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The Reality About Circumcision, And How It Isn’t As Bad As We’d Like To Believe

More from Saif Ahmad Khan

By Saif Ahmad Khan:

If you’re an Indian Muslim and a male, then at some point in time in your life, someone, somewhere must have used the slur ‘katwa’ to humiliate you. Circumcision, as a practise, is abhorred by the majority community in India. The Hindus view it is as a barbaric and violent religious ritual which infringes on the human rights of small children. Hindu hatred for circumcision also stems from the inhumane actions of some Muslim rulers in ancient times. Tipu Sultan forcefully converted some Hindus to Islam and also subjected them to forced circumcision. For such rulers, being a Muslim meant merely to keep a beard and have a circumcised penis. Hindutva fascist and Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray once praised Maratha warrior Shivaji by stating that had he not risen in revolt then all Hindus today must have been circumcised. Some Christians too attack Jews and Muslims because of the amputated state of their genitals. Little idea do they have that the Bible mentions the circumcision of Jesus on the 8th day after his birth and the practise is carried out on a large scale by Coptic Christians in Egypt.

Circumcision of Christ (1521). Chartres Cathedral France 28/04/2011 Source
Circumcision of Christ (1521). Chartres Cathedral France 28/04/2011
Source

The principal reason why circumcision is so controversial is because people are highly uninformed about it. The first thing that needs to be understood is that though many Jews and Muslims perform circumcision solely as a religious ritual, the practise is a scientifically validated one and has an array of health benefits associated with it. Secondly, circumcision in the 21st century is performed surgically in nearly all hospitals by expert surgeons and not by some random Jewish rabbi or Muslim maulvi at home with the help of a knife. Thirdly, a lot of people have no real idea about what is actually done during circumcision. I recently came to know that one of my friends thought the entire male sexual organ is amputated during circumcision. This is not true. During circumcision, the foreskin on the male penis is surgically removed with due inspection and caution.

Now that circumcision as a medical practice has been clearly defined, let me enumerate on the various health benefits which come along with it. Circumcision helps in preventing men from contracting the HIV virus. France’s National AIDS Research Agency conducted a study in South Africa between 2002 & 2005 on the effects which circumcision has in combating AIDS. It concluded that HIV virus was 8 to 10 times higher in those men who were not circumcised. It has been claimed that circumcision can prevent 6 to 7 out of 10 potential HIV infections. Many of the Muslim majority countries have an incredibly low rate of people suffering from AIDS. In Iran, Indonesia and Pakistan, the number of people who are HIV+ is 0.1%, the figure is 0.2% in Bangladesh and 0.4% in Malaysia whereas in Hindu majority India, the figure stands at 0.92%. Richard Feachem, Former Under Secretary General of the United Nations & Executive Director of Global Fund to Fight AIDS had once passed a controversial remark in Paris stating that he expected the epidemic of AIDS to grow faster among Hindus as they did not practise circumcision. India’s leading English daily ‘Times of India’ carried a report in its August 4, 2005 edition titled “Circumcision: It suits Hindus also” in which it strongly advocated in favour of the practice but said that the government was reluctant on embracing it since it would be viewed as appeasement of Muslims by hardliners in India’s political spectrum.

Besides combating AIDS, circumcision also helps in preventing penile cancer in heterosexual men. A study titled ‘Male Circumcision and Penile Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta Analysis’ concluded “childhood/adolescent circumcision is preventive against invasive penile cancer. This effect could be meditated partly through an effect on phimosis. Circumcision services among adults are currently being expanded as an HIV prevention strategy and neonatal/infant circumcision is emerging as a cost effective long-term HIV prevention strategy. Some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa experience higher incidence of penile cancer as compared to Western countries and expansion of circumcision services in this region provides an opportunity to reduce penile cancer as well as HIV in men.” Several ongoing researches have only validated the medical effectiveness of circumcision and have held it as genuinely productive in preventing urinary tract infections.

