Lyrics of Assamese Songs

Subtitle

Preface

Assamese is not a language lacking in the wealth of songs. There were religious ones, composed several hundreds of years back. There were folk songs about ordinary life on earth, composed and edited over the last millennium. And there are the songs of this modern age, hundreds of them, being composed and heard during the last two centuries as well as the present one. There are songs appreciating the melodious warmth of Assam's nature, songs heralding social changes, songs lamenting the inequalities and miseries in Assam and in the world -- there are Assamese songs about almost everything on earth.

But there are only a handful of them on the free, worldwide, open media of this century - the Internet. And there are very few of their lyrics - the texts that communicate their messages. So, I plan to do, with the help of like-minded people of Assam, whatever we can to put the lyrics of the well-known and greatly appreciated Assamese songs on this free, worldwide media.

However, many of us do not know to type in Assamese script in a computer. Even those of us who do, use different Assamese computer-fonts, so that the Assamese text typed in one computer aren’t communicable to other computers via the Internet! The way out, naturally, is to use the English (i.e., Latin or Roman) script, which is available in every computer, tablet pc or phone, to write Assamese text (probably many of us have already done that with a cellphone). To do that here, however, we need to have a uniform, mutually agreed upon scheme to transliterate the assamese-language lyrics into the English script. After careful deliberation and some practice, I am suggesting this transliteration scheme (along with these sample transliterations of three great Assamese songs), which I hope would be able to perfectly communicate the exact Assamese pronunciation of the lyrics to the reader, even if he or she is not comfortable with the Assamese script. Please communicate, at rkalita@rediffmail.com, any suggestions - or reservations, if any - to me.

And, all fellow Assamese who love Assamese songs and happen to come across this page, please endeavour to e-mail me carefully typed and checked English-script lyrics, in the pattern used here, of one or two of the great Assamese songs! [However, please don't send them as e-mail attachments -- as sometimes opening attachments becomes quite a pain -- rather just include the lyrics within the text of your e-mail.] In particular, this is the wish-list of some great Assamese songs for which I hope to put the lyrics here some day - please check it to see if you know a few of these songs well (you may also suggest, via e-mail or via the forums, any other songs). Also, please remember to mention your full name, address and a brief two-line introduction along with your lyrics, so that I can acknowledge it here (if necessary, have a look at this sample e-mail).

-- Rituraj Kalita
Gandhi Mandap Road, South Sarania, Guwahati-7, Assam
Personal web-page: www.angelfire.com/pro/riturajkalita
E-mail: rkalita@rediffmail.com


Three Sample Transliterations

Zananir Xantaan Zaagaa
               Lyricist: Jyotiprasad Agarwala

zananir xantaan zaagaa
(zaagaa xaktimaan zaagaa maatripraan)2
zananir xantaan zaagaa
(zaagaa xaktimaan zaagaa maatripraan)2
zananir xantaan zaagaa
(mrityu gosoki aanaa zay zini)2
kori durzeya obhizaan
zaagaa xaktimaan zaagaa maatripraan
zananir xantaan zaagaa

(karmahinataa kapuruxataai twmaak korile zay
tumi durbala mriyamaan)2
tathaapiw naai bhay
zaagaa
zaagaa xaktimaan zaagaa maatripraan
zananir xantaan zaagaa

(xakti gaayatri manat pelowaa hobaa durnibaar)2
tétiaa twmaar zayninaadat xatru kampamaan
(o mwr aapwn paaharaa durmada bir
azeya nawa-zowaan)2
(zaagaa xaktimaan zaagaa maatripraan
zananir xantaan zaagaa)2


Biswar Sande Sande
               Lyricist: Bishnuprasad Rabha

(biswar sande sande mahaanande aanande
naasaa
naasaa tamwharadéu naasaa)2
bande bande aazi xava bhakatabrinde
bande
tava saranakamala bande
biswar sande sande mahaanande aanande

(zalowaa xaagnika tapwhwma bahni
binaaxak endhaar tavazayi agni)2
bisware déulat gyaanare banti
aalokare xikhaa uthak naasi
(agyaana endhaar binaaxi)2
pulakaanande
bande aazi xava bhakatabrinde
bande
tava saranakamala bande
biswar sande sande mahaanande aanande

(naaswnar taale taale puspita banani
sewe sewe haale zaale bikaxita phulani)2
(aamwlmwl kare xuwani dharani
puspita xuvaaxita gandhe)2
bande aazi xava bhakatabrinde
bande
tava saranakamala bande
biswar sande sande mahaanande aanande
naasaa
naasaa tamwharadéu naasaa
biswar sande sande mahaanande aanande


