The Tripuri folk songs in called TIPRA
BHAROT. The folk songs are as
old as the tribe and they have survived through the ages as a tradition. The Tripuri folk songs arc widely spread over the entire community like all other
folk songs of other regions. These songs were composed in the early days of
their collective living by individuals whose identity is unrecognizable and
ignored. The folk songs are based on old traditions, thoughts, desires, love,
jhum cultivation, harvesting, festivals, beliefs and superstitions etc. The
theme of the songs has outlived the time without any deviations and till today
the folksongs are sung in original form or with slight variations, spontaneously
and enthusiastically by the people.
In Tripuri language, song
means 'Rwchabmung', the tune of Tripuri songs maintain the respective style in
rhythm which is entirely based on their tradition.
Now-a-days, many Tripuris
sing the Kok Borok (Tirpuri) Songs imitating the tune of other modern
songs, especially the Hindi. This trend is found since the inception of Kokborok programme in the All India Radio Centre at Agartala. Apart from it, the music
director of the present days, out of their artistic talent and capability
compose new tunes. Notwithstanding the recent trend to imitate the tune of songs
belonging to other communities, the original Tripuri songs are very much popular
antorig the Tripuri people for their melodious tune and lyrical composition.
It is really impossible to
identify the individuals connected with the composition of these traditional
folksongs. From these songs, one can have a glimpse of the ancient constitution
of the society, its environment and livelihood. These folksongs also throw light
on their desire, achievements, sorrow, happiness and also their short comings.
Modern Tripuri songs are composed with new words and tunes but it cannot be
denied that sometimes we find more pleasure in old rhymes in old tune.
The folk songs of Tripurä, as
of any other region, depict a many sided picture of the people of the land, and
its social, ritual and religious structure. Although Tripuri remains a spoken
language only or what we call a dialect, yet their folk literature is quite
rich. The folk songs and tales display profound thought and imagination, and
have a beautiful rhyme. The spontaneous flow of songs one bears on any religious
or social occasion leads one to believe that the Tripuris possess an inborn
capacity to compose songs and verses. The unsophisticated village people,
particularly the simple and charming girls, express their imagination, love and
sorrow through songs and tales. The Tripuri mothers give instruction to their
daughters and sons-in- law and daughters-in-law through their songs. Moral
lessons are imparted to the youth and children through tales. The green valley,
river banks, uphill and the meadows echo and re-echo the sweet and delightful
songs of the Tripuri girls. The melodious bamboo flute (sumui-banshi)
accompanying the songs provides a serene atmosphere. Throughout the day the
people in the village toil hard, yet they-particularly the younger ones-steal
time to compose and sing songs. It is difficult to convey, in translation the
exact meaning or the rhythm of the folk songs; however, the two specimen below
may give some idea of the charm of the Tripuri folk song.
The folksongs are classified
according to the subject or contents it conveys. Due to lack of space only a few
folksongs of different variety are cited below with illustrations :-
Different Type of Songs
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Jadukolija or Jaduni :
This type of song is based on love and romance. All types of songs
are used to be sung with the same musical voice.
This type of song is usually sung with a plaintive tune for
commemorating a person after his death. Generally when some one dies fighting in
the battle field for the country. It is very pathetic and heart throbbing.
This song is usually sung on behalf of the grooms party to the
groom on his departure for service as 'Chamari' for short duration(1-3 years) to
his would be in-law. The song is sung on the basis of the grooms
party called 'Chamaritunmani'.
After the marriage when the bride gets ready for departure for her
husband's house at that moment this song is sung. The bride is the 'hamjwk'. The
tune of the 'hamjwk rahamani' is melancholy.
Hachwg Kamani :
At the time of passing though the hill with the load of luggage
they sing these songs to get relief from the fatigue casued by long walk. The
tune they follow for singing such song is called 'Hachwk Kamani'.
It is noticed that during the reign of king Dhanya Manikya, it was
ordered to conscript at least one male person from each family to fight against
the Sikam (Kukis). Accordingly, his messenger came and forcibly took away a male
from each family to join the royal force. A folksong was composed on that
background. This folksong is usually sung on a tune which is called 'Kuchung ha
Sikam'. The tune is very heart touching and melancholy.
Waying Khilimani :
Waying Khilimani is a song of lullaby. At the time of lulling a child the song
is sung. The tune is named 'Waying Khilimani'.
