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Borgeets (Assamese: বৰগীত, songs celestial) are a collection of lyrical songs that are set to specific ragas but not necessarily to any tala. These songs, composed by Srimanta Sankardeva and Madhavdeva in the 15th-16th centuries, are used to begin prayer services in monasteries associated with the Ekasarana Dharma; and they also belong to the repertoire of Music of Assam outside the religious context. They are a lyrical strain that express the religious sentiments of the poets reacting to different situations,[1] and differ from other lyrics associated with the Ekasarana Dharma.[2] Similar songs composed by others are not generally considered borgeets.

The first Borgeet was composed by Srimanta Sankardeva during his first pilgrimage at Badrikashram in c1488, which is contemporaneous to the birth of Dhrupad in the court of Man Singh Tomar (1486-1518) of Gwalior.[3]


The borgeets are written in the pada form of verse. The first pada, marked as dhrung,[4] works as a refrain and is repeated over the course of singing of the succeeding verses.[5] In the last couplet, the name of the poet is generally mentioned. The structure of borgeets is said to model the songs of 8-10th century Charyapada.[6]

The first borgeet, mana meri rama-caranahi lagu, was composed by the Sankardeva at Badrikashrama during his first pilgrimage. The language he used for all his borgeets is Brajavali, an artificial Maithili-Assamese mix; though Madhavdeva used Brajavali very sparingly.[7] Brajabuli, with its preponderance of vowels and alliterative expressions, as considered ideal for lyrical compositions, and Sankardeva used it for Borgeets and Ankiya Naats.[8] Sankardeva composed about two hundred and forty borgeets, but a fire destroyed them all and only about thirty four of them could be retrieved from memory. Sankardeva, much saddened by this loss, gave up writing borgeets and asked Madhavdeva to write them instead.

Madhavdeva composed more than two hundred borgeets, which focus mainly on the child-Krishna.[9]


Borgeet: Alu moi ki kohobu dukho
Raga: Bhatiyali
Composer: Madhavdeva
Artist: Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande

The music of borgeets are based on ragas, which are clearly mentioned; and raginis, the female counterparts of ragas, are emphatically not used.[10] The rhythm (tala), on the other hand, are not mentioned; and borgeets need not be set to rhythm. Nevertheless, by convention tala is used when a borgeet is performed for an audience, or in a congregation, and in general specific ragas are associated with specific talas (e.g, Ashowari-raga with yati-maan; Kalyana-raga with khar-maan, etc.).[11] The lightness that is associated with the khyal type of Indian classical music is absent, instead the music is closer to the Dhrupad style. The singing of a borgeet is preceded by raga diya or raga tana, the local term for alap, but unlike the syllables used in Khyal or Dhrupad, words like Rama, Hari, Govinda, etc. are used.[12] Furthermore, raga diya is fixed as opposed to alap which is improvised.

Contemporary uses[edit]

The strict rules that are associated with the Borgeets, and still practiced in the Sattras, are eschewed in popular renderings. Borgeets were used by Bhupen Hazarika,[13] in movies, and popular singers like Zubeen Garg have released their renderings.[14]


Borgeets have recently been translated into Hindi by Devi Prasad Bagrodia.[15]


  1. ^ (Neog 1980, p. 178)
  2. ^ The other forms lyrics are the bhatima (laudatory odes), kirtan- and naam-ghoxa (lyrics for congregational singing), ankiya geet (lyrics set to beats and associated with the Ankiya Naat), etc.
  3. ^ (Sanyal 2004, pp. 45–46)
  4. ^ Dhrung is likely an abbreviation of Dhruva, the dhatu named in the Prabandha musical tradition (Mahanta 2008, p. 52)
  5. ^ (Neog 1980, p. 278)
  6. ^ (Barua 1953, p. 100)
  7. ^ "Madhavdev did not use Brajabuli the way Sankardev did. If we dropped a few words, the language of most of Madhavdev's Borgeets reduce to old Assamese" (Mahanta 2008, p. 15).
  8. ^ (Barua 1953, pp. 98–100)
  9. ^ (Sarma 1976, p. 60)
  10. ^ (Neog 1980, p. 286)
  11. ^ (Neog 1980, p. 278)
  12. ^ (Neog 1980, p. 278)
  13. ^ Tejore Kamalapoti, by Madhavdeva, sung by Bhupen Hazarika (1955) Piyoli Phukan
  14. ^ Pawe Pori Hori, by Shankardeva, sung by Zubeen Garg.
  15. ^ http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=may2114/state05


