mithilanchal


Mithila (Sanskrit: मिथिला, mithilā) was a city in Ancient India, the capital of the Videha Kingdom. The name Mithila is also commonly used to refer to the Videha Kingdom itself, as well as to the modern-day territories that fall within the ancient boundaries of Videha. The city of Mithila has been identified as modern day Janakpur in Dhanusa district of Nepal.

Geography and Climate

The Mithila region was situated on the north-eastern Indo-Gangetic Plain, in areas which today spreads over more than half of Bihar, India, and parts of adjoining Nepal. The major cities in the present day are Janakpur, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Jhanjharpur, Samastipur, Madhepura, Begusarai, Saharsa, Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Purbi Champaran, Paschim Champaran, Munger and Bhagalpur.

The climate is mainly dry and cool. In summer the temperature varies within the 35 to 45 degree Celsius range and in winter it is typically 5 to 15 degrees Celsius. The elevation is close to mean sea level. The soil is suited for agriculture, which is the main economic activity. Rainfall is sufficient for agriculture.

The Mithila area is flooded every year causing massive disruption and losses of billions of rupees. Dams on rivers such as the Kosi and the Ganga might alleviate the floods, but have not yet been built. Critics of dam projects fear that large dams in an earthquake-prone zone could prove more disastrous than annual floods. On account of Vidyapati's "Bhooparikraman" the palace of king Janak was on the bank of river Jamuna, now well known as Jamunia Dhar in Dijagal village 21 k.m. distant in south from Janakpur.

Economy

Agriculture is the main economic activity of the region. The main crops are paddy, wheat, pulses, moong, urad, arhar, jute (with a recent decline in its production), and maize.

The economy is not robust and the region is considered one of the poorest in India. Flooding destroys enormous amounts of crop every year. Due to absence of industry, a weak educational infrastructure and criminalized politics, the majority of the area's youth have had to relocate for education and earnings.

However, a resurgence of traditional artwork, Mithla Painting, is becoming a more important part of the economy and the government is supporting this artwork as part of India's national heritage.

History

According to D.D. Kosāmbi's historical books, the 1st millennium BCE text Śatpath Brāhmana tells that the king Māthava Videgha, led by his priest Gotama Rahugana, first crossed the Sadānirā (Gandaka) river and founded a kingdom. Gotama Rahugana was a Vedic rishi who composed many hymns of the first mandala of the Rgveda. His most notable hymns praise Sva-rājya, another name for the State of Videgha. Māthava Videgha, therefore, must belong to the Rgvedic period and must have preceded the period of the Śatpath Brāhmana by a considerable gap.

The most important reference to Mithila is in the Hindu epic Ramayana, where Lord Rama's wife Sita is said to have been the princess of Videha, born to King Janaka who ruled in Mithila. The Rāmāyana also mentions a sage who was a descendandant of Gotama Rahugana living near Ahilya-sthāna.

Other famous kings of Mithila during ancient period were Kings Bhanumath, Satghumanya, Suchi, Urjnama, Satdhwya, Kriti, Anjan, Arisnami, Srutayu, Supasyu, Suryasu, Srinjay, Sourmabi, Anena, Bhimrath, Satyarath, Upangu, Upgupt, Swagat, Snanand, Subrachya, Supraswa, Subhasn, Suchurut, Susurath, Jay, Vijay, Critu, Suny, Vith Habya, Dwati, Bahulaswa and Kriti Tirtiya.

Both the great saints Gautama Buddha, founder of Buddhism, and Vardamana Mahavira, the 24th and final Tirthankara of the Jain religion, are said to have lived in Mithila. The region was an important centre of Indian history during the first millennium.

A demand for separate state of Mitila is being raised by local organizations such as Mithila Rajya Abhiyan Samiti.[1]

Culture

Maithili, an Eastern Indic language, is spoken in Mithila. Maithili has previously been considered a dialect of both Hindi and Bengali. Today Maithili, is recognized in the Eighth Schedule of Indian official languages. Maithili sounds sweet and soft to outsiders, who often cannot tell whether an argument is taking place.

The Mithila region is rich with culture and traditions. People respect their parents, believe in peaceful life and have a strong belief in God. They worship the goddess of Power Durga. Every home of Mithila has own God or Goddess named Kuldevta. They generally live in larger families. The Hindu festivals are widely celebrated: Holi, Diwali, Durga Puja, Chhath and Shivratri.

A Mundan ceremony in Mithila.

The Mundan ceremony is a very popular tradition in Mithila. A child's hair is shaved for the first time, accompanied by bhoj (a party) and (sometimes extravagant) celebrations.

The Maithili marriage traditions are important to the people and unique to the region. The custom includes four days of marriage ceremonies called: Chautrthi, Barsait, Madhushravni, Kojagara, and finally Duragman (the first homecoming of the bride). The marriage is traditionally fixed using complex genealogical tables, called Panchang among Brahmins and Karna Kayasthas.

The name Mithila is also used to refer to a style of Hindu art, Madhubani art, created in the Mithila area. This art originated as ritual geometric and symbolic decorations on the walls and floors of a house, generally done by women before a marriage. The custom was not known to many outside the region. After paper was brought to the area, women began to sell their artwork and expand their subjects to popular and local Hindu deities as well as to the depiction of everyday events. Ganga Devi is perhaps the most famous Mithila artist; her work includes traditional ritual Mithila decorations, depictions of popular deities, scenes from the Ramayana, and events in her own life.

Folk stories are called grandmother stories in Mithila. The story of Gonu Jha is one popular tale.

A small film industry also exists. Of the many movies produced in Mailthili, "Sasta Jingi Mahag Senoor" and "Mamta Gabe Geet" are perhaps the best known.Off late " Sindurdan " also collected accolades. Among the documentary films that best presents the unparalleled cultural richness of Mithila are "The Cultural Heritage of Mithila" which showcases Pamaria, Pachania, Bhaant, Panaji-Prabandh, Sama-Chakeva, Salhes naach and Salhes gaatha gaayan, Kamla-Pooja etc. and "Mithila Paintings" which showcases the insights into the past, present and emerging forms of the Mithila Paintings by renowned filmmaker [[2]Kaushalesh Choudhary].