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The folk songs sung in Assam with special reference to the folksongs exclusively sung by Assamese women

Author: 
Nabamita Das, M. S.
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

Assamese folksongs have been originated from the Tribal culture of Assam and it collectively expresses the inherent traditional and cultural dimensions of Assam. The folksongs of Assam may be devided into various categories such as Songs of religious and devotional content like Sādāsivār Nāām, Dûrgāā Gôsāānir Nāām, Lākshmi Devir Nāām, Ãāi Nāām, Dèhbichāārār Gēēt, Ãājān Fākirār Gēēt etc, Songs of ceremonies and festivals like Õjāā-pāāli, Mādān–Kāām Pujā, Kāti pujā, Jorā Nāām, Khichāā Gēēt, Bihu songs and the like, Songs of love and yearning like Bhāwāiyāā and Chātkāā, Môishāli and Māût songs, Bārāmāhi songs, Lullaby and nursery songs like Nisukāni Gēēt and Dhāāināām, Songs of jest and humour song like Tāāmul Chôrār Gēēt, Chāāh-purāānar Gēēt etc, Ballad and other narrative songs like Bārphûkānār Gēēt, Mānirām Dèwānār Gēēt, Hārādāttā-Birādāttār Gēēt, Jānāābhārur gēēt, Kāmālkuwārir gēēt, Tezimolār Gēēt and the like, These are the different types of folksongs sung in Assam. But the folksongs sung exclusively by women are- Nisukāni Gēēt, Hûdûmpûjār Gēēt, Aulāā Pujā, Suwāguritolā Gēēt, Biyāānāām, Jengbihu, Nisukāni gēēt , Dhāaināām, Ãāināām, Apesārāā sābāhār Nāām, Goalpariyāā Lokgēēt etc. Lullaby in Assamese folklore is known as Nisûkāni Gēēt and the nursery rhymes are known as Dhāaināām. Such kinds of songs are usually fanciful composition containing simple, direct statement made with tenderness and delicacy. Mothers, young girls and women sing such kinds of songs to please the children. Biyāānāām means marriage songs. An Assamese marriage is a musical marriage. At every stage of celebration, from the early negotiation to the end, women sing appropriate songs. The delicacy and refinement of woman’s heart come out in caressing tunes when the leader of the chorus has to describe the beauty and the grace of the bride and other ceremonies related with the marriage. Mother small-pox is very much feared by Assamese women and therefore, flattered with all sorts of sweet names. She is called Sitôlāā, the cool one, the Ãāî or mother. Whenever a child catches measles or any other variety of rashes classed under small-pox, it is said to have “flowers” on it as Aāi is also said to have appeared on it. Aināām or prayer to prohibit Ãāi is women’s affair. The women gather together and sing to the tunes of claps. The Aināām reveal the same quality of tenderness and refinement as the Biyānāām. The Assamese mothers believe that if their children survive and attack of measles or small pox, it will have extra luck and they sing to please Aināām Goddess Sitôlāā.Children particularly young girls, sometimes are afflicted by ailment that are believed by simple village women to be caused by certain fairy-like female spirits who have been offended and who need to be propitiated through special rituals towards the affliction. Special songs addressed to the spirits are sung and known as Apesārā Nāām or Apesāri Nāām. Women also sometimes observe ritualistic fasts which feature the singing special songs. Such songs, which are special preserves of female folk are extremely simple, both in literacy and musical contents and yet have a touching quality. For example, Sāre-bārat, Subāchāni Pujāā, Ukûni-bûri Pujā etc. Sāre-bārāt or Sôrāāi brātā literally means the bird-fast where only the young girls and married women take part. Subāchāni Pujāā is held in different parts of Goalpara district. The ceremony is held outside the house in the courtyard in the morning and women observe the Subāchāni Pujāā and one Kāthātî i.e. a expert singer sings the songs of this worshpping ceremony. Hûdûmpûjāār Gēēt has also its own significance. The Hûdûmpûjāā is prevalent in Goalpara region. Hûdûm according to a belief current in Goalpara region is a rain-giver god. The women folk worship Hûdûm by singing songs of a erotic nature in paddy field. Nudity is a part of this ceremony. Another important folksongs associated with ritualistic festival is Aûlāā Puja. In some parts of Kamrup region, grown up unmarried girls perform this ceremony. It takes place at the time of Durgāā pujā. On the particular day of the ceremony, the girls keep awake whole night singing songs in praise of goddess. Bihu is the most characteristically typical Assamese festivals and many Bihu Geets are associated with this festival, Bihu songs are excellent poetry. Jēng bihū is exclusively celebrated by women folk. In Jēng Bihū, there is no any place for men. Men are totally excluded in this ceremony. Women go out to the field, worship and with Tôkā, Gāgānā and Claps they sing and thus bihu is celebrated. By this occasion, women get a chance to enjoy their womanhood and share their feelings. Thus, these are the most important folksongs sung exclusively by women through different occasion.

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