RANCHI: Conservative India‘s preference for a blushing, untouched bride is now making a mark in tribal societies, where virginity was never really an issue in the past. Hymenoplasty, or hymen repair surgery, which has for long been popular among women in metros has made its way into the tribal heartland. Though there have been only four queries and two such operations in the city in the last two years, but it is definitely is a start of a new trend in this tribal-dominated city.
Dr Anant Sinha, a plastic surgeon and founder of Devkamal Hospital, the only place in Ranchi that offers hymenoplasty, said: “The first query regarding hymenoplasty came to me around two years ago, but I managed to convince the girl not to undergo the surgery. Since then, I have handled four such cases -I managed to discourage two girls, but had to perform surgery on the other two as they were adamant. The last operation I performed was in October 2012. It is a one hour procedure and costs Rs.15,000.”
Interestingly, three of these four girls were tribals. Sinha said: “I did not ask them too much about their background or why they wanted to get operated, but I did manage to convince one tribal and one non-tribal girl not to get operated. The two operations that I have performed were on tribal girls.”
Tribal girls opting for hymenoplasty has come as a surprise to many as virginity has never been an issue in the tribal society. Giridhariram Gaunjhu, former head of Ranchi University‘s tribal and regional languages department, said: “Tribal societies never questioned a girl’s purity. Many tribes practiced polyandry and promoted widow marriages even when they were taboo in the rest of the country. These girls who opted for hymenoplasty are exceptions and have been influenced by the so-called modern society.”
The influence Gaunjhu is talking about is evident on media and social networking sites, where posts like ‘In the year 2013, a virgin wife is more important than dowry’ are common and underline the message that a man always wants to be the first one to conquer the female’s body. Such messages only create pressure on youngsters to conform.
A 24-year-old girl said: “I have been a sportsperson all my life and my hymen might have ruptured. I just pray that I bleed when I have intercourse with my husband for the first time. This could just ruin my life.” Piyush Lakra, a 28-year-old, said: “One of my friends recently got married and all his friends asked him if his wife was a virgin.”
Sinha said: “Girls want to get hymen restored so that they bleed during their first sexual intercourse after marriage thus giving an impression of being a virgin. People fail to understand that hymen rupture has nothing to do with virginity. A hymen can rupture while doing excessive physical work or during sports like cycling, running or horse-riding.”
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