Badhai: Hijra-Khwaja Sira-Trans Performance across Borders in South Asia

Adnan Hossain et al.

Omslag van het boek ‘Badhai’ van Adnan Hossain e.a.

‘Badhai’ is the first full-length book to provide an introduction to ‘badhai’ performances throughout South Asia, examining their characteristics and relationships to differing contexts in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.

Badhai performances

Badhai’s repertoires of songs, dances, prayers, and comic repartee are performed by socially marginalized ‘hijra’, ‘khwaja sira’, and trans communities. They commemorate weddings, births and other celebratory heteronormative events.

The form is improvisational and responds to particular contexts, but also moves across borders, including those of nation, religion, genre, and identity.


This collaboratively authored book draws from anthropology, theatre and performance studies, music and sound studies, ethnomusicology, queer and transgender studies, and sustained ethnographic fieldwork to examine badhai’s place-based dynamics, transcultural features, and communications across the ‘hijrascape’.

The virtual study explores the form’s changing status and analyses the performances’ layered, scalar, and sensorial practices, to extend ways of understanding hijra-khwaja sira-trans performance.

More information
Read more about 'Badhai'