  • Barua, B K (1953), "Sankaradeva: His Poetical Works", in Kakati, Banikanta, Aspects of Early Assamese Literature, Gauhati: Gauhati University 
  • Das-Gogoi, Hiranmayee (December 6, 2011). "Dhrupadi Elements of Borgeet". Society for Srimanta Sankaradeva. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  • Mahanta, Bapchandra (2008). Borgeet (in Assamese) (2nd ed.). Guwahati: Students' Stores. 
  • Neog, Maheswar (1980), Early history of the Vaisnava faith and movement in Assam, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 
  • Sanyal, Ritwik; Widdness, Richard (2004). Dhrupad: Tradition and Performance in Indian Music. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. 
  • Sarma, Satyendra Nath (1976), Assamese Literature, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 

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71 news items

Assam Tribune
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 10:22:30 -0800

... Hemen Gogoi delivered the objectives of the year-long programme. Alumni Brajen Sharma Baruah, retired Principal of Lakhimpur Commerce College delivered the keynote address. Cultural functions like chorus presentation, Borgeet and Satriya dance ...
Times of India
Thu, 08 Jan 2015 16:35:14 -0800

The floater will be accompanied by the traditional Borgeet music in the background with one of the hymns composed by Madhabdeb, Sankaradeva's disciple. The tableau is looking to better last year's third place finish. Bhupen Hazarika was depicted ...
Assam Tribune
Sat, 27 Dec 2014 10:11:15 -0800

The day long programme started with a Borgeet by Tarali Sharma followed by the felicitation of the guests and lighting of lamps. The guests comprised of Sir William Mark Tully, former bureau chief, BBC; Dr Puspesh Pant, educationist; Namita Gokhle ...

Calcutta Telegraph

Calcutta Telegraph
Mon, 13 Oct 2014 15:12:05 -0700

After his second composition, this time the Bollywood hit Raat baki hain..., he went full steam. “Need some noise for NorthEast United, let the players feel how good the stadium is,” he shouted to the cheers in the background. A jhumur, tukari, borgeet ...
Fri, 26 Dec 2014 11:12:40 -0800

When Rana leaves home for the railway station, the background song is a borgeet, a raga-based 16th century, traditional Assamese devotional song. It is a morning borgeet: suggesting a new beginning, and an entire village waking up for the day. As this ...

Indian Weekender

Indian Weekender
Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:42:42 -0700

It will be a 60-minute performance approximately, which will begin with Krishna Vandana, Chali Nritya, Borgeet, Khol Nritya, Jhumura Nritta and Mela Nach, and Dashavatar. There will be a mixed bag of entertainment and an eclectic mix of dishes to ...

Assam Tribune

Assam Tribune
Thu, 27 Nov 2014 10:11:15 -0800

Ranjan Bezbaruah recited 'Totay' and also the Sanskrit translation of a Borgeet in the event. The promo-version of a CD by him was also released in the event. The devotees of Sankardev Namghar, Kokrajhar, performed naam-kirtan. The local devotees of ...

Daily News & Analysis

Daily News & Analysis
Thu, 15 May 2014 18:13:09 -0700

In the evening, reputed Marathi singer Ashwini Bhide Deshpande and Bhajan Samarat Anup Jalota would perform Borgeet. A dance drama, Chordhora Jhumura, will be performed by Assamese actresses like Barasharani Bishaya, Tanvi Sarma, Madhurima ...

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