Wednesday, September 30, 2009

history of mithila

Mithila (Sanskrit: मिथिला, mithilā) was a kingdom in ancient India. It existed in the eastern Gangetic plains in areas which is today spread over more than half of Bihar state of India, and parts of adjoining Nepal. Mithila was the capital of Videha Kingdom as per epic Ramayana. This city is identified as modern day Janakpur in Dhanusa district of Nepal. The country of Videha is sometimes referred as Mithila though it was the capital city, much the same way as Kosala Kingdom is referred as Ayodhya though Ayodhya was the capital of Kosala kingdom.
The legend of Mithila extends over many centuries. Both Gautama Buddha and Vardamana Mahavira are said to have lived in Mithila. It also formed the center of Indian history during the first millennium, and has contributed to various literary and scriptural works.
The name Mithila is derived after Mythical King 'Miti'. He was supposed to have been created from body of his father King Nimi. He established the capital of his kingdom at Mithilapuri and hence the region came to be called Mithila. Since he was born out of body of his father, he took the title JANAK. After this, the Kings of Mithila were called Janak. The most famous Janak was Kushadhwaj, father of Sita. He was 21st Janak of Mithila. This Dynasty was also called Videh Janaks. There were 57 kings in the dynasty of Videh Janak.
[edit] Ancient History and Myths
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 the land, born to King Janaka, who ruled Mithila from Janakpur. Other famous kings of Mithila during ancient period are King 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, Kriti Tirtiya.
It is said that the last King of Janak Dynasty was of bad character. He was dethroned by public under leadership of Acharyas (Learned Men). Thereafter, Mithila remained without King for hundreds of years. Instead of King, a democratic system was followed were the ruler was elected by the people and the decisions were taken in a collective manner. In fact, Mithila can be said to be the first democracy of the world. This continued for several centuries till the region was attacked and conquered by Maghadan Empire.
Thereafter several dynasties such as Vajjisangh, Lichhavis, Shaishunag, Nand, Maurya, Shung, Kant, Gupta, Vardhan etc. ruled there from time to time. There was no significant ruler in Mithila after Janaks till 5th–6th century when Jaywardhan Raja Salhesh became King. He made his capital at Mahisautha-Sirha (presently in Nepal). He defended the region against attacks by Tibetans several times. Hence, he was called Shailesh (king of Mountains) from Jaywardhan which in local dialect was called Salhesh.
[edit] Ruling Dynasties of Mithila
[edit] Around 6th century to 9th century (Pal Dynasty)
Mithila was ruled by Pal Dynasty for three centuries. Pal Dynasty were followers of Buddhism, Their capital is believed to be located at present town of Balirajgarh (Babubarhi-Madhubani district). The last king of Pal Dynasty was Madanpal. Madanpal was a weak king, as he was defeated by Adishur Samant Sen's army.
[edit] Around 9th century to 11th century (Sen Dynasty)
Sen Dynatsy were followers of Hinduism and hence people of Mithila , being followers of Hinduism, helped Samant Sen in defeating Madanpal. Eminent scholar Vachaspati Mishra (from Village Thardhi in Madhubani district) was from this period, Sen Dynasty had five kings - Samant Sen, Hemant Sen, Vijay Sