chapter  V
3 Pages

CIRCUMCISION

CmcuMCISION (khatna, sunnat, in Sind sathra, toharu) should be performed between the ages of seven and twelve or fourteen, but it is lawful to do it seven days after birth. 1 Akbar prohibited the rite before the age of twelve, and it was then to be optional with the boy. 2

On the appointed day friends are invited and entertained. For a few days before the rite the boy is rubbed with Haldi or turmeric and made to sit in state (known in south India as manja baithna). He is dressed in red or yellow clothes, decorated with flowers, and Missi or dentifrice is rubbed on his teeth, this being the only occasion on which males use it. He is then carried in procession round the town. Others postpone the dinner and the procession till after the operation. The boy is seated on a large new earthen pot inverted, or on a chair with a red handkerchief spread over it. A couple of hours before he has been dosed with the electuary known as Ma 'jun, made from hemp and used as an anodyne. Some friends hold the boy firmly and the barber performs the operation with a sharp razor. When it is over the boy is told to call out three times 'Din', 'The Faith'. To divert his attention he is made to slap the operator for causing him so much pain. One of the relatives chews betel and squirts the red spittle on the wound to make him believe that there has been no flow of blood. While the operation is in progress the Brahfti mother puts a handmill on her head, a kinswoman a Koran, and they stand facing west and praying till all is over ; in the Mari

• .Ain, i. 207.