The last argument revolving around the circumcision debate is concerning human rights. Some human rights activists have argued that subjecting the child to a surgery and amputating a particular body organ of his without taking the child’s consent is a criminal act. These human rights activists should understand that the surgery which is being performed on the child is for his own benefit. Parents have to make certain decisions for the well being of their children. The child doesn’t decide which school he would go to, the parents do. In the larger interest of a child’s health, parents should have the right to decide whether or not their child should be circumcised. Plus, the contemporary medical market has in its possession several instruments and devices which facilitate non surgical circumcision. Despite the taboo surrounding circumcision, it is increasingly being accepted by the Westerners. It is said that 25% of the men in Europe are circumcised. However, I would like to end on a note of warning. While there is enough scientific evidence in favour of male circumcision, there is equally or more scientific evidence against female genital mutilation which is practised actively in different parts of the world. It is in the interest of mankind that this practice is done away with as soon as possible. Even religious leaders seem to have begun understanding the problems associated with FGM and this has led to issuing of many fatwas denouncing it.

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  1. sarab

    POINTLESS ! circumcision may guard against HIV but then cutting off your eyelid will guard you against eyelid infections. then lets cut off eyelids as well
    then why do you cut the lid of your glans penis ?
    also its mutilation and reduces sexual pleasure for men. Using a condom is simpler.
    Circumcision is just a way of making money for doctors. Infant circumcision should be banned . Let an adult man decide for himself.

    1. Rohan

      Nice one.

  2. S

    Or …you know… We just teach children to spend an extra ten seconds cleaning their private parts in the shower and emphasise the importance of CONDOMS

  3. shoeb

    good article.. at the time of Jesus (pbuh) thr were jews around n in jews within 8 days circumcision is done. apart from HIV i would like to mention that to clean the foreskin daily is strongly recommended by doctors if u dont clean it daily then the sticky fluid called ‘slesma’ deposited inside n which makes the irritation n pain. thr is no maintenance of penis if it is circumcised.. its proved that circumcision has no single drawback.

  4. Kuwar Singh

    The way you tackled the last argument is wrong. You could not make me agree with you on your front as it only ended up making kids look like fools whose major decisions should be made by their parents. Having said that, I support circumcision. I am a circumcised Hindu and unlike Jesus, my circumcision wasn’t conducted on the 8th day after my birth. I was an intelligent child (perhaps of seven or eight years) when my parents and doctor convinced me it was a good choice. I was scared- which child wouldn’t be?- but I had the knowledge of what was to happen to me.
    But I do agree that we need to remove circumcision from the very long list of taboos we have inherited. Since I was circumcised, I could not be even comfortable in public toilets for a long time! It wasn’t me, it was the people and their whole ‘katwa’ philosophy. But finally, I got over it. And I’m happy I let my parents make that choice for me, but what is really cool about it is even at that time I knew what that choice was, which I think is the right way to go about this issue and tackle the whole human-rights stigma attached to it.

  5. tarang

    This has to be the most well written article I’ve ever come across on YKA.

  6. Maitreyi Haldar

    Its a very well written article and I agree to tge medical benefits mentioned here. But I feel that the emphasis on Hindus viewing it as an abominable practise is uncalled for. Every other religion that does not sanction circumcision views it as a barbaric act. Also, I feel that any religious practise that is exclusive to it gets criticised because its incomprehensible to others.
    Also, we cannot overlook the fact that there are many places where both MGM and FGM are done by a non-medic and it leads to various medical complications. I think the present world is more concerned with that.
    Lets not stress on the Hindu-Muslim divide so much.

