This book is an account of the evolution, rise and decline of the Lok
Theatre and the people who made it possible. It follows the fortunes of the
theatre as it moves from town to town, describing its women, economy, the
subculture behind the guarded compound of performers, owners, stagehands and
the crowds that thronged to see it in short, the ambience of an era spanning
The book shows how women were manipulated by the men of the Lok theatre.
This generated fear, insecurity and distress among the women, who had
already been socialized to obey men in a patriarchal conceptual domain. They
thus became victims of dependency, providing services of cash income and
other facilities to their men, while the latter continued to exploit their
lab our. The constraints placed on their personal lives by society and
family notwithstanding, they effectively penetrated the male domain,
surpassing it in their virtuosity and art. Career women in Pakistan today in
all fields will see in the lives of theatre women familiar constraints
placed on their professionalism by analogous social pressures.
The authors are social scientists and folklorists conducting research at the
National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa). Both
authors have doctoral degrees: Fouzia saeed in Education from the University
of Minnesota, USA and Adam Nayyar in Cultural Anthropology from the
University of Heidelberg, Germany.