After keeping the new Crops in the granary a ceremony is
celebrated which is known as 'Mamita'. The tune of the song which is usually
sung during 'Mamita' festival is called Mamita tune.
Garia Ruinani :
During the 'Garia Puja' festival the song is sung on a tune which
is called Garia Rumani.
The little children make a cradle to play with each oilier. On the
cradle one child sits and the other one pushes it from the rear to make it
swing. At the time of wavering the cradle, the child who pushes it sings a song.
And this type of song is usually sung or, a tune which is called 'Longoi
In the month of May-June, the young boys and girls work in the
jhoorn field and stay in a bamboo house built on a raised platform of split
bamboo and laid on a bamboo frame called Tang-ghar. The young girls send their
invitation through songs to the young boys:
Narrow, my dear, is your Tang-ghar (Gairing), Full of
flies and other insects. Ours is big and broad, Come, my dear, to ours. We would
offer the nuts that we keep in our bosom. Oh! Please do exchange a few sweet
words of love and charm. With those who would offer nuts from their bosom.
The word 'nuts' here has a
double meaning. In one sense it may mean love from core of heart. In another, it
may mean a small-nut-container usually kept inside the risa (ri-cloth or
garments, and SSa-something small i.e. a small piece of cloth (medium size
muffler) used as Chest garment). A young girl will not offer nuts from that
container to anyone other than her loved ones.
The song continues:
it is now the turn of the young man to reply:
I can come to your Tong-ghar, But I am afraid of my
parents, Who would take me to task?
If I visit yours. If you
would like to offer me your nuts, Send, my dear, through the wind.
Which would carry them to me.
A bamboo-shoot could be easily cut, But the dews out side it fall off Before it
could be cut; So do tears escape from my eyes Before I can pour out my feeling.
What to do? I am at a loss. Send, my dear, your ri-sha for rubbling off my
tears, And do meet me at the path-corner, If you want to say a few sweet words-
yours and yours only.
In the months of Agrahayan,
Pous and Magh (November through January), the jhoom fields remain dew wet. The
tree leaves are filled with dew drops. The birds dip their body with dew drops.
The Tripuri poets call it Taksa Tiari , that is, the ponds where chirping birds
sprinkle their body with dew drops. The present of dew drops confirms that the
beloved has not yet trodden his way through the bushy path. The jhoom girl
spends her time in anxiety for her beloved, her heart throbs for, who knows, her
beloved might be in danger. She yearns for a union. When will he come into her
courtyard tuning the melodious bamboo flute (sumui)? She prays for a meeting
with the boy so that she could offer the flowers in her hand-the flowers that
she had collected so assiduously for him and for him only.
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The girl sings:
With dew drops the tree leaves are filled into them the chirping birds
dip. But this morning's dew drops are still there, The birds have not taken
their bath, And my beloved has not yet trod the path. Haven't seen today my
beloved and haven't any peace of mind. My anxiety knows no bounds, Oh my dear,
And I am so worried for your welfare Heaven knows what misfortune is waiting for
me, Oh God, let him return to my courtyard with that sumui melody, I'll offer
unto him the flowers that I gathered for him and for him only.
Aichug da bagkha togle kochegkha, thuma sichana nangkha. Maio babu song chamalai
hanta bono khibina nangkha. Babu tui nungma tilok twi bukcba bono tui khogna
nankha. Kalam farjagyea Ligilagayana bonoba farna nangkha. Mairang hantao
mishrum pungoi thangara malbai naikha. Tagma sagwnang mishrum warkhai togsarog
pungbai naikha. Ganing nugulo wakmasaganang war jagai kengai naikha. Aaichug
bachadi gatio thandi darna tui kogna khaigdi. Mai bai mui kwthar songdi. Khwna
fung Aiwoi sala payasani togsa togtuirog bachaiasani hug nailai nani himdi. Maio
babuni tangbitirogno bono chung tangna Nango. Maio kok sama kokbitirogno khwnaoi
kha chobna Nango.
It is dawn : The cock is crowing : It is time to get up from the
sleep. The stale dishes of last night's dinner are to be washed or ants will
gather around the dish. The water vessel of my father is t be filled Up. The
dirt in the house, it is to be broomed. Otherwise, the house will become
unclean. If the ants bite the chickens they will begin to clamour. Under the
veranda of the 'Gairing' (first floor hut, made by bamboo) the pigs arc kept and
they will cry out loudly if the ant bite, get up quickly. Go and bring water
from the bathing ghat. Cook rice and curry. Let's go to see jhum' (shifting
cultivation) before the beasts and birds awake. We have also to do the work of
the parents. You have to carry out the advice of the mother whole heartedly.
