Published by: Mumkin
Year published: 2020

In 2011, an anonymous petition calling for the ban on khatna, the practice of female genital cutting/mutilation in the Bohra community, surfaced online. While the petition initially garnered 3,400 signatures, in the past decade it has burgeoned into a full-blown public battle. From personal conversations and Whatsapp exchanges, religious sermons, and parliamentary debates, to legal trials and prime-time headlines, the practice of female khatna, khafz or sunnat has become a big topic of discussion in India, and globally. In the process, two clear camps have emerged: the antikhatna advocates and the pro-khatna supporters. Situated in the thick of these extremely polarised exchanges, this multidisciplinary feminist ethnography strives to document the experiences, feelings and struggles of the Bohra community as they understand, challenge and/or defend the 1,400-year-old ritual in their personal and public realms. It seeks to contribute to the small but growing pool of academic research that has so far been documented on the practice of FGC in South Asia.