Sunday, 9 December 2012


Arif Lohar and Kanika Kapoor
The white wash of our Jugni Ji
How the South Asian middle class and diaspora are destroying our culture and ethics to the benefit of white imperialism

Sukant Chandan
Sons of Malcolm
09 Dec 2012

Arif Lohar is a well known and highly celebrated Punjabi folk singer from Pakistani West Punjab who sings many a Sufi inspired Punjabi folk song. Lohar is a massive celebrity, who plays to tens of thousands regularly including playing to over a million at the Asian Games in China in 2004 and interestingly is the only South Asian singer to have performed in Socialist Korea to its head of state and has played across the 'west' to packed venues.

Sufi music from Punjab and neighbouring regions such as Sindh where the pre-eminent living South Asian Sufi singer Abida Parveen is from, is a very rich and beautiful genre and style of music that encapsulates the selfless love and devotion to the creator and often manifests in turns of phrase which exposes the corruption of humans and especially elites as compared to the tolerance, devotion to truth and justice and expounded by the Most High.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (RIP) popularised Punjab's Sufi music to the world and is loved by South Asians of all countries, and artists like Abida Parveen and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan truly represent the selfless and ego-less devotion to truth and justice which are the best part of Islamic, Sikh, Hindu and non-religious traditions of our peoples.

Arif Lohar's Jugni Ji is a Punjabi Sufi that espouses the typical themes of these songs, reflections on love and adoration with the Jugni in the framework of truth and justice inspired from God. The Jugni is literally a beautiful glow worm, but what has come to mean an adorable, innocent and beautiful young woman.

I often listen to bbc Asian network to see how the brit white power structure is manipulating the South Asian community and how South Asians are allowing themselves to be manipulated. It was on this radio station that I first heard the 'remix' of Jugni Ji which is the second video below, and the original song by Arif Lohar is the first video on this post. The remix by Zeus is not too bad, the main style and nature of the original song has some constancy with the remix, the rapping was a bit weak and boring, but it wasnt until I saw the video for the remix that I was taken aback as to what has been done to Jugni Ji.

The video for the remix features Kanika Kapoor, who I know little about other than she seems to be in the music industry as a singer and is involved in the fashion world. The video features a sports car, a couple of white european 'video girls' who move around to the music quite badly, a white guy who represents white people well as he cant dance at all, and a couple of South Asian brothers who do not dance well at all, finally rapper Shortie spits some random lyrics that has at times a tenous connection to the songs actual lyrics and other times is just nonsense chat.

What has any of this to do with Jugni Ji? Absolutely nothing. Actually all these things are a complete insult to what the song is all about, is a total disrespect to the specific musical tradition and trounces all over the ethics, morality and beauty of the culture and spirituality and persons that have inspired the music.

So why is this utter decadent and embarrassing backwardness added into the 'remix'? Where does it come from and what is it supposed to mean?

It is a total white wash of Jugni Ji, a dynamic and process of white washing which is not at all isolated to this example, but is a rolling phenomenon right across South Asian ethics, morality, language, dance, dress and music.

I call it a white wash because it is the internalisation by South Asian people of the inferiority complex borne out of european white imperialist pressure and indoctrination. Instead of taking the emerging power that we have as South Asians and the rise of India especially in a slowly developing multi polar world, instead of using our culture to defend our positive ethics, shared by all non-white people of being pro-family, pro-elderly and ancestors, pro-children, pro-community, patriotic etc, we seem to be aping in the most pathetic way the worst of white-man culture: bringing a sports car into a Sufi inspired song? Bringing in badly dancing white people and South Asian people aping white culture into a Punjabi folk song?

There is a worrying trend by which the burgeoning South Asian middle class seems happy to sell itself and destroy its own language, dress, ethics to the 'white man'. The white imperialist power structure is well aware of the weak minded nature of South Asian middle classes who are the main consumers and as such cash cows in this entertainment industry and are happy to encourage the destruction of our own national and regional loyalty to our masses of poor for a cheap buck. This wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that South Asian languages and culture, as well as the languages and culture of the peoples of the GlobalSouth is subjected to a escalating offensive of cultural genocide by the white imperialists.

I am not against 'fusion' in music as a rule, but I am not for fusion when the price to pay for South Asian people and culture and that generally of the peoples and cultures of the GlobalSouth is rolling over to white cultural genocide against our dress, music, language and related to this is a direct attack on our ancestors and everything they have gained for us through their sacrifices.

In the absence of a progressive critique and defence of ourselves, the right-wing and opportunistic religious forces bordering on the fascist or actual fascist forces to posture as the defenders of our culture in the absence of any progressive and universalist defence of ourselves as South Asian people, who despite our religious and other differences actually are one close family in terms of our languages, ethics, and all those small yet profound body language and ways of being that is common to us all from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka.

I am not advocating a narrow cultural nationalism which replaces the struggle to change the institutions of white oppression for the privilege of a few elites to amass power and wealth on the backs of our poor masses. I am advocating an analytical and struggle framework that marries and connects the cultural defence of ourselves and links this as part of the wider struggle for our poor farmers and workers and struggling city dwellers to reject the conceited upper and middle classes who seem happier to live in the cocooned and schizophrenic life of on the one hand knowing very well that the white man or the gorai will never truly respect strong, independent and united South Asian nations, and on the other hand seem to want to ape the worst of white man culture in the current non-stop promotion of decadent clubs as the place to have a good time. As long as these things are not grappled with, debated thoroughly and explored, and effective means to develop our peoples, then the social, moral and political fall out will be that much greater. No one in the world can stop hundreds of millions of destitute and poor Indians, Pakistani and other South Asian people from finally having enough, recognising no one but themselves will fight for their rights and exact justice against those social forces holding them back.

The role of the South Asian communities or Diaspora in the west is critical to this for political and eocnomic reasons. Political because we are potentially the biggest threat to the white power structure in the west, because if the Diaposra of the three continents unite in the 'west', then the white supremacy/racism in the west is over and the western domination of the world is endangered. Economic because it is the Diaspora who have the most expendable cash to spend on entertainment etc, and as such the aping-culture in our music industry thinks that this is what our youth and peoples want to buy.

The white man realises the importance of the Diaspora, as we can see with bbc Asian network the gorai are employing strategies to keep us in our places and perpetuate inferiority complexes. The white power structure knows what is going on and makes effective and powerful moves in his own interests, on the other hand our peoples seem to wallow in this state of inferiority without hardly a mention or discussion of these problematics. Isnt it time we stopped that which profoundly insults our Jugni Ji and instead raise the beauty of it and defend it against all attacks?


Madhu Rao said...

Original is Original!! Rest all are nothing but fakes and there is nothing worth in fakes!!

soulsearcher said...

I came across this post after i mistakenly stumbled upon the Dr Zeus/Kanika Kapoor version of Jugni Ji, a song I'm very fond of, and I was trying to establish which version came first. Personally, I like both the original by Arif Lohar and the 'modern' one. The latter speaks to a different generation and a different set of people, and I don't see anything wrong with a modern interpretation of a beautiful song. They've stuck pretty close to the original song too in terms of melody and rendition too. Had they changed the essence of the song, that would've been disrespectful. As for the video, who cares, really.
Much ado about nothing, sirree. Live and let live.

Adnan Hussain said...

let Sufi songs be songs remain Sufi
Coming from an 19 year old proud of his traditions