  7. Angel

    Circumcision is a scam. Read the history of circumcision… in the past medical professionals also claimed it prevented or treated – asthma, bladder infections, blindness, club foot, clumsiness, compulsion to rape, constant crying, convulsions, criminal behavior, deafness, diabetes, diarrhea, divorce, dumbness, epilepsy, excessive saliva, frequent urination, gangrene, gonorrhea, hernia, herpes, hives, homosexuality, idiocy, impotence, indigestion, irritability, marital unhappiness, masturbation, mental disease, nervousness, nightmares, nose picking, oversensitive penis, paralysis, passion, promiscuity, restlessness, urine retention, sexual appetite, spinal curvature, swollen feet, syphilis, tuberculosis, urinary tract infections and wet dreams.

    At the time people believed it also. Generation after generation falls for it and the “medical experts” make a lot of money from endorsing its continuation as a strange form of “preventative medicine”.

    “What does the frequently cited ‘60% relative reduction’ in HIV infections actually mean? In all 3 trials that formed the mainstay of WHO / UNAIDS’s decision to recommend ‘mass male circumcision programme’ as a ‘supposedly’ HIV-preventive measure, 1.18% of men subjected to circumcision became HIV positive while 2.45% of the controls (intact men) became HIV positive, so the ‘absolute decrease’ in HIV infection was only 1.31% which is statistically insignificantly.”

    “The decision by WHO / UNAIDS to recommend the circumcision of up to 38 million African men (in the next five-years) is clearly not underpinned by credible scientific evidence (medical or experimental). Actually, examination of the epidemiological data from several sub-Saharan African countries shows that male circumcision does not provide protection against HIV sexual transmission – the countries include Cameroon, Ghana, Lesotho, Tanzania, Rwanda, Swaziland and Malawi – all of which have a higher prevalence of HIV infection among circumcised men (one epidemiological study of 58,598 men found no relationship between male circumcision and HIV transmission). The claimed efficacy of male circumcision reducing HIV sexual transmission has been further contradicted by no less than 17 observational studies.”

  8. Ashwin

    May be some like myself actually regret it happened to them..as a child without consent…. Definitely a human rights violation irrespective of medical evidence… Common sense says it is unnatural…

  9. Hema Negi

    Your article might be of help to your people and to convince the fact which is not convinced or accepted by other communities or whatsoever till date . But what I don’t appreciate here is your statistics: how could you compare the population size of Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh to India. Let me point it out to you the three mentioned countries (out of which Pakistan and Bangladesh are accounted for poor health already) are so small in population size and are Islamic republic whereas India is a secular country which counts for all religions. The majority is not making it “The Hindu republic of India”. And in India till date there is no as such available data or stats showing % of HIV positive in relatively stronger in Hindus as compared to Muslims. Another fact, the muslim community is much more susceptible to all these because of Polygamy and illiteracy . I do not understand what a disease has to do with Religion? Your Identity is because of India, so when we talk about a disease we dont count religions. No matter what crap basis you put forth. If you are so strong in point add Peer reviewed journal research article not less than nature/plos/ Pnas to support your point. Think Scientifically!

    1. Rizvi

      Some randomly selected peer reviewed scientific articles in related and reputed journals on the role of male circumcision as a preventive measure to STIs. Now, if only you know anything about scientific literature and how scientific studies are carried out and published, you will understand that everything scientifically genuine doesn’t have to come from Nature/PLoS/PNAS. The issue under discussion is an epidemiological and medical problem, and it is obvious that you will find almost all of the studies published in the related journals (dealing with medicine, epidemiology, ethics etc.) and not in journals focused on more fundamental research. Similarly as demanding that the studies on Higgs field be published in JCB! to be accepted as scientifically legitimate is an absurd notion.

      J Med Ethics 2004;30:241 doi:10.1136/jme.2002.002576
      Epidemiol Rev 32 (1): 121–36. doi:10.1093/epirev/mxq010. PMC 2912604. PMID 20519264,
      J Infect Dis. 2011 Nov;204(9):1375-90. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir523.
      J Urol. 2010 Jan;183(1):21-6. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2009.09.030.

