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Mithiladham a Flourished Culture of the Past Dissolved in Time

Anupam, a teacher by profession has been passionately writing poems and stories as a hobby for more than two decades.

A Movie Showing the Culture of Mithila



Mithila is a part of Bihar and Jharkhand in India which is also known as Tirhut and Tirabhukti. It is bounded by the Mahananda River in the east and the Ganges in the south. It also includes the adjoining districts of Terai of Nepal.

It has a great significance as it's mentioned in the Epic mythological tale of Hindus, Ramayana. Lord Ram along with his three brothers was married on this land. It is the birthplace of His wife Sita who is also popular as Maithili and Janaki.

It is said that when King Janak was ploughing his field he got a girl buried in a box so he named her Janaki. She is known for her loyalty and devotedness for her husband Rama, whom she accompanied in the forest for fourteen years. But after that also she couldn't stay in the palace as Rama had to leave her in the forest again just to appease the public of his kingdom Ayodhya.

The language of Mithila is Maithili and the natives of this place are known as Maithil.

Janakidham, the place where Sita was found


Maithili Language

Maithili was the local language of a large part of India when Sanskrit used to be the official language. Maithili has a vast literature of itself as many stories, poetries, novels and songs are composed in this language for more than centuries.

The period of 700 to 1350 AD is known as the early phase of Maithili literature in which ballads, songs and dohas were composed. The work of Jyotireshwar Thakur (1290 -1350) is popular from this period. His 'Varnartnakar' is the first prose and encyclopedia in northern Indian language.

The middle Maithili literature phase is known to be from 1350 - 1830 AD. This period is popular for theatrical writings.Vidyapati (1350 - 1450AD), Srimanta Sankaradeva (1449 - 1568) and Govindadas (17th Century) are the notable names in this phase.

Modern Maithili Literature is considered to be from 1850 onwards. There are many writers in this phase who have contributed in almost every genre of Maithili literature.

Though the one whose work is famous throughout the nation is of Vidyapati. His anecdotes, short stories and songs are popular among the folklore. The life of Vidyapathi has been mythologized in various ways for more than six centuries. There are many folklores which show that he could communicate with the Gods. It is believed that he was so devoted to Lord Shiva that Shiva had to appear in front of him.

In almost all the occasion the songs of Vidyapati are sung making the environment pleasing to the ears and the heart. Even Ravindranath was so inspired with Vidyapati that he composed a Bhanusingha Thakurer Padabali (1884) in a mix of Western Hindi (Braj Bhasha) and archaic Bengali and named the language Brajabuli as an imitation of Vidyapati.

Specialities of Mithilanchal

Worship of Shiva in the form of muddy shapes.

Paan: Beetel nut leaves along with various other fragrant spices is one of the most popular delicacies of Mithila. It is served in almost all the kind of festive occasions and celebrations. Many get addicted to this as well.

Makhana (Foxnut): It is a waterborne production which has a lengthy process of the refinery. This nut has its base in Mithila where it is produced in large quantity and exported to other states. Makhana is used in many of the snack items and also cooked into various other delicacies. People on fast take it as their food on auspicious occasions.

Paag: This is a cap of honour for Maithils which is worn in marriages and other ceremonies by the males.

Madhubani Painting: The beauty of Madhubani Painting is known to the whole world at present. The flowers, animals, plants are specific in Madhubani painting and they are filled with parallel lines which symbolise the unity of the different concepts. As every life has a different structure and role but at the end, they solve the same purpose to beautify the living world, similarly the parallel lines altogether fill a void making it more beautiful. The two lines run together but represent different facets.

Special Delicacies of Mithila

Litti Chokha: Litti is made of gram flour (sattu) stuffed in wheat flour rolls. It is baked in coal or wood for the better taste. It is served along with mashed potato or brinjal which is known as chokha. People love to relish it in winters.

Fish (Machh): Fish is known to be as a symbol of wealth and prosperity and is cooked in various ways in marriages or any other auspicious feast. Though a few Maithils are vegetarians, Fish is one of the most favoured delicacies of Mithila.

Khaja: It is a sweet made from refined wheat flour in ghee and sweetened by sugar

Thekua: Cardamom, grated coconut, fennel seeds, sugar and ghee is mashed with wheat flour or refined flour and given the shape with palm or shaper. Further, they are fried and served as sweet.

Gujhiya: Mix of various sweetened spices with khoya (condensed milk) is stuffed within the rolled refined flour and then fried. It is prepared in almost all the festivals.

Special Rituals of Mithila

Birth Ritual: After the six days of a child's birth there is a small ceremony in which the deity of that family is worshipped for the long and prosperous life of the child. It's called Chhathi poojan.

Mundan & Upanayan: Mundan is done for both male and female children but Upnayan sanskar is only for the boys once they get into their puberty. They get a sacred thread to wear and are asked to live a loyal life following the culture of Mithila.

Marriage Rituals: In the marriage of Mithila, the bride and groom don't get salt in their food. It is said that it regulates their blood pressure. They are not allowed to take a bath for four days and remain in the same clothes, whatever the weather may be. When I was married in June, it was a terrible experience for me. I didn't get the scientific reason behind this culture. Then throughout the year, there are many more ceremonies for the newlywed bride and groom in which the bride keeps on praying and taking fast for the long life and chastity of her husband.

Death Rituals: After the death of the closed one (related to blood) there is a ritual for thirteen days which is strictly followed by the close relatives.

Ground Reality of Mithiladham

People like me kept on leaving their birthplace, their native land, their villages for a better urban life. Unfortunately, most of the villages there have not even reached into the modernities of 20th century, forget about 21st century.

Surprisingly, each and every village has got a mobile tower to run their devices but not the schools, or colleges or hospitals. If one wants to be educated or longs to have better lifestyle, one is not able to stay back in village.

I wish I could go back in my village and do something for the development of my village. I am not the first one to feel that, there are many like me but our hands are folded when we are reminded of our responsibilities and limitations.

Recently watched a movie in Maithili, Mithila Makhana (Foxnuts of Mithila) which somehow instigated me to bring the same sort of revolution that has been brought in the movie.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Anupam Mitu

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