The three Ranalvi sisters—Ummul (50), Tasleema (49) and Masooma (45)—are among the courageous few who speak openly about the morbidity of being forced into circumcision when they were children. “You can’t imagine how it felt to have a part of your body violated, one that is so private, so gentle, so tender,” says Ummul. “It was very traumatic, very painful.”
Like other Bohra girls, they too weren’t told what exactly was going to happen to them. “It was a time when parents did not even know how to prepare their daughters. They just took you to somebody’s house and had it done,” Ummul tells us.
Recalling the horror, youngest sister Masooma too says the first sense of foreboding came when—like her sisters before—she too found herself in a dark, little room in central Mumbai. “It was a very scary experience. I was mortified,” she recollects.
It didn’t help that the sisters had a very progressive father. “My father was a rebel...