Bhand Jashna



  • (Kashmiri: clown Festival) A form of rural theater that has existed forcenturies in the Kashmir region of India and Pakistan. Improvised farces andsatires are performed in Kashmiri with a leavening of Hindustani, Urdu,Punjabi, and other languages depending on the locality. Although on thesurface the plays are semi-historical works about folk heroes, in practicethe main purpose is to satirize everyone in the village, from poor peasantsto corrupt government officials.

    Performances are staged in the open air and commence witha prayer, or poozapath, honouring Allah. The clowns, or maskharas,then make their entrances through the audience to the accompanimentof music. Their costumes include colourful headdresses.