In 1906, the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign, a Jubilee flame was taken across the British Empire to celebrate her rule. The flame, carried in a large gold container, was taken to the every district headquarters. As the flame arrived, the district government was supposed to greet it with pomp and ceremony. When the flame reached Punjab, there was nascent freedom struggle anger against the Empire brewing. Bishna and Manda followed the flame from district to district, performing their own poetry and folk music parallel to the pomp of the colonial government. Their versions contained references to Jugni, the rebellious woman. Bishna and Manda had misheard the word ‘Jubilee’ for Jugni and started writing verses that channelled the anger of the region against the British as symbolised by the Jubilee flame. As they travelled behind the flame, their popularity grew; people from all around came to attend their performances. Jugni became a metaphor for the growing unrest against the British.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Quite a few of you must have heard the Coke Studio song Jugni. Not my favourite Coke Studio song (I might be biased though--I don't know any Punjabi and I tend not to like songs I can't understand) but if Google is any indicator, it's the show's most popular song. But just what is the symbolism of Jugni and why it's such a popular trope in Punjabi music (it's made quite a few Bollywood appearances as well) is explained by this fascinating post on Kafila.