    2. Vikas

      Conjunctivitis, an infection of the eyelid (the conjunctiva to be specific) is a viral infection that occurs on the interior of the eyelid by various means. Imagine if people started chopping off their eyelids. I mean, would you if I told you that it prevented conjunctivitis? wouldn’t you want more proof than just 4 papers written by people with vested interests?

  10. Rohan

    Congratulations you’re all officially going to cut off your children’s penises after reading this article. Oh well more pleasure for me. I am not a huge fan of educating other people, seeing that I may be ignored completely, but if you ever touch my penis based on whatever phony ancient village idiot’s wet dream and a handful of cherry picked papers that failed the scientific peer review more than a decade ago, I will hunt you down and chop off that exact volume of your favorite organ. Trust me, if you educate yourself, you might probably make it till you’re of the age of 20. but if you do take everything blindly, and chop off parts of your body that you think are useless, then go for it. I will not feel any pity or hatred towards you. Go figure why.

    Here come the downvotes. Katuwe saale.

    1. Rohan

      you can start here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCSWbTv3hng
      and don’t fucking reply if you’re a katuwa, religious person, uneducated person, or a member of the 1% that wishes to rule the world by being the only one ever capable of reproducing again, thus making your sperm worth more than your weight in gold per ml.

  11. JP

    i am sorry but i am not buying it…

    1. It’s unnatural and inhuman.
    2. There is not enough evidence of circumcisition directly reducing the chance of HIV
    3. Statistics is fun but it really makes any sense when there is a common base. when you compare the percentage of Hiv positive people of Pakistan Bangladesh with India, what lacks is a common base.

    So for me MGM and FGM are equal violation of human rights, untill I get better evidences.

  12. Pari

    Circumcision for medical reasons is completely justified but cutting off your body parts because you belong to a particular religion is a bit too barbaric and pointless. It also goes to show the level in which humans can brand themselves physically to favor a religion.

  13. Swarnima

    Its an interesting article because it unabashedly focuses on the stigmas attached to the male body- something we tend to leave out of our discussions on gender issues.

    Since I’m not sure about the scientific pros and cons, and exact history of this practice, I’ll refrain from remarking from that aspect for the moment.

    However, it is true that circumcision has lent itself to becoming a cultural marker, a form of “othering”. “Katua” is a common slur used by Hindus. A haunting example of these hollow cultural markers is Khushwant Singh’s masterpiece “Train to Pakistan”, where the treatment meted out to Iqbal Singh is a reminder of the dangerous proportions this process of othering can assume. The ambiguity about Iqbal’s faith and the *voluntary* aspect of his circumcision are all over-ridden by the fact that he IS circumcised, and hence the target.

    So, yes, the debate about circumcision with respect to health benefits (or the lack of it) is pertinent, but the aspect of its cultural repercussions shouldn’t be overlooked.

  14. Mahmood Khan

    Absolutely agree. that’s a scientifically facts, by the circumcise, people may get lots of benefits, like: less chance to HIV/aids etc.

  15. Ridhi

    While it will take a lot of time for most people in India to understand the pros and cons for something like this, I would like to still congratulate Saif on bringing out some lesser-known facts about the practice of circumcision. Yes, there is not a lot of scientific evidence to prove things right, but this article does provide some good insights. Some people do it for the benefit of their kids, some don’t do it because they feel it’s unsafe – to each his own. But there is no reason why one should think of the other party as any less and humiliate them. The humiliation bit really needs to go away!

  16. amal

    Whosoever is citing prevention from aids is a fucktard.aids came after 1960’s, whereas these scamsters are doing circumcision for ages.plus india has larger population of muslims than Pakistan and Bangladesh together.kindly get your facts right.it is definitely un natural to cut off any human organ with kiving cells/tissues without the consent of an individual. This writer is just a bloody dumb hardliner who is trying to convince his barbaric ways.nobody is buying your shit loser.down vote me too.

  17. neetu ralhan

    good one!

