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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 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borgeet — Please support Wikipedia.
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91 news items

Assam Tribune

Assam Tribune
Wed, 16 Sep 2015 11:33:17 -0700

She visited a naamghar on the way, where the tithi of Srimanta Sankardev Tithi was being observed. She sang a Borgeet on the occasion. The people of the locality also made queues outside her residents to congratulate and felicitate her with gamocha and ...

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 ...

Assam Tribune

Assam Tribune
Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:33:45 -0700

BISWANATH CHARIALI, July 23 - Nahid Afrin, a Borgeet student of Nrityanjali Kala Niketan, here has brought glory to the State by entering the Top Nine in the ongoing reality show programme 'Indian Idol Junior' telecast by Sony TV. The elder daughter of ...
Assam Tribune
Wed, 11 Mar 2015 12:07:30 -0700

Borgeet is a spiritual and unique creation of the Vaishnavite movement ushered in by Srimanta Sankardev and Madhabdev. Both brought about an unprecedented change in the cultural and social life of medieval Assam. The translations have been done by ...
Assam Tribune
Tue, 01 Sep 2015 11:11:15 -0700

A birthday cake was cut by three senior inmates in presence of distinguished ladies like Mridula Saharia, Suniti Sonowal and Eli Ahmed. Tarali Sarma and Arundhati Choudhury presented Borgeet and Goalparia Geet, while D Rai Choudhury played the violin.
Assam Tribune
Mon, 24 Aug 2015 11:45:00 -0700

The meeting, attended by about 1000 people, began in a spiritual manner with the rendering of a 'borgeet' by Kabita Kumari Bordeka, followed by paying of floral tributes to 'Singhapurush' RG Baruah, the founder of the newspaper group, Mojamil Haque, ...

Assam Tribune

Assam Tribune
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 11:22:30 -0700

“His khol and borgeet presentations on the one hand and a deep-rooted love for folk music on the other, coupled with the rebellious characteristics of his voice, made him more versatile, transcending all boundaries,” said Dr Choudhury, adding that it ...

Assam Tribune

Assam Tribune
Fri, 10 Jul 2015 11:45:00 -0700

People gather to file application forms at a NRC centre near Zoo-Narengi Tiniali where only 20 per cent of the over 12,000 households under the centre have filed their NRC application forms till Friday. – AT photo. GUWAHATI, July 10 - The All Assam ...

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