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Bijaya Bora Group

By December 4, 2023January 27th, 2024Assam, Documentations

Borgeet – A Melodic Journey through Assam’s Spiritual Musical Heritage”


With the sun setting down, we saw the arrival of another folk form that we were to shoot in Guwahati. This group particularly performed Borgeet, a devotional folk form of Assam.

Presented by Bijaya Bora and the group, the group has been performing Borgeet form of music for years now.

Borgeet is an enchanting form of devotional music that holds a significant place in the cultural tapestry of Assam. Rooted in ancient traditions, Borgeet has been an integral part of Assamese religious and cultural practices for centuries. This unique musical genre blends soul-stirring melodies with profound spiritual themes, compelling listeners with its allure.

The origins of Borgeet can be traced back to the 15th century when the great Assamese saint, social reformer, and poet Srimanta Sankardev founded the neo-Vaishnavite movement known as Ekasarana Dharma. It was during this period that Borgeet emerged as a form of devotional expression, aiming to disseminate spiritual teachings through music. Sankardev and his disciple, Madhavdev, played instrumental roles in shaping and popularizing Borgeet, infusing it with elements of devotion, righteousness, and social harmony. The language used by them for all their Borgeets is believed to be Brajavali, which can be described as an amalgamation of Maithili and Assamese, resulting in an artificial linguistic blend.

Talking about its musical structure, Borgeets draw their musical inspiration from ragas, as explicitly stated, while raginis, the female counterparts of ragas, are notably absent in their compositions. The presence of rhythm (tala) in Borgeets, however, is not specified, and these devotional songs can be performed without adhering to a particular rhythmic structure.

Borgeet compositions primarily revolve around the praise and adoration of Lord Krishna and other deities of the Vaishnavite tradition. The lyrics depict various aspects of Krishna’s life, including his childhood antics, divine love, and his divine incarnations. Alongside devotional themes, Borgeet also encompasses narratives from great Indian epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata, incorporating moral lessons and spiritual teachings into its lyrical foundation.

Bijaya Bora’s group performed two eccentric songs from the collection of age-old Borgeet composed by Srimath Shankardev.

Both of their songs depict Sri Shankardev, a 16th-century scholar and saint, singing to the lord about earthly problems.

Both the songs eloquently explore the intricacies of human nature, delving into the elemental traits of Kam (lust), Krodh (anger), Madh (intoxication), Lobh (greed), Moh (attachment), and Ahankar (false pride). These traits, representing worldly desires, often lead individuals astray, distancing them from their spiritual connection with the divine.

Furthermore, the song poignantly portrays the narrator’s plea to the Almighty, beseeching for guidance and a path to transcend the entrapment of these materialistic desires. It reflects the universal struggle faced by humans in their earthly existence, where they find themselves entangled in the pursuit of fleeting pleasures and distractions. The yearning to break free from these shackles and attain a higher spiritual realm resonates deeply within the lyrics, expressing a heartfelt longing for enlightenment and liberation.

Bijaya Bora’s group performed these two songs by Srimanth Shankardev, which, through their music and melody, teach all listeners to reflect and understand the true essence of being born as a human. They teach us the qualities of being connected to the almighty and giving up excess materialistic desires.

With Bijaya Bora on vocals, the group was accompanied by fellow musicians Rajkumar Rabidas, Numal Rabidas, Jogen Basumatary, Taranga Kashyap, Lekha Rani Bora, Chandamita Borah in their Borgeet showcase.

All of these artists, humble and down to earth, performed and brought forth their culture before us and harmoniously held their ground while performing.

Borgeet is a form that requires major vocal emphasis, as the singers really need to get the complexities strong. The Borgeet group of Bijaya Bora gracefully presented themselves from start to finish.

Meghal Sharma (Research Fellow)

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