?
  • The most important question is – Don’t we women REMEMBER the day of our circumcision for the rest of our lives? Don’t we wish that our daughters never have to go through this? Don’t we remember our blood curdling screams, the way we were held by several women while one cut and cut and cut.. Don’t we sigh in dismay when we realize we can never ever have an orgasm or when sex is painful? Do we like thinking of sex eventually as a chore? Isn’t it crazy that we allow the same thing for our daughters? For the first 20 or 25 years of our lives we remain unmarried and most women refrain from sexual activity even after puberty. But then the rest of our life is after marriage. It would be foolish to ignore that we bohri women also have sexual desires and fantasies. And then we realize that sex is not enjoyable because every time, we sleep unfulfilled. Our husbands can orgasm but not us.

Why do Bohri people circumcise their daughters? – is a question I asked over and over again to myself and then decided to find out. I gently probed many people. Their answers are all below –

– It is done to curb a woman’s sexual desires. When her sexual desires are curbed she will not tarnish the ‘izzat’ of her family by sleeping around with men before marriage.

– It is done so that she will remain loyal to her husband. If it is not done then no one will marry her. Who would want a woman who may be disloyal?

– It is done on men, that’s why it’s also performed on women. No questions asked.

The truth of this all is that cutting a woman’s genital would only decrease sexual pleasure. Not her sexual desires. Sexual desires form in the place we use to think – the BRAIN and not the CLITORIS.

Pre-marital sexual activity and being loyal or disloyal to our partner in life is a matter of our own choice and our choices are not made by our genitals.

The other sad truth about life is that Bohri men and women do have affairs before and after their marriages, they do keep mistresses and boyfriends no one knows about. You may have heard of at least one instance.

Isn’t it possible that a woman who is unaware of the consequences of her circumcision may think that her husband is unable to satisfy her and then go to another man?

How can we harm God’s natural design? God wanted us to be born this way. He gave us the various parts of our body for a purpose. Why do we have to interfere with that?

There is a religious argument too. It seems in one of His Sunnahs, the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said it was honorable for a woman to go through Circumcision. But this is a Sunnah. Something non-obligatory in Islam. Then why are we forced to carry it out on our children, by our mothers and our husbands mothers and our grandmothers and most importantly the kothar?

Male circumcision is a Farz in Islam. And yes, medical science has proved that it has several health benefits. It decreses chances of UTIs and HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

  • It would be foolish to let it go unacknowledged that the other muslim communities, and other religions in India and worldwide do not carry out this act on their daughters. (We know that FGM is carried out in African countries, some Christian communities, and some middle eastern Muslim countries, Indonesia etc.)  Studies also show that movements to eliminate FGM in the above mentioned countries and communities are on and running successfully. These movements have been brought about by NGOs and by governments and in many countries it is branded as a criminal offence and offenders are severely punished.
  • Please understand that I love my community and greatly appreciate the sense of belonging it brings with it. I am not against the people. I am only fighting for my rights as a woman. And for the right to exist without fear in case I am blessed with a daughter.
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