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Alif Allah...jugni By Arif Lohar And Meesha


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It's interesting how Jugni has been Islamicised with the use of 'allah' and 'maula ali' etc. The original song was based on the Golden Jubilee (Jugni) of Queen Victoria in 1897. Arif Lohar added the Allah Bismillah bit in the 60s and East Punjab singers blinded followed this.

The popularity of Jugni has always touched the hearts of Panjabi mentality. She became a permanent part in the Panjabi folklore right since the ancient times. But who is Jugni? Nobody ever tried to find the veracity and because of it's simple Jugni-stanzas and simple versification, academic scholars never cared.

Jugni-poetry and Jugni-music took birth a century ago in 1906. Before that time, nowhere do we find any mention of her in history or the folk memory.

Jugni-poetry and Jugni-music was created by two folk singers and most probably its creation was accidental. These folk singers were Bishna and Manda. They were from Majha area and whatever I heard about them is as written below.

According to the late Pandit Diwan Singh, a resident of Khadur Sahib, Manda was a Muslim Mirasi. His village was Hasanpur, Thana Vairowal in Amritsar District. His real name was Mohammad but he was popular with his name Manda. Nobody knows anything about his family.

Bishna was also from Majha and was from a Jatt family. Nobody knew about his background untill 1969 when was asked from a freedom fighter Baba Makhan Singh of village Dhathi Jaimal Singh, he told that their stages were seen a couple of times in Patti and Kasur. Their favourite topics were Mirza and Tappe but they invented Jugni in 1906.

Baba Makhan Singh told that in 1906 when both of them were youths, the Brtish brought Jugni to India. When I asked that how British brought Jugni and what was Jugni, Baba Ji's answer was that English Queen's rule was over 50 years at that time. British ruled several parts of the Planet Earth and they thought that they should take a Torche to whole of their Empire. That flame of the Torche was itself Jugni which was taken from city to city in every country under British rule.

Baba Makhan Singh told that that flame was put in a big gold utensil and was taken to the every headquarter of the districts. Wherever Jugni was taken big celebration were observed by the Govt. In all those shows Bands, Police department, army, Zaildars, high officials and high society people visited. In these shows Manda and Bishna also held their stage.

When Baba Makhan Singh was all explaining this, then a nearby person who looked a bit more educated, interrupted that English didn't bring Jugni-flame. In fact it was Jubilee which illiterate Bishna and Manda pronounced as 'Jugni'. From that gentleman's interruption suddenly the mystery of the word 'Jugni' was found that the word 'Jugni' took birth from the English word Jubilee. It is clear that in 1906 the Jubilee flame was taken everywhere under the rule of Queen Victoria at her 50th anniversary on the throne.

This Jubilee flame was taken to every main city and at the district headquarters celebrations and festivities took place under the charges of DC. On these festivals, Bishna Jatt and Manda Mirasi held their stage where they sang their own composed stanzas of Jugni with the instruments of Dhad and King. Because of the simplicity and easy versification, these verses of Jugni became so popular very soon that many other people started versification of Jugni Verses.

Wherever we find a 'Jugni-Verse' there we must find some citys, villages, and places name. Wherever Jubilee-flame of the English rulers went Bishna and Manda also went to those places and put their small stage somewhere near the big festivals to perform. Their one original 'Jugni-verse' is like this:

Jugni jaa varhi Majithe 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

This 'Jugni's poetic style and versification later became a traditional method and started taking much more in its clasp but the beginning of 'Jugni' always remained in some city or place:

Jugni jaa varhi Ludhiane Uhnun pai ge Anne Kaane Maarn mukkian mangan Daane

Piir Mereya Oye! Jugni kehndi aa Jehrhi naam Ali da laindi aa

Manda and Bishna were already used to take part in festivals of Patti, Kasur, Ajnala and other towns of Majha region. Their Akhara or stage performance was famous. Manda used to play the instrument of Dhad and Bishna played the King. Singing performance was always together. They sometimes had composed stanzas at right while performing. If someone gave them a Rupee, they had composed a stanza linking the donor and his village's name.

'Jugni' Jubilee flame went from city to city and Bishna and Manda followed. Their popularity also rose to the great level by time. In those days while the movement for freedom didn't rose but in the mind of the masses anger was there. On many places famines spread and droughts came. Public was illiterate and the rulers were cruel. So it was sure that the agony and sufferings the public suffered came in their stanzas.

The stanzas of English rule's criticism and their tyranny were also composed. These new stanzas became so popular in public that now the rulers could not tolerate. Government started banning Bishna and Manda's shows. Then Bishna and Manda started performing at some distance from the Jubilee festivals but they gathered huge crowds there too and many time police lathi-charged those gatherings. In those of their shows, people started talking frankly against the English rule on India and their atrocities, had been coming back while singing 'Jugni' in revolutionary manner.

Sorrowful End

From city to city 'Jugni' alias Jubilee went, Bishna and Manda followed, huge crowds gathered. Anger against the English rule's oppression rose, public got more restless. In the same manner when Jubilee functions in the city of Gujaranwala became insipid against the Bishna and Manda's stage, irritated police arrested and tortured them both to death. It is said that police buried them both in the middle of night in some unknown cemetery.

Canes of police had make them mum but their 'Jugni' is still there in every city and will remain in the hearts of the people of this sub-continent forever. It comes in mind that something should be done in the memory of these two ignored and forgotten martyrs, some monument should be made.'Jugni' itself is a great memorial of these two worthy artists in the hearts of million but the monuments in the honour of Victorian jubilee are there in V.J. Hospital ( Victoria Jubilee ) in Amritsar and Victoria Terminal in Bombay which remind us the cruelty which faced generations and wiped the creators of Jugni.

We don't find any information about the family or siblings of this pair of singers. Neither of them got married in their life time. In 1906 both of them were around the age of 50. Punjab and Punjabis have yet to thank these two greats, next year at the time of century we have a chance to do something important in their memory.

Edited by tonyhp32
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good find tony. the mystery is revealed, unless dalsingh comes up with something witty to debase it all. im sure he'll give it a good try, now that youve stuck your oar in. :o

anyway Arif, is a good singer, and the first song of his i heard was Ik Phul. really good song. He's well fat. And Phat.

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Okay, I read that piece before and do find the notion of 'jugni' being a pendu style corruption of the word 'Jubilee' wryly amusing. Maybe it was, I have no idea. It makes sense in the context of some wondering entity, if it is based on the travels of some olympic style torch.

In any case Tony, you should have also clearly identified the author of the piece you posted. Unless I'm wrong, it is none other than Khushwant Singh?

good find tony. the mystery is revealed, unless dalsingh comes up with something witty to debase it all. im sure he'll give it a good try, now that youve stuck your oar in.

Nah, I only stick the boot into any 'bwah bwah' penducentric and bumlicking stuff. Nowt else.

Edited by dalsingh101
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When I first encountered jugni, she was chewing 'chingum' on Soho Road, Birmingham like this:

Jugni aa gaye Birmingham, khundee Soho Road te chingum.

Lyrics I've never forgotten, despite not having heard the tune for decades. I think it was by Apna Sangeet?

If the original post is accurate, jugni has deviated a long way from her political background.

Here is the article I mentioned by the notorious Khushwant:


Edited by dalsingh101
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