The following article was shared with Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation by Dr. Arun Gandhi, Journalist and Co-Founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence. Dr. Gandhi is the fifth grandson of the late Mahatma Gandhi, and he continues to follow his grandfather’s legacy.
After the top Bohra leadership was subjected to a jail term for conspiring in Khatna of two 7-year-old Bohra girls, and after Australian Government threatened further action, the Bohra Dai, who boasts of command over Farishta (angels), and who promises Bohras of holding their hands and taking them into Jannat irrespective of their deeds, his bravado has crumbled under this threat. He has quietly ordered Australian Bohra Jamat to make a public announcement banning Female Khatna, when the clitoris of 7-year-old Bohra girls are clipped so that they cannot enjoy sexual pleasure. The belief is that if girls do not come in sexual heat, they will not get involved and runaway or have illegitimate sex. However, it is a very flawed and inhumane voodoo logic. In reality, Clitoridectomy generate unhealthy relationships and frustrations with husbands. The psychological damages due to forcible Khatna of girls as young as seven, many times makes girls indulge with someone sympathetic and loving.
Many times, it is argued among Bohra and African tribes that the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or Khatna is a command from prophet or Imams or someone 14 centuries ago, even though only a small percentage of Muslims follow the practice. It should be remembered that during wars 14 centuries ago, soldiers were killed and the winning army captured women and children and sold them as slaves. In those days, many men married four wives and had several slave girls. When a master died, the slave girls were sold, inherited, or freed. These slave girls did not undergo Clitoridectomy (cutting of clitoris). Men in those times never felt sexual frustration with wives who were mostly for reproduction, not for enjoying sex. For enjoyment, they had slave girls. Again, during ancient times divorcing and marrying other women was common. However, in current times Bohra husbands suffer a lot or frustration from sexually unenthusiastic wives because they have undergone psychological trauma of forcibly cutting their private parts during childhood.
I have been writing against the practice of Khatna for several years. Some Bohra women wrote me about their childhood Khatna trauma. Some men have talked to me about their sexual frustrations; Some Bohra women wrote that Khatna makes Bohra women pure. Other wrote that girl’s Khatna was a religious command. Few of them said they were lucky their parents saved them from Khatna torture.
Fortunately, since last year, brave Bohra women have come forward and formed a group called Sahiyo (Friends). Through their blogs and contacting various editors, columnists, and media around the world, they have brought awareness about ills of this draconian practice. Fortunately, for Bohra women, Khatna or FGM perpetrators in Australia were caught red-handed and were given harsh punishment, forcing Bohra Chief Priest Mufaddal to ban the practice in Australia. I had thought England, France or USA with large Bohra population would be the first to take such action. Now they should learn a lesson from Australia and act now. Please write to all Governments to ban the practice, especially the Government of western countries. In India and Pakistan, there is no specific law against FGM or Khatna. My appeal to all humanity-loving people of the world is to please press your governments to create harsh laws against forcible genital mutilation of seven-year-old girls.