A bi-lingual Buranji in Ahom and English translation.
A bi-lingual Buranji in Ahom and English translation.

Buranjis (Ahom language: ancient writings)[1] are a class of historical chronicles and manuscripts associated with the Ahom kingdom written initially in Ahom Language[2] and later in Assamese language too.[3] The Buranjis are an example of historical literature which is rare in India.[4]

There were two types of Buranjis: the official Buranjis, which were compiled from the time of the first Ahom king Sukaphaa; and family Buranjis, which were compiled from the 16th century. The official Buranjis contained such information as description of important events as reported by reliable witnesses, correspondence from allied rulers, tax records, announcements, annual reports of various kinds, etc. Nevertheless, the Buranjis were continuously upgraded and often refreshed with the help of chronicles of allied peoples the Ahoms were in contact with, such as the Tai-Mau and Khamti. The official Buranjis were kept in archives and most of them have been destroyed either by natural decay or by wars and conflicts.[5]

The details in the Buranjis regarding the Ahom-Mughal conflicts agree with those in the Mughal chronicles such as Baharistan, Padshahnama, Alamgirnamah and Fathiyyah; and they also provide additional details not found in these Mughal chronicles.[6]

History

Main article: History of Assam

There were two kinds of Buranjis: one maintained by the state (official) and the other maintained by families.[5] Many such manuscripts were written by scribes under the office of the Likhakar Barua, which were based on state papers, diplomatic correspondences, judicial proceedings, etc. Others were written by nobles or by people under their supervision, sometimes anonymously. These documents reveal chronology of events, language, culture, society and the inner workings of the state machinery of the kingdom. They were written in "simple, lucid and unambiguous but expressive language with utmost brevity and least exaggeration." The tradition of writing Buranjis survived more than six hundred years well into the British period, till a few decades after the demise of the Ahom kingdom.[7]

The Buranjis not only describe the Ahom kingdom, but also the neighbours (Jaintia, Kachari and Tripura Buranjis) and those with whom the Ahom kingdom had diplomatic and military contacts (Padshah Buranji). They were written on the barks of the Sanchi tree or aloe wood. Though many such Buranjis have been collected, compiled and published, an unknown number of Buranjis are still in private hands.[citation needed] During the reign of Rajeswar Singha, Kirti Chandra Borbarua had many Buranjis destroyed because he suspected they contained information on his lowly birth.[8]

Language

Buranjis are written in the Ahom language, but since the 16th century they came to be increasingly written in the Assamese language—and Ahom Buranji manuscripts have become rare.[9] The Ahom script used in the Buranjis is an older Shan writing system that was not fully developed to include diacritics to denote the different tones or distinguish between proto-Tai voiceless and voiced distinctions.[10] The language of the Assamese Buranjis, on the other hand, formed the template for the standard literary language in the late-19th century.[11] Assamese Buranjis used the Garhgaya style of writing[12]—one of three different styles of the Bengali-Assamese script prevalent between the 17th and 19th centuries in Assam.

Edited and Published Buranjis

A selected list of Buranjis
Name Author 1st Edition Editor/Translator Publisher
Kachari Buranji 1936 S K Bhuyan DHAS
Jayantia Buranji 1937 S K Bhuyan DHAS
Assam Buranji Harakanta Sadar Amin 1930 DHAS
Kamrupar Buranji 1930 S K Bhuyan DHAS
Deodhai Assam Buranji 1932 DHAS
Tungkhuniya Buranji Srinath Duara Barbarua 1932 DHAS
Asamar Padya Buranji Dutiram Hazarika and Visvesvar Vaidyadhipa 1932 DHAS
Tripura Buranji Ratna Kandali and Arjun Das (1724) 1938 S K Bhuyan DHAS
Assam Buranji 1938 S K Dutta DHAS
Assam Buranji (Sukumar Mahanta)[13] 1945 DHAS
Assam Buranji Sara Kashinath Tamuli Phukan 1944 P C Choudhury DHAS
Ahom Buranji 1930 Golap Chandra Barua (trans. English)
Ahom Buranji[14] 1996 Renu Wichasin (trans. Thai)
Purani Asam Buranji 1922 Hem Chandra Goswami KAS
Satsari Assam Buranji[15] 1960 S K Bhuyan GU
Padshah Buranji 1935 S K Bhuyan KAS

Notes

  1. ^ Hartmann 2011, p. 227: "The Tai-Ahom term buran is cognate with the Standard Thai word boran (ancient). Buranji, then, are ancient writings."
  2. ^ (Barua 1953:132)
  3. ^ Goswami 2007, p. 436.
  4. ^ (Sarkar 1992:1)
  5. ^ a b Hartmann 2011, p. 228.
  6. ^ (Sarkar 1992:4)
  7. ^ (Saikia 2008:479)
  8. ^ Sarkar, J. N. (1992) The Buranjis: Ahom and Assamese in The Comprehensive History of Assam Vol II (ed H K Barpujari), Publication Board, Assam
  9. ^ (Sarkar 1992:2)
  10. ^ Hartmann 2011, p. 229.
  11. ^ Goswami & Tamuli 2007, p. 436.
  12. ^ Saikia 2004, p. 6.
  13. ^ This manuscript was recovered from the family of Sukumar Mahanta)
  14. ^ Also called Tai-Ahom Buranji from Khunlung and Khunlai, the English translation of which by Golap Chandra Barua is unpublished
  15. ^ Collection of seven old Buranjis.

References

  • Barua, B K (1953). "Early Assamese Prose". In Kakati, Banikanta (ed.). Aspects of Early Assamese Literature. Guwahati: Gauhati University, Assam. pp. 124–147. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  • Goswami, G. C.; Tamuli, Jyotiprakash (2007), "Asamiya", in Cordona, George; Jain, Dhanesh (eds.), The Indo-Aryan Languages, Routledge, pp. 429–484
  • Saikia, Yasmin (2004). Fragmented Memories: Struggling to be Tai-Ahom in India. Duke University Press. ISBN 082238616X.
  • Hartmann, John F. (7 April 2011). "Phongsawadan Tai-Ahom: Ahom Buranji [Tai-Ahom Chronicles], 2 Vols. Transcribed and translated by Renu Wichasin. Bangkok: Amarin Printing and Publishing Ltd. Pp. xxiv, 993 [Continuous Pagination]. Map, Photos, Tables, Glossary. [In Thai]". Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 28 (01): 227–229. doi:10.1017/S002246340001554X.
  • Saikia, Arupjyoti (2008). "History, buranjis and nation: Suryya Kumar Bhuyan's histories in twentieth-century Assam". The Indian Economic and Social History Review. 45 (4): 473–507. doi:10.1177/001946460804500401.
  • Sarkar, J. N. (1992) The Buranjis: Ahom and Assamese in The Comprehensive History of Assam Vol II (ed H K Barpujari), Publication Board, Assam