A STUDY ON MARRIAGE SONGS WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE BODOS

Lakhiram Narzary
Research scholar, Department of Folklore Research,
Gauhati University, Guwahati, Assam, India

Abstract
The Bodo is a single largest tribe of Assam as well as North-East India, mainly scattering both north and south side of Brahmaputra river of Assam. They are also found in some pocket areas of North-East states viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya and West Bengal. Apart of them they live in some adjacent area of Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Bodo people have a rich culture with distinct identity. They have been maintained these rich traditional culture since immemorial times that which they got from their ancestors. Among the cultures their marriage system is also one of important cultural functions in their life. Every Bodo people must associate with this custom once in a life like other community. Marriage is a process of making relationship of between man and woman of other family person. This relationship is a legitimate relationship that both have to bear responsibility to look over each other. In Bodo society, marriage is called ‘Haba’, ‘ha’ means ‘soil’ and ‘ba’ means ‘to bear something on the back’. It means to bear great duties and responsibilities in their conjugal life. In association with marriage function there are many traditions and customs which to be done in Bodo marriage. Among them song is one of mentionable. There are many types of songs in association with marriage which are sung during marriage functions. Here I am taking to discuss the whole types of those marriage songs.

Key words: Bodo marriage, its types, marriage songs and its meaning

1.0 Introduction
Marriage is one of social activities that every people must associate with it. In life people must marry once, through this people can be a social human being. “Marriage has been defined as a union between a man and a woman such that children born to the woman are recognized legitimate offspring of both parents. Marriage creates new social relationships and reciprocal rights between the spouses, between each and the kin of the other, and establishes what will be the rights and status of the children when they are born. Every society has recognized procedures for creating such relationships and rights, and for making it known that they have been created” (Mair, 1972: p.90). Marriage is a “Special type of personal relationship, involving mutual rights and duties” (Hutchison, 1989: p.1).  Another renowned scholar also gives the meaning of marriage as a “Civil and religious contract by which a man is joined to a woman for the purpose of civilized society” (Ayier, 1993: p.741).

After marriage their responsibilities increased more and they can establish legitimate relationship with each other or between man and woman. Both man and woman have to be promised to live together and responsibility to take care of each other after married.

Bodo people have also marriage system that every boys and girls should tie knot with its customs when grown up i.e. matured. Bodo marriage system is like a ceremony which is celebrated by assembled many people of the village and family relatives. Various social customs have been done during the marriage function. From beginning to ending there have been many social norms or systems which are done with systematically as traditional social village customs. In Bodo language marriage is called ’Haba’ where ’ha‘ means ‘Soil’ and ‘ba’ means ’to bear something on the back’, the whole meaning is that the newly married couple have to take great responsibility and duty for their life.”The Bodos have as many as six different types of marriage“ (Brahma, 2008: p.17). These are Swngnanwi lainai haba (Arrange marriage or marriage according to standard practice), Gwrjia lakhinai haba (Marriage by adopted son-in-law), Kharsonnai haba (Marriage by entrance of Bride to Bridegroom’s house), Bwnanwi lainai haba (Marriage by taking away forcefully), Dwnkhar langnai haba (Marriage by elopement) and Dongkha habnai haba (Marriage by a man living with widow). Besides these in Bodo marriage there are various types of songs which are sung by village folks during the marriage time. These marriage songs have been sung since the immemorial times at marriage function and in this paper I try to highlights these marriage songs of the bodos.

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