The significance of this song:
Previously the Tripuris were mainly dependent upon the 'jhum'
cultivation to maintain their livelihood. They worked hard at their jhum' since
early morning to noon, That is why they would take cooked rice and curry along
with them to their jhum for meal. Here the husband draws her wife's attention to
her works and duties through this song.
"Aichug bachanai tagwla sano twama kok bai loibno, horo chamani
lai hantarogno thongoro hanta kawlai tongmano, thongor farjakya ligilagayno.
Nukhungni samung tangthai tangmano tangwi ang paikha bono. Mai kwthar songoi
thapao tangwi Angle wansugo mogwi. Kwna fung awiwi hug naina fano tawma mui
mungno songno. Sawoi rwjadi ano.
Hugni mui kwthwng songnani
khaiba mui kwthwng daarogya tifun. Laifang boogli tawnai sangnabo maifang
chamrakti foon. Muia kwranno chakhwi sonogna bo chakhwi chamayati foon.
Chakhwtui kwthung songoi tuinabo maichu wchayati foon. Twma mui mungno songno?"
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Flow shall I thank the cock, who helps me to get up from the sleep
at dawn with his crowing. I have finished all household works, I have cleaned
the rubbish and washed the stale dishes of last night's meal. After cooking rice
I am now thinking what curry I shall cook. If I cook 'jhum' products the
cultivation would be abortive. If I prepare a curry with banana tree, the 'jhum'
paddy would be shedding oil if I prepare chawkhoi (a type of curry prepared with
filtered water of the ash i.e. alkali) with young bamboo it will not be taken. If I cook chawkhoi twi kwthwng (a curry which is similar to chawkhwi prepared as soup
type) it will not remain on the leaf. Alas I what curry shall I prepare?
significance of the song:
The wife here relates her duties to her husband through this song.
A traditional restriction was imposed on Tripuri jhum cultivators that at the
time of searching land for jhum any vegetables could not be prepared. The
intrinsic meaning is that, the vegetables they cook for their meal at jhum will
not grow in jhum. The wife knows well what curry she has to prepare, but is
customary to ask her husband and ascertain what curry she has to prepare.
'Bolong kwchangtotho Hachugo huloksa pungkha. Nobar bai blai
narjagma nugwi khapangba narjag thangkha. Bolong mwkhwra pungo Mwswi ha-forwi
pungo, bolong ni toksa sagfang chikonsa khapangni kokmung sa-o. khwnowai
khapangao chudi, khwnowai kha-o wansugwi naidi Ma Fa tanglangma tangbiti rogno
tangwi chalangna fano wansugwi naidi bono."
The forest is looking so peaceful and beautiful in all dimensions.
On the hill the owl is hooting. The tree leaves are shivering in the air. My
mind is also dancing with joy at this sight. The wild monkeys are chattering.
The deer is barking and striking his hooves on the ground. The little birds of
the jungle are exchanging their hearty talks with each other. Listen wi iii
heart and think thereafter. Think, the work of the parents and how they worked
to maintain their livelihood.
The husband through the song expresses his great delight on seeing
on natural beauties around his new jhum field. Along with his expressing the
beauty the jhum field he reminds his wife again of her duties.
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"Thadug dugkolog basogong khabaikha, Bisi thangyada Nwng hin?
Ma-Fa fwrwngma kokbitirogno
twma tentaio ma hin?
Chwngno fwrwngwi tentaima
noba twma khontai rwma hin?
Ma-Fa talangma tangbitirogno
chwngle tangnani nango,
Ma-Fa chamani chabitirogno
chwongbo chanani nango
Ma-Fa tongmani tongthog
tongmano chwngbo tongnani nango."
The potato creeper is not growing well. Do you not know the year
is almost over ? Why do you think the advice of the parents as scolding ? Why do
you think their advice with a little bit of scolding a poke ? The way father and
mother work, we too have to work in similar ways. The way father and mother
eats, we too have to eat in that way. The way father and mother maintain the
family with joy and sorrow, we also have to maintain the family in the same way.
