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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 after Alam Lohar the singer and humorist Asa Singh Mastana (Punjab, India) is also 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.
Alam Lohar started this genre of singing 'Jugni' during his early performances around pre-partition (1947), he sang Jugni throughout his early years of singing which was in the 1930s when he was a child star (started singing at a very young age) and many of his songs were not recorded at that time due to limited recording facilities within British India (pre-partition). His LP record titled 'Jugni' was recorded later on in his career and became a gold disc LP in 1965. Alam Lohar has also recorded multiple variations of Jugni and some of this is still available to hear on many LP records and visible on black and white TV recordings even available on YouTube to view. Other singers throughout the world have been greatly influenced by the Jugni recordings that Alam Lohar including his son Arif Lohar.
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 invokes the name of God (often using the word "Saeen", the vernacular word for Lord). A kernel of truth is an essential and integral part of every Jugni composition and there is a theory that Alam Lohar introduced this term from reading Baba Bulleh Shahs (Kasoor, Pakistan) writing, used in a spiritual Sufi theme context.
Noting, Jugni is also an old Muslim worship tool, majorly named as TASBIH, a series of 21, 33, 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. Afterwards 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. 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 twenty-six (45) million views and is most popular Punjabi video on YouTube. Jugni is folk song of Panjabi.The word "Jugni" is corrupt form of English word "jubilee".In1887 the Queen Victoria celebrated the golden jubilee of her Raj(empire). The Queen was on throne of United Kingdom of Britain for last 50 years A jubilee flame was taken all over the British empire.A part of this flame was also taken to the various Towns and cities of India.Where ever the flame was taken,a public meeting was held at that place, which was addressed by the British officers, who praises the British empire.
On the side lines of these meetings, Bishna and Manda also arranged their own congregation.Not much is known about Jaimal and Fatta.But it is said that they were folk singers belonging to a village near Amritsar.Jaimal was Jat by cast and Fatta was Muslims Mirasi.Though they were illiterate,but they can compose songs verbally.Illiterate Bishna and Manda corrupted the word "jubilee" to Jugni.They are the creators of Jugni.In the beginning few people attend these congregations. But with the passage of time, their congregations gained more popularity due their patriotism.
More and more people started attending these congregations and Bishna and Manda become more popular among people.Whereas the Popularity of the public meetings addressed by British officers went down and few people attend these meetings.
Due to the Popularity of the congregations of Jaimal and Fatta, the police started harassing and torturing them.Though the police eliminated Bishna and Manda but their Jugni become immortal.
List of Jugni Songs
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 (1930's - 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)
- Canadian Punjabi Film Jugni, Back To Roots 2013
- Who is Jugni? By Indu Vashist
- Who Jugni is not - by Madan Gopal Singh
- Who Killed Jugni? By Shiraz Hassan