Jugni is an age-old narrative device used in Punjabi folk music and sung at Punjabi weddings in India, Pakistan, US, Canada, Australia and UK. The word literally means 'Female Firefly', in folk music it stands in for the poet-writer who uses Jugni as an innocent observer to make incisive, often humorous, sometimes sad but always touching observations. In spiritual poetry Jugni means the spirit of life, or essence of life. The late Legendary Alam Lohar (Punjab, Pakistan) and late Singer & Humorist Asa Singh Mastana (Punjab, India) are credited with popularizing this poetry from early Sufi spiritual writings and then subsequently later on it was transformed by other singers as a female girl just like prefixes like Preeto.
Much of early Jugni writing is spiritual in nature and relates to one's understanding of the world and one's relationship with God. Many poet philosophers have used the Jugni device, which is in the public domain, to make social, political or philosophical, often mildly subversive, commentary. Jugni is cross religious and depending on the writer, invokes the name of God (often using the word "Saeen", the vernacular word for Lord), Ali or the Gurus. A kernel of truth is an essential and integral part of every Jugni composition.
Noting, Jugni is also an old Muslim worship tool, majorly named as TASBIH, a series of 21, 31, 51 or 101 pearls, which is used by SUFI SAINTS for practicing the holy words. Mainly it is made my white pearls and white thread and is known to be holy. Afterwords JUGNI has become an ornament for Punjabi Women.
The narrative style relies on Jugni landing up unexpectedly in diverse places and, wide-eyed, learning something new. Jugni makes her comments in three or four well wrought verses which may or may not rhyme but can always be sung in a rudimentary Punjabi folk style. The object could be a city, a state, a market place, a school, a religious place or a saloon, Jugni's non-malicious commentary catches the essence of the place and produces in the listener a chuckle and sometimes a lump in the throat. Alam Lohar is the writer or introducer of this term from reading Baba Bulleh Shahs writing, in a spiritual Sufi theme.
The Indian artist to make a mark was Asa Singh Mastana. More recently[when?], Kuldeep Manak, born Latif Mohammad, has made notable Jugni contributions. Apart from that every other pop or folk singer from Harbhajan Mann, Arif Lohar, Gurdas Maan, Gurmeet Bawa to Rabbi Shergill has had his Jugni moment. Bollywood movie Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye has at least three songs that use the word Jugni. The song was sung by Des Raj Lachkani (basically a dadi singer), Lachkani is a village near Patiala, India.
In Pakistan, Jugni was popularized by the late folk music singer Alam Lohar. He received a gold disc LP for his Jugni in 1965. After that Saleem Javed and Arif Lohar, Alam Lohar's son, among others, have kept the tradition alive. Arif has brought in a more contemporary touch by incorporating modern vibes and rock influence in his versions of Jugni with Mukhtar Sahota (notably in his album "21st century Jugni"). In popular Pakistani culture Alamgir's Jugni is often the most-commonly recognized, which, in the mid-80's, encouraged young college students, most notably Saad Zahur, an architecture student at Lahore's NCA, who popularized the song with their own renditions. Arif Lohar has currently sang it for Coke Studio in Pakistan along with Meesha Shafi, a popular Pakistani youth, a version that will help this iconic song to further live on and on. This version of Jugni has crossed eleven million views and is most popular Punjabi video on YouTube.
|This article's factual accuracy is disputed. (October 2012)|
The oral history that has been recorded by freedom fighters and scholars points out that Jugni, which is so much a part of the Punjabi folk repertoire, came into being only in 1906 and was actually a song of protest against the British imperial rule. That year, a flaming torch toured all over the British empire in celebration of the golden jubilee of Victoria Regina. When it came to Punjab, a pair of young singers, Manda and Bishna, fond of singing tappe and the legend of Mirza, decided to sing the song of the natives and the word ‘Jugni’ was derived from ‘jubilee’ and the target was the jubilee flame. In fact, that’s how the rustic and unlettered youths pronounced the word. The message came out with all its satire in the verses that have the names of the different destinations the jubilee flame was taken to and here is the one on Majitha:
koi rann na chakki peethe
Putt gabhru mulak vich maare
rovan akhiyan par bulh si seete
Piir mereya oye Jugni ayi aa
ehnan kehrhi jot jagaee aa
(The Jugni has reached Majitha,
where no woman grinds corn,
young men of the country were killed,
eyes wept but lips her sealed,
My Master the Jugni has come here,
what kind of flame is it?)
List of Jugni Songs
Jugni- Nouman Khalid featuring Bilal Saeed
Album Rabbi - By Rabbi Shregill
Asa Singh Mastana (Album with Surinder Kaur)
Oye Lucky Lucky Oye - Bollywood Movie
Tanu Weds Manu (Lehmber Hussainpuri) - Bollywood Movie
Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster - Bollywood Movie
Cocktail (Arif Lohar) - Bollywood Movie
Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns (Jazzy B) - Bollywood Movie
Canadian Punjabi Film Jugni, Back To Roots 2013 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NPfsFap5vA http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111204/spectrum/main1.htm
Who is Jugni? By Indu Vashist: http://kafila.org/2011/03/05/who-is-jugni/ Who Jugni is not - by Madan Gopal Singh: http://kafila.org/2011/03/13/madan-gopal-singh-on-the-jugni-debate/ Who Killed Jugni? By Shiraz Hassan: http://kafila.org/2011/05/07/who-killed-jugni-shiraz-hassan/