Bistirna Paarare
               Lyricist: Bhupen Hazarika

(bistirna paarare
axankhya zanare
haahaakaar xuniw nihxabde nirave
burhaa luit tumi
burhaa luit bowaa kia)2

noitikataar skhalan dekhiw
maanavataar patan dekhiw
nirlazza alax bhaave bowaa kia

gyaan bihin nirakkharar
khaadya bihin naagorikar
netribihinataat nimaat kia

xahasra baarixaar unmaadanaar obhigyataare
panggu maanavak xaval-xanggraami aaru agragaami
kori nwtwlaa kia

byakti zodi byaktikendrik
xamasti zodi byaktitwarohit
tene xithil xamaazak naabhaanga kia

tumiye zodi brahmaar putra
xéi pitritwa tene naammaatra
nohole preranaa nidiyaa kia

unmatta dharaare kurukkhetrare xaraxazyaake
aalinggan karaa
bhismarupi azasra birak
zagaai nwtwlaa kia

(bistirna paarare
axankhya zanare
haahaakaar xuniw nihxabde nirave
burhaa luit tumi
burhaa luit bowaa kia)2


Lyrics of songs available till now (004):

       Zananir Xantaan Zaagaa
              by Jyotiprasad Agarwala
       Biswar Sande Sande
              by Bishnuprasad Rabha
       Bistirna Paarare
              by Bhupen Hazarika
View the complete alphabetical list here


Please offer your suggestions for this site!


Transliteration rules in use here:


The transliterations should reflect the way the song is generally sung, mentioning all the repetitions (we’re putting it on silicon only, so not at all short of paper here!).

Next, the general idea is that the Assamese (i.e., the standard-Assamese) pronunciations should be transliterated, not the spellings themselves.

Thus, the long and the short "i" or "u" spellings aren't to be distinguished, as their respective pronunciations are the same. For example, in “tavazayi agni”, the alphabet “i” is identically used to transliterate both the long and the short "i".

The long and the short "a", however, are to be distinguished (e.g., “zananir xantaan zaagaa”), as their respective pronunciations are distinctly different.

Let's use "o" to indicate the pronunciation of “o” found in the English word “open”, even if that comes from the Assamese short “a” with an apostrophe (e.g., “o mwr aapwn paaharaa”), or from just the short “a” without the apostrophe (e.g., “mrityu gosoki aanaa”).

Let's use "x" (as in “xantaan” or “xikhaa”) to transliterate the characteristic Assamese pronunciation that lies somewhat in between "h" and "kh". Please don’t use “s”, “sh” or "xh", etc.

Let's use "s" (as in “biswar sande sande” or “naasaa”) to transliterate any Assamese pronunciation same as that of "s" in the English word "song", no matter whatever be the corresponding Assamese spelling (noting that pronunciation of “ch” or of “chh” is not at all there in Assamese).

Let's use “w” (e.g., “mwr aapwn paaharaa”) in place of the more commonly used "o" to transliterate the characteristic standard-Assamese pronunciation associated with the “o” alphabet in Assamese. For words such as “zagowaa”, that has another “w” sound just following this pronunciation, I think we should make an exception to this rule by choosing “ow” for the pair of repeated pronunciation (as done in “zagowaa”).

Let's use "z" (e.g., “zaagaa”) in place of the more commonly used "j", as only the former corresponds to the relevant Assamese pronunciation. In standard Assamese, there is hardly any occasion to use the alphabet “j”, except in a few words like  “jharnaa”.

Let's use transliterations such as “nirakkhar” or “gyaan” instead of Sanskrit-based alternatives such as “nirakshar” or “jnaan”, so as to communicate the actual standard-Assamese pronunciations.

Let's transliterate the Assamese consonant “uabba” as “v” (as in “tavazayi” or “xuvaaxita”) instead of “b” or “w”, except for words such as “zagowaa” or “zowaan” where the “w” sound is obvious (instead of lying somewhere in between “b” and “w”). So, naturally, let's transliterate the Assamese consonant “bha” as “bh” only, and similarly, the consonant "pha" as "ph" only (not as "v" or "f" respectively).

Let's transliterate the ending consonant sound in the English words "long" or "song" as “ng” (as in “naabhaanga kia”), whereas those having a distinct “g” sound as “ngg” (as in “panggu” or “xanggraami”), so as to distinguish between the two sounds.

In cases where the pronunciation for "e" is not the characteristic Assamese one (as in "sande sande") but rather the characteristic Hindi one (as in "tetiaa" or "tamwharadeu"), let's transliterate that sound (as in "tétiaa" or "tamwharadéu") using the "é" symbol. [However, while e-mailing lyrics, you may type just "ee" to mean this character -- I'll get that machine-transformed here.]


Audio forms of two sample songs:
Non-Assamese readers might be wondering what the standard Assamese pronunciations exactly are. So, we're also having here the following audio files for the first two sample songs, carefully delivered with such pronunciations. These two songs were kindly delivered for this purpose by Ms. Dhriti Mahanta of Santipur, Guwahati-9, Assam.

(i) Audio of Zananir Xantaan Zaagaa
(ii) Audio of Biswar Sande Sande