The inner significance of this song is the desire of a newly
wedded husband to get his wife's warm company. But he cannot do so as his
parents remain present along with them at the time of working in the jhum. When
he goes to work in the jhum field then the parents and other guardians remain
"Harung ha kwchang Badia maitang
Saichung rawoi de mwchang
Kwnwikha baksa khapang kha
Thanwi chamani kisa
Wansugwi angle khatang
Kotog rang bwtang bukcha ani
Ahai tongwi de mwchang
Wansugoi angle khatang"
Is it pleasurable to harvest alone the badia paddy of the lunga?
It pleases me to think to work and live with the beloved. Is it nice to look at
the naked neck ever without the chain of coins? The mind becomes restless if it
It is a love song sung by a girl for her dear. They love each
other deeply. But there is no scope to come openly into contact with each other.
In this situation, the girl at the time of working on jhum field expresses her
desire to her beloved.
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"Ani huchungo sabo hug hognai, watwi kwilaio rai rai. Khani
borokno sabo kok rwfai muktwi kwlaio rai rai. Hapung hor thuya muktwrwi maya, Wansugmang
bwkha paiya. Khapang ni borok bwkha paijagya, Saichung wanama thagya. Yakni
badukhung twinani boya Toksa rangini togya, khogwi tubuna boya, Swaoise hamlang
Who is working near my jhum, I see the muli bamboos (a kind n
bamboo) bend down one after the other. Some one negotiates with sir beloved for
which my chest is filled with tears. Sleep hunts my eyes day am night, but I
cannot close the eyes, I cannot think out any solution for it. It is not a bow
used for shooting small pebbles that I will carry in hand. It is not a wild cock
either that I will hunt. I get no pleasure to say more.
Here the boy expresses through this song his mental agony related
with the hurdles in his love affairs. Somebody has negotiated with his beloved
for marriage for which his heart is heating. He cannot sleep throughout the night thinking of probable separation with his beloved and unable to reach
any conclusive decision. The problems that developed before his low affairs
still remain unsolved. He suffers mentally. To expose his mental agony he opines
that it is not a bow that he will bear in hand or a cock that he will hunt.
"Kuchug kheregbar bubar motomma bahaikhe kholang nani. Bolong
boltuku nana faijagwi jwngjalo kwlaimani, kuchuk kherengbai gonta yasukya, gonta
bai khona buya, motom twilwlwk bahaino manwi khapang kha bathaglia, duksa
duktwirok wngmani twlai buduk sotoro khamun, bufang chikonte wngmani twlai
tanfaiwi khollang khamon."
How shall I pluck the kherengbar flower (a kind of Orchid flower)
which has bloomed so high. After coming to the forest for collection of
fire-woods, what a danger I have fallen in It has bloomed so high that I cannot
reach it even with a stick. My mind is pleased highly with the fragrance of that
flower. If it were the flower of a creeper, I could have plucked the flower by
pulling the creeper. If it were a little tree, I could have plucked the flower
by cutting the tree with a chopper.
It is also a love song. Both the boy and the girl love each other
but they cannot come closer due to some inhibitions. Here the boy expresses his
fascination for the girl and frustration of his love. He loves her so much but
cannot bring his lady love to him as so many hurdles are raising their heads. To
make one understand his delicate problem he compares it with a flower that
bloomed so high that cannot be plucked as it is out of reach. lie also confesses
his incapability to overcome the hurdles. He remarks that it if it were within
his control he would have solved it.
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"Nabrabari mufleng wasung,
Nwngbai ang ba tongma
Nini bai ani chini bug ari
Malaina jaga huchung.
Faidi Nwng aro saichung
Angba thanganw saichung,
Khaphangni kokna swbai
Nini kha mude muchung,
Angbai malaina nini kha
Kiria, faidi saichung."
As the bamboo pipes used for cooking the curry are thrown helter
shelter by the house so I and you are also remaining alone in the jhum. The
jungle which stands on the boundary line of your jhum and mine, we will meet in.
You go there alone, I will also. Don't you want to make me know your hearty
talks? You shall go there, if you wish to meet me, Don't he afraid.
Here the two lovers are willing to meet each other. But they
cannot do so openly. Here through a song one hints particular spot where they
Haduk duk kolok buduk bangbaikha
Sabo hogjanwi wngkha
Lama kufungwibolong khanai
Sabo hogjanai wngkha.
Khorogni nokhai kichigna
Sabo waui rwnai wngkha
Khapang wansugwi takmani
Kosom palini risa sorterwi
Thaipolk barni nokhai
Himna ang muchung mani
Swbano salang nani.
