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Folk songs

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An old khasi song sung on the occasion ofjhum cultivation by
mixed group of men and women -
'Three times with a hoe we dig the earth
And three times we dance in a chain
With the hoe in both our left and right hands'
In a ballad of a young Assamese wife's sorrow who is ill treated
by her in-laws (Goswami, 1970)-
'Never did I have a kindly word ...

Sitting in the morning sun I cured banana spadix,
Even then my little brother was given only rice
Oh my dear
Even then my little brother was given only rice'
A ballad of Dimasa -Kachari known as 'The ballad of Johaya'-
a Dimasa youth who never returned home (Baruah, 1980)-
'Thinking Johaya would be coming
I cooked the rice and kept it for him
In the corner by the wall
Only the rat got it'
Karbis of Assam sing a folk song called Lakshmi-kaplang at the
rice harvest festival Chaukarauy (Borthakur, 1991) as follows:
'An old Karbi, Terong Rong Charpau
Came to know from a Kuki-Chin fellow
Of the existence of wild rice
Which can be used as food?
This man told this to Dili-eam-Charpau
Who after collecting wild rice offered a feast?
And observed Chaukarauy harvest festival
For the first time'.
In a Nocte (a tribe of Arunachal Pradesh) cradle song (Dutta,
1978)-
'Sitting with the grand mother I was taking with the residue
of the rice-bear
Sitting with the elder brother I was enjoying the smoke of
opium
Sitting with the elder sister I was eating the betel nut making
my lips red
Sitting with the mother I was eating the white boiled rice
Sitting with the father I was eating meat good or bad'

Ajhum song of a Tripura tribe (Sehgal, 1978)-
'As rice plant with earth and puthi fish with water
So my love, I am with you.
While chewing betel measured the size of my mouth
And found that it was same as thine, my love.'
The Misings of Assam start their rice cultivation in spring time
and seed sowing ceremony known as Ali-ai-ligang on a Wednesday is
associated with the Goddess of rice (Goswami, 1995). And they sing-
'The wind of phagun is blowing,
The paddy is growing splendidly,
The trees are putting forth leaves
Flowers have bloomed,
In the village they are celebrating Ali-ai-ligang'
In a Mising Oi-nitam (Bihu-song)-
'You need not go downstream to the west
Feeding on dried rice powder
You would prick your feet on thorns far away
You won't have anyone to weep'
In a Mising rhyme-
Do not cry, my pet,
Let your parents work in the field,
When they come back
We shall cook rice for you.'
Lakhimi Chopoa or Lakhimi Puja and No-khowa are other twO
important festivals of Assam connected with harvest of rice. A song
sung in Lakhimi Puja Is:
"Thaie mosi diya, pate pari diya
Lakhimi ai ahake buli
Rangali ranga pangua kati diya
Gua bhale kori diya.

Kothalor khuta, salidhanor pitha
Lakhimi ai lahekoi utha
Lakhimi air dighal chuli
Loi jaon mathate tuli"
[Mop the floor, spread the leaf
May the Goddess Lakhimi descend upon it
Offer solemnly betel nut and leaf.
Columns of jackfruit trees,
Cakes of Sali
(We offer you all)
Goddess Lakhimi, Rise up, emerge slowly
With your flowing long tress of hair
We are here to carry you on upon our heads]
A Basu song runs thus -
'After hundreds and thousands of days
Light a lamp with the tears that flow at night
Like spreading rice everywhere
The crop has come to our home
Thejhum field flowers are in bloom'
In the concluding song of the Loku festival people sing
Chowdhury, 1973)-
'The flower has fallen off,
The fruit has mellowed,
Loku has also ended!
Go away,
Wherever from you came
Till the next year;
And do come again
In the next year with a new spirit'

Ajhum song of a Tripura tribe (Sehgal, 1978)-
'As rice plant with earth and puthi fish with water
So my love, I am with you.
While chewing betel measured the size of my mouth
And found that it was same as thine, my love.'
The Misings of Assam start their rice cultivation in spring time
and seed sowing ceremony known as Ali-ai-ligang on a Wednesday is
associated with the Goddess of rice (Goswami, 1995). And they sing-
'The wind of phagun is blowing,
The paddy is growing splendidly,
The trees are putting forth leaves
Flowers have bloomed,
In the village they are celebrating Ali-ai-ligang'
In a Mising Oi-nitam (Bihu-song)-
'You need not go downstream to the west
Feeding on dried rice powder
You would prick your feet on thorns far away
You won't have anyone to weep'
In a Mising rhyme-
Do not cry, my pet,
Let your parents work in the field,
When they come back
We shall cook rice for you.'
Lakhimi Chopoa or Lakhimi Puja and No-khowa are other twO
important festivals of Assam connected with harvest of rice. A song
sung in Lakhimi Puja Is:
"Thaie mosi diya, pate pari diya
Lakhimi ai ahake buli
Rangali ranga pangua kati diya
Gua bhale kori diya.

Kothalor khuta, salidhanor pitha
Lakhimi ai lahekoi utha
Lakhimi air dighal chuli
Loi jaon mathate tuli"
[Mop the floor, spread the leaf
May the Goddess Lakhimi descend upon it
Offer solemnly betel nut and leaf.
Columns of jackfruit trees,
Cakes of Sali
(We offer you all)
Goddess Lakhimi, Rise up, emerge slowly
With your flowing long tress of hair
We are here to carry you on upon our heads]
A Basu song runs thus -
'After hundreds and thousands of days
Light a lamp with the tears that flow at night
Like spreading rice everywhere
The crop has come to our home
Thejhum field flowers are in bloom'
In the concluding song of the Loku festival people sing
Chowdhury, 1973)-
'The flower has fallen off,
The fruit has mellowed,
Loku has also ended!
Go away,
Wherever from you came
Till the next year;
And do come again
In the next year with a new spirit'

In a Bihu song of Assam -
"Dokoi potharot dhan bai ashilo
Ghila sokolia muthi
Sokoloke dekho lahorik nedekho
Dhapare oporat uthi"
[I was harvesting paddy in low-lying fields
With larger grip of swath,
1 saw everyone except my darling
Climbing up the mound]
or
'Durate oi nuruba bhui oi maina
Durate oi nuruba bhui
Jaonte bisabo kokal oi lahori
Ahote bisabo bhori'
[Do not transplant seedlings (of rice), oh darling
Do not transplant seedlings at distant fields,
Walking up the distance will pain your waist
And on your return, you will feel pain on your feet]

File Courtesy: 
ICAR, NEH. Umiam
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