Young girl forced to live her life as a boy.

Until the age of two, Mangal was Madina, one of seven daughters chosen by her parents to live as a boy under an Afghan tradition called “bacha posh,” a Dari term that translates to “dressed as a boy.”

He tucks his long hair under a woolen cap, pulls on his jacket and trousers and helps his father tend their wheat and dairy farm in the snow-capped village of Sanjoor, in Herat province.

In Afghanistan’s deeply patriarchal society, sons are highly valued over daughters — to the point where a family is deemed “incomplete” without a boy, says Nadia Hashimi, an Afghan-American pediatrician and author of the best-selling 2014 bacha posh novel “The Pearl That Broke Its Shell.”

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Mangal’s father, Khoda Bakhsh Karimy, told CNN that should the family have a son, the child would return to living as a girl. Until then or the point when Mangal hits puberty, Khoda and his wife Amena Karimy were “happy” with Mangal and the responsibilities he carries out, like “welcoming guests to our home and offering them tea or food.”

After having two girls, Mangal’s parents longed for a son. “We made her like a son to help her father,” said mother Amena.

“I made my daughter like a boy to serve me food and water when I am working in the desert,” father Khoda said.

“I love all my daughters but I love Madina more as I ask her to do work like ‘go take care of the cattle’ or ‘bring something to a neighbor,'” says Khoda. “Otherwise there is no difference between them.”

Mangal says that “yes” he likes being a boy and prefers being referred to by the English pronoun “he.”

But, he adds: “I would like to go back to being a girl when I grow up.”

Read the full story here.

Share your comments below

  • oh poor girl! these articles are eye openers of whats happening around!


  • Such a sad thing that there is such as thing as this bacha posh. The consequences of this sort of thing….confusion, lack of confidence and more are quite terrible. I just don’t understand it at all.


  • What a profoundly disturbing thing to do to your child. The long lasting mental damage will be seen in time I suppose…


  • That is so sad


  • Poor girl having to conform to parents demands


  • So many old traditions still going on in this world, very strange indeed.


  • my goodness how incredibly confusing for the girl, that in this day and age she has to act like a he because the family is deemed incomplete without a son!

    I think everyone who has children should be just happy that they have them and treasure them regardless of if they are a girl or a boy!


  • I don’t understand the strong desire for one gender over the other.


  • Amazing how different tribes act at times. Hope he can revert to being a girl one day, but then the shame would have to worse for the family I would imagine.


  • This is wrong but as long as the girl is happy isn’t that all that matters?


  • Poor kids, all of them. Being forced to be something against your will is terrible, and having your parents favour one sibling over the others is heartbreaking.


  • These parents are delusional. Something very wrong with them.


  • This is so disgusting but not surprising for that part of the world sadly where women are commodities


  • Very sad how boys are so preferred above girls in some countries. How under valued many girls and women must feel. Many girls are killed at birth in these countries, I’m glad this girl isn’t and that the parents express they love their girls.


  • Valuing one gender over another is just awful.

    • Girls are boys are clearly both able and capable of doing similar tasks/jobs.


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