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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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85 news items

Assam Tribune
Mon, 16 Nov 2015 10:56:15 -0800

On November 14, a Borgeet competition was organised in the Srimanta Sankardev Bhawan at the Qutub Institutional area of the city where participants from various age-groups took part. On November 15, a colourful cultural programme was organised at the ...
Assam Tribune
Mon, 09 Nov 2015 10:45:00 -0800

The cultural programme held on the occasion started with Borgeet presentation by Geetanjali Kakoti. This was followed by violin recital. The vote of thanks was offered by Krishna Sharma, while the programme was anchored by Mitali Chakravorty and ...
Assam Tribune
Tue, 17 Nov 2015 10:00:00 -0800

On November 29, at 10 am kirtan paath, at 1 pm ayoti naam, at 2 pm borgeet prasanga, and at 6 pm banti prajjalan will be held while at 7 pm Bulu Boro will inaugurate a superstar competition. On November 30, Bhagawat paath will be held at 10 am, at 1 pm ...

Assam Times

Assam Times
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 01:48:45 -0700

From Borgeet to Negera Naam, Bihu to Arabian Folk Dance, Bharat Natyam to Shatriya Dance, Mizo Bamboo Dance to Yakshagana (Kannada folk dance), Assamese songs to Rock Music, Modern Dance to DJ Dandiya everything were included in the cultural ...

Assam Tribune

Assam Tribune
Sun, 08 Nov 2015 11:07:30 -0800

Earlier, the meeting began with a mangalacharan recited by Aditi Barua, while Arifa Begum performed a borgeet. The chief guest, Dr Alak Kumar Buragohain then lit a traditional lamp and paid floral tribute to Singhapurush Radha Govinda Baruah, the ...

thenortheasttoday.com (press release)

thenortheasttoday.com (press release)
Wed, 14 Oct 2015 07:37:30 -0700

Those visiting the park will not only be able to see these collections but also taste juices of local fruits, pithas (local cakes) and enjoy the Borgeet and Xattriya dance performances as well,” KMSS leader Kamal Kumar Medhi added. The KMSS has been ...

Assam Times

Assam Times
Sun, 11 Oct 2015 21:07:30 -0700

These include mouth watering Kumol chawol, cured, pastry much to the delight of the tourists listening the traditional Assamese bihu songs, borgeet, jikir et al. “We do not stick to agitation only. It is not our way of life. Apart from our voice of ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Thu, 12 Mar 2015 03:52:30 -0700

Datta has also made short films, a recent one being Through Trust and Fear, a 20-minute film on the philosophy of life of Nirupama Bargohain, an Assamese writer. Earlier his films By Lane 2 and Borgeet have been appreciated widely. Here are excerpts ...

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