  18. Biren

    The argument advanced in favor of circumcision,citing its medical/health benefits, seems to be advanced to cover the hidden ideological motives of such practice.I strongly condemn such inhuman, barbaric practice.Clearly, the majority of masses have subscribed to such practices, and may even continue to do so, in future as well, without even trying to understand the implications and motives of it. The aspiration of empire building through horizontal creeping via the practice of ‘polygamy’ , made circumcision a necessary as well as mandatory ceremony, which certainly was a barbaric and inhuman. Because of circumcision, it was believed that, sexually transmitted diseases could be avoided.It seems, the belief of avoiding HIV’s through circumcision was the only major driving force for the adoption of such barbaric practice. And now a days,as masses are very much influenced by the feminine ideas and gender sensitivity, society is not willing to adopt polygamy as a social practice. And if polygamy is not an aspiration, then practice of circumcision must become a voluntary practice.

  19. Philo

    your whole logic and rationality revolves around one fact : ‘It helps in AIDS prevention’. and your so called facts are in prelimery stages and any direct relationship is yet to be established…. so it would be better if we don’t rely on them blindly ( its just a hypothesis).
    but this AIDS thing did not exist before 1980’s , then why ppl were doing it before that ??
    and about cancer prevention…. even banana and ‘haram animals’ helps in that ( as there are numerous biological factors involved in that )

    what if in future scientist proves that this circumcision has only negative effect, then what will you do ?? ( either terms it a ‘conspiracy of non-muslims’ or issue fatwas against him ) will you then stop it and raise voice against it ?
    when you were circumcised , ppl around never even bothered to think abt its logic as it is a taboo ( to mix up rationality and rituals)

    you r just trying to satisfy yourself deep inside with half-baked facts as it comforts you.

    yes it is inhuman, barbaric and uncivilised.

    …….
    looking forward for a healthy and constructive discussion

  20. Philo

    your whole logic and rationality revolves around one fact : ‘It helps in AIDS prevention’. and your so called facts are in prelimery stages and any direct relationship is yet to be established…. so it would be better if we don’t rely on them blindly ( its just a hypothesis).
    but this AIDS thing did not exist before 1980’s , then why ppl were doing it before that ??
    and about cancer prevention…. even banana and ‘haram animals’ helps in that ( as there are numerous biological factors involved in that )

    what if in future scientist proves that this circumcision has only negative effect, then what will you do ?? ( either terms it a ‘conspiracy of non-muslims’ or issue fatwas against him ) will you then stop it and raise voice against it ?
    when you were circumcised , ppl around never even bothered to think abt its logic as it is a taboo ( to mix up rationality and rituals)

    you r just trying to satisfy yourself deep inside with half-baked facts as it comforts you.

    yes it is inhuman, barbaric and uncivilised.

  21. William

    There is no defense of genital mutilation. It must be stopped.

  22. naval

    Circumcision may be logical for abrahamic religions (Including Islam ) because all of these originated in desert . Well if you don’t have water to drink how can you take shower or clean your penis … but for this age I think it doesn’t make sense unless you are a lazy shit .

  23. naval

    Copy paste from some website ..:-)

    Advantages and disadvantages of circumcision

    There are several potential advantages and disadvantages associated with circumcising boys shortly after they are born.
    For example:
    Circumcision may reduce the risk of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI), such as a bladder infection.
    Circumcision may reduce the risk of getting some types of sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV and genital herpes.
    Circumcision may reduce the risk of female partners developing some types of sexually transmitted infections, such as bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis.
    Circumcision may reduce the risk of developing cancer of the penis.
    However, there are much more effective and less invasive ways of preventing these conditions. For example, practising good hygiene to prevent UTIs, or using a condom to prevent STIs.
    Read about when circumcision may be necessary for more details.
    Most healthcare professionals maintain that the potential benefits of circumcision are not strong enough to justify routine childhood circumcision. Critics of circumcision argue that it has disadvantages, such as:
    Reduced sensitivity – an uncircumcised penis is more sensitive than a circumcised penis, meaning that circumcised men may experience less pleasure during sex.
    Potential complications of circumcision – these include excessive bleeding, post-operative infection and, in rare cases, injury to the urethra. These complications are thought to outweigh any potential benefits.
    Critics have also argued that routinely circumcising baby boys on medical grounds violates the principle of consent to treatment. They say that circumcision should only be performed when a boy is old enough to make an informed decision about whether he wishes to be circumcised.

