I came to know about the practice when I was seven years old, but all I knew was that khatna means removing something from your body.
My two elder sisters have undergone khatna, but I was not cut. The reason for this is that my dadi (grandmother) passed away before it was my turn to be cut. My parents had got my sisters’ khatna done because of pressure from my dadi – otherwise they never wanted to perform khatna on any of their daughters.
I was in the 7th standard when I first discussed khatna with my mother. After coming from school, I told my mother about a class we had had on sex education, menstruation, puberty and bodily changes. My mom brought up khatna during this talk. She told me it is done to reduce sexual pleasure.
Innocently, I asked her, “Mummy, maru pan khatna thavanu chhe?” (Will khatna happen to me also?) She said no, and I was very happy then.
One of my sisters has a daughter, but she has decided she will not have khatna performed on her. I do not support this practice either. Such a tradition that harms women’s sexuality and rights should be stopped.