All the road is covered with creeper plant. Who will clear it? The
Jungle spreads all over the road, who will clear? The langa (a type of busket
made of cane) of the head will tear, who will join it. Yesterday I wove a 'risa'
(Chest fastener) with great care. Fastening the 'risa' on my breasts along with
the 'langa' made with the design of chalita fruit I want to walk with him, whom
shall I offered my mind.
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Here the girl conveys her thoughts to her dear through this song.
When she crosses her old jhum to find a place for new jhum, she sings for her
dear and her lover hears it. She expresses her desire to walk with him fastening
breast fastener along with the langa made by her with the design of chalita
fruit. But she cannot do so as all the road is covered with bushes.
Mwnai ta kabdi waying thudi
Mwnai ko Mwnai Mwnai,
Mwkhang batasa satung koganw
Chongkhreng ni sati hungdi
Mwnai ko Mwnai Mwnai,
Yakurai kwchak sumuk nanganw
Rangchakni yaklab kadi mwnai,
Nwfabo thahngkha rajani sebuk,
Nwmabo thangkha rajani daijwk
Nakhwwrai ta khaidi mwnai
Mwnai ko mwnai mwnai
Ranchakni waying rufaini
Wayingo thudi mwnai.
Mwnai don't cry; sleep on the swing. Your face looks round like batasa (a type
of sweet), sunlight will fall upon that face, so you open your rainbow type
umbrella which is painted with different colours. The soles of your feet are
red, the dust and sand may fall on them, so put on golden shoes. Your father has
gone to attend king's work, your mother also has gone for the same. Now without
being obstinate, you go to sleep. There is the Golden rope in the silver swing,
you go to sleep on that swing.
Generally the aunts of the kids sing this type of lullaby by
swinging the cradle after keeping the child on the hammock with a view to lull
"Chalai sagbaksa khapang kha thansa chwngle kwthalai faio. Nogfang
nogswkang kham tenggwi naio. Bufang tongwise buthaiba thaio, bufang kwrwi-o de
thai. Baiya tongwise chwng habfaio, kubun jagawo habya.
Nogfang nookswkang swkal
thurifnag nogode tongbai nogbang? Kissib bangkhab hai dogar chwngnugo, hatina
chogwoi nogsinggo haba thongo fupla baio. Mai gola songwi Maigola sangwi Nogfang
kha tongthog naio. Nogbrabari swkal thurifang dogar fiogdi nogfang. Satogna faia
pitogna faia, sagchalai nogo faio. Bachwi kotorda kumui kotorda halog kusuda
halog chayada, sabo tong nogni nogfang. Nagbrabari swkal thurifang dogar
We, the brethren and friends have to come to your house. We shall
test the house owner. Where there are trees, there is fruit, without a tree
there can be no fruit. So we have come as brethren and friends'. We do not go to
other places. The witches are in the front of and near the house. Is the owner
in the house? The door of the house is looking like a fan. Shall we enter the
house by digging the foundation? If so, the entire house will collapse. The
granary is full of paddy, that is why the house owner remains in pleasure. The
witches are in the front of and near the house. The owner of the house opens the
door. We have not come to do any harm. We have come to the mates who remain
within the house-elder sister-in-law or younger sister-in-law brother in law or
younger brother in law or anybody else either senior or junior in relation. The
witches are in front of or near the house. Oh; house owner, please open the door
of the house.
After the new crops of the year are kept in the granary this
ceremony is celebrated. The boys of the village participate collectively in this
occasion. In this occasion they visit to a resident's house collectively. There
they sing and take meal and drink collectively along with owner of that house
and come back. But sometimes, the house owner, is not at all interested to open
the door on such occasion Then the party tries to compel the house owner to open
the door with this type of song which is mixed with jokes. In some cases if the
house owner is determined not to open the door then the party forcibly enters
the house by breaking the door. They take meal and wine collectively and sing
songs and dance thereafter in that house. Of course, the part there after has to
repair the house.
There are many traditional instrument which were played by Tripuri
People. On the passage of times most of such instrument are not being used by
the new generation people as a result, these musical instrument are being wipped
out from the world. Most of Tripuri people now do not even know the names
of such instruments and existence of such instruments. Most of the Younger
generation do not even recognize these instruments. Some musical instruments are
specific to the types of folk dances. Some of the instrument's photo images are
Sarinda or Saina