  24. Judith

    So you think Christians don’t know that Christ was circumcised? I’m pretty sure they do, an they also know that Christ died for our sins, It is also stated in the bible that no one else needs to have this done to them. This article is merely another one filled with pro-circ propaganda. You are simply regurgitating all the myths and flawed studies already debunked time and time again. The foreskin is there for a reason, and the only one who should allow it be removed is the owner of the penis, not his highly misinformed or simply stupid parents.

  25. concerned cynic

    Some Islamic and First World circumcisions are performed under anesthesia. A large majority are not. To circumcise a child of any age without anesthesia should be illegal.

    There is no evidence that First World cultures that circumcise (South Korea, Israel and USA) have lower rates of STDs and urological problems, than First World cultures that do not circumcise. I remind you that the UK middle and upper classes, and all of New Zealand, used to circumcise, but gave up the practice. 50 years ago, a majority of Australian and Canadian baby boys were routinely circumcised. Now only a minority are. There is no evidence that countries that walk away from circumcision experience growing health problems.

    We do not know what are the consequences of infant circumcision for adult sexual function and pleasure, for both genders. No one has investigated whether circumcised men are more or less likely to experience PE and ED. There never has been a study, based on a large random sample, of women in the First World who claim to have had long term relationships with both kinds of men. Hence circumcision is unethical, because its long term sexual consequences are unknown.

    1975-2000, about 250,000 American and Canadian gay men died of AIDS. A large majority of them were circumcised.

    If a man’s sexual conduct respects Jewish, Islamic or Christian traditions, then he does not need circumcision to “protect” him from STDs. The foreskin does not cause diseases; irresponsible sexual acts do. If you cut off the foreskin, the amount of irresponsible sex will increase.

  26. Gary Harryman

    Just so we all know what it is that we are talking about…Human Genital Anatomy #101: Neurologically, the four most specialized pressure-sensitive cells in the human body are Meissner’s corpuscles for localized light touch and fast touch, Merkel’s disc cells for light pressure and tactile form and texture, Ruffini’s corpuscles for slow sustained pressure, deep skin tension, stretch, flutter and slip, and Pacinian corpuscles for deep touch and detection of rapid external vibrations. They are found only in the tongue, lips, palms, fingertips, nipples, and the clitoris, and in the crests of the Ridged Band at the tip of the male foreskin. These four specialized cell types process tens of thousands of information impulses per second and can sense texture, stretch, vibration, and movement at the micrometre level. These are the cells that allow blind people to “see” Braille with their fingertips. Cut them off and, male or female, it’s like trying to read Braille with your elbow as a veritable symphony of sensation is downgraded dramatically and the victim is sub-normalized for life. Google The Ridged Band and The Lost List.

  27. Nordic Girl

    Oh please. There are always some fantastic made up to continue genital cutting. I live in Northern Europe where people have sex a lot and there is no taboo around it…and circumcision is and have never been practiced. Yet our STD and HIV statistics are very very low compared to cutting countries. Why is that? Could some one please explain! Our detailed medical data and statistics are open and updated many times a year so be free to check.
    I really do not care what adult men or women do to their bodies but to take innocent, helpless child and carve his or hers genitals and scar the child forever is beyond words disgusting and should belong to history. Every year also hundreds of boys and girls get badly injured or die due to this abhorrent practice.
    Comparing education to genital cutting…I don’t even have words how to comment that. And circumcision always involves cutting, cutting of nerves, skin and blood vessels and it always leave a scar, over 20 000 lost sensitive nerves and lost sensitivity. No matter how much you try to sugar coat it, these are the facts. If you then believe that parents can treat child whatever they think is best, you must support female circumcision too since there are several “studies” showing how beneficial female circumcision is for the girl.
    Considering the harm circumcision does, it is no wonder that according to Pfizer medical company circumcising USA uses 47% of world’s Viagra and in Israel demand for Viagra is so great that men want it to be over the counter medicine.

