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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. Alam Lohar (Punjab, Pakistan) and singer and 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 by 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 1955. 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[citation needed] (notably in his album "21st century Jugni"[1] ). 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 twenty-six (26) million views and is most popular Punjabi video on YouTube.[2]


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, Joga and Ralla 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:[3]

koi rann na chakki peete

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?)

detailed article about Jugni is available from Balraj Singh Sidhu UK's blog: http://balraj-lekh.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/jugni.html?spref=fb

List of Jugni Songs[edit]

There are many variations of this song sung by many folk artist. Some of the more popular names include Alam Lohar, Kuldeep Manak, Gurmeet Bawa, Asa Singh Mastana, Surjeet Bindrakhia etc

Jugni - various versions (late) Alam Lohar (1950 - 1979).

Jugni- Nouman Khalid featuring Bilal Saeed

Baba Sehgal - Jugni Mast Kalandar

Album Rabbi - By Rabbi Shregill

Ramta Di Jugni - Hazara Singh Ramta

Asa Singh Mastana (Album with Surinder Kaur)

Oye Lucky Lucky Oye - Bollywood Movie

Tanu Weds Manu (Lehmber Hussainpuri) - Bollywood Movie

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster (BABBU MAAN SAAB) - Bollywood Movie

Alif Allah, Jugni (Coke Studio Season 3) -Arif Lohar and Meesha Shafi

Dr. Zeus and Kanika Kapoor - Jugni Ji Remix

Cocktail (Arif Lohar - Harshdeep Kaur) -(cocktail) Bollywood Movie

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns (Jazzy B) - Bollywood Movie

Highway - Bollywood Movie

Jugni - Alamgir (Pakistan pop) 1989

Jugni - Saleem Javed (Pakistan Pop) 1993 this version copied in bollywood movie "Aflatoon" 'poster lagwado bazar may' by lalit sen shewta shetty

Azaad Group UK - Jugni (1990)

Jugni - A R Rahman - Tamil Movie(Kaatru Veliyidai)


  1. ^ Md Rasooldeen (30 March 2013). "Singer Arif Lohar regales Pakistanis in Riyadh". Arab News. Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  2. ^ Rohail Hyatt (31 May 2010). "Alif Allah, Jugni, Arif Lohar & Meesha" – via YouTube. 
  3. ^ "The Sunday Tribune - Spectrum". www.tribuneindia.com.