Comic Performance in Pakistan: The Bhānd

This book explores comic performance in Pakistan through the vibrant Indo-Muslim tradition of the Punjabi bhānd which now holds a marginal space in contemporary weddings. With irreverent repartee, genealogical prowess, a topsy-turvy play with hierarchies and shape shifting, the low-status bhānd jostles space in otherwise rigid class and caste hierarchies. Tracing these negotiations in both historical and contemporary sites, the author unfolds a dynamic performance mode that travels from the Sanskrit jester and Sufi wise fool, into Muslim royal courts and households, weddings, contemporary carnivalesque and erotic popular Punjabi theatre and satellite television news. Through original historical and ethnographic research, this book brings to life hitherto unexplored territories of Pakistani popular culture and Indo-Muslim performance histories.