Jugni, Bulleh Shah, Rabbi and Junoon

Posted on August 4, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Culture & Heritage, Music, People, Poetry
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Adil Najam

I am breaking a lot of my own rules with this post.

First, part of this could easily have been a comment on an earlier post; but I thought it deserved its own space. Second, part of this is not exactly about Pakistan; but it is very relevant to Pakistan. Third, I am putting in three video clips with this, which is excessive, but hopefully justified in this case.

Let me first say something about the two less important videos, which are really by way of an update to the earlier ATP post on Bulleh Shah, Rabbi Shergill and Junoon.

Now, for the real inspiration for this post. The third video. This is also by Rabbi Shergill and is based on the traditional Punjabi poetry form of the Jugni. I am a fan of teh ‘Jugni’ genre and I that is how I got to this.

The lyrics are mesmerizing. He has ‘Jugni’ as a young modern Indian girl who goes out to ‘discover’ her country (India). And she ‘visits’ Kashmir, Punjab, Mumbai and Delhi and reports on the travails of existence in each. It is a ballad about modern India, and a very good one. But it could as easily have been a ballad about challenges of existence anywhere in South Asia, including Pakistan, and that is why I am posting it on ATP.

Click on arrow at center, or view it directly here:

Rabbi Shergill – Jugni

Two sections are of particular relevance. First, when she gets to Kashmir, he says:

Jugni jaa waRRi Kashmir
jithay roz marraN das vee
sooni-yan behnan day sohnay veer
oo roo roo puchan,
kiya jhagRa kai-yoN mukna vey
jadouN Jehlum paani sukhna

[Jugni walked into Kashmir
where everyten or twenty die
beautiful sister’s wonderful brothers
and they cry out to ask
when is this conflict going to end
when the waters of Jehlum run dry]

The second selection that is relevant to ATP is the narration when Jugni gets into the Punjab (especially to all us par desi-Pakistanis):

Jugni jaa waRi Punjab
jithay parhay likhay be-kaar
Waich zameenaN jaa-one baaar
uthay maaRaN jhaRRo
Uthay goori laiN we-aaa
pichay taBBar takan rah

[Jugni walked into the Punjab
where the educated stand unemployed
they sell their land to go abroad
and there they end up sweeping floors
they end up marrying a foreigner
while their families keep hoping for their return]

These, of course, are very rough translations and do not convey the intensity of the song, but hopefully they help those who do not speak the language. Anyhow, I hope you find the song as memorable as I do.

Meanwhile, here is the Junoon song Bulleyaa, that I promised. Click on arrow at center, or view it directly here:

Junoon – Bulleya

And here is the longer version of Rabbi’s Ki Janaan Mein Koun. Click on arrow at center, or view it directly here:

Bulla Ki Jaana Main Kaun

16 responses to “Jugni, Bulleh Shah, Rabbi and Junoon”

  1. Naveed says:

    Sabizak, no offence taken….if there is any blog on popular pak music, you will surely find me babbling about it…

  2. sabizak says:

    Heh, good answer Mr. Naveed and my implication was in no way to make you feel old and tottering, I myself belong to the oldie generation and dont have any idea how old others posting here must be. It was just a guess since i think Adil must be somewhere the age of my eldest brother who is around eight years older than I am. No offense taken, i hope.

  3. Naveed says:

    Adil, on the contrary…it is your blog that is reminding me of things that I have to catch up on…Pathanay Khan being on top of the list….let me come-up with something for you….

    And I lied. There are more than 3 tracks that I like in the album. Tere Bin, Totia Manmotia :), Heer, Geet Hijar da, Jugni & Bulla

    Roshan – Thanks. Fasi Zaka interviewed Areeb in this bedroom & the room said a lot about his character…absence of any décor & siting arrangement on the floor…he did not look comfortable talking to Fasi but then again Fasi being a good interviwer asked him about the relevance of sufi music and that got the discussion started & the guy relazed a little….one truly does have to be a Sufi to sing and mean the lyrics like Areeb does…the impromptu lines that he sang for Fasi has all the signs that this guys is going to be a force to be reckoned with…i just hope he does not sell out

    Sabizak – Thanks for correcting me. It is indeed Fasi. …What I like about “On the Fringe” is that even though curse words are censored, you enjoy the conversation which at times is too daring for television in Pakistan….If Fasi does not like the way the interview is going you could see him corner the person being interviewed….

    You are absolutely correct that there has been a FM radio revolution but what i meant about Radio was about our own experiences & choices and we did not have many…we listened to AM Radio and on TV, airtime reserved for music was so little that only the top quality artists made it…for us, Tom & Jerry was on only for 5-minutes before the evening news. Today there is a channel that has cartoons on 24×7…we have more than 5 music channels…all this results in attention deficit, poor reading skills and ordinary speech laced with words borrowed from multiple languages….this is not unique to Pakistan…bridging of the digital divide & the onslaught of media has led to local cultures dying out…the younger generation yearning for the cool the sleek and our folk singers do not fit the bill as Roshan pointed out

    FM channels is proliferated with songs that have made it commercially thanks to music videos. I am not aware of any local pop music act that has not made a video but has got huge amount of airtime on…..FM is doing fantastically and will evolve into a potent force both for public awareness and entertainment

    “Relative Oldiesâ€

  4. Owais Mughal says:

    I listened to Rabbi’s ‘bulha ki janaaN’ first when it was first posted here. Today when I heard Ali Azmat’s version, I found it so out of tune that I didn’t even finish it. May be it grows on you after few times but so far I think Rabbi’s version is much better. Feels like he is singing from the heart.

  5. sabizak says:

    And i rather disagree with Mr. Naveed on the radio point. Radio is doing raging well in Pakistan at the moment with more and more channels jumping into the fray and many people get their doze of music from radios in their cars on channels like City FM89, Radio1, 91, FM100, 101 and the list goes on. Video did not necessarily kill the radio star.

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