  28. Gaius Baltar

    You are simply lying. Every single culture that cuts girls cuts boys in the same conditions.

  29. Donna

    Say it with me…HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION!!!
    His body his choice!
    Circumcisers should rot in jail or burn in hell!

  30. Robert

    “The Hindus view it is as a barbaric and violent religious ritual which infringes on the human rights of small children.”

    And they are 100% correct. You can repeat the lies about it being scientifically validated (not one medical organization in the world recommends ritual infant circumcision) all you want, but you can’t say that removing healthy, functioning tissue from a child without his consent isn’t a violation of his rights. What other body parts should we be allowed to remove “for his benefit”? Ear lobes? They aren’t necessary, and it’ll be easier to clean that area. How about toes? He’ll never have to cut his toenails or wash between them!

    It’s sickening how people rationalize the violation of a child’s genitals.

  31. Sandra

    It absolutely is a human rights violation and it absolutely does NOT have benefits, certainly not even close to what you claim here.
    The studies for HIV were done in 18 African countries and only ONE showed any decrease in transmission of HIV after circumcision. Kenya. 2 more showed an insignificant decrease. 5 more showed no difference. 10 Countries showed an INCREASE in HIV transmission after circumcision.
    Penile cancer is more rare than BREAST Cancer in MEN. DO remove any other parts of the body in case they might get cancer some day? In infants? NO!
    A child is more likely to DIE from complications of the procedure, than to ever actually require a circumcision for real medical reasons. Also, many males have lost their entire penis in botched procedures, so that friend was not far off.
    STOP SPREADING LIES! Leave children’s genitals alone!

  32. Denny

    I would like to point out 2 errors in your arguments.
    While it is frequently argued that circumcision reduces AIDs infection, can you explain why HIV/AIDS infection rates are several times higher in the U.S. (where approx. 70-80% of adult males are circumcised) than in Europe, where it is extremely RARE other than among Muslims and Jews?
    I recommend that you check your facts about the 25% circumcision rate in Europe. It is more likely around 5% since it is practiced only among religious minorities. (I have no objection to circumcision for religious reasons.)

  33. nilesh kumawat

    I’m planning to undergo circumcision I’m 30

  34. Sean

    Complete nonsense! The writer is playing fast and loose with the facts in order to support a pro-circumcision argument. Cutting off tens of thousands of nerve endings in the human penis is not without consequence. There are, in fact, men who seek reconstructive surgery to resolve issues (including permanent sexual disfunction) caused by this medically unnecessary insult to the human body.

    Before anyone bases any decision on the biased and patently wrong medical advice given in this article, please do some research on your own. Don’t believe me (and certainly don’t take the author’s advice). Google “medical necessity of circumcision” or something to that effect. You can start with this site if you like (though it is NOT unbiased and argues against this form of medical mutilation): http://www.intactamerica.org/resources/decision

  35. Amit Pandey

    Ok, so if I have a “circumcised penis”, and I have sex with a lady who is HIV+ve, what are my chances of acquiring AIDS? 0%, 25%, 35%….. if not 100%? By the way did the scientific people had envisioned AIDs and hence it became a “scientific procedure”?

    If smegma is one of the concern, does women not produce smegma. If man wants an oral from her, should he also not give, or is oral less pleasurable to women. So women should either clean it before asking for oral, or best, should remove her clitoris, why are you ashamed and saying women should not be genitally mutilation in your last para? And if you believe there is no “increasing scientific evidence” that says that Women do not produce smegma, search for it (one link for you – http://myheart.net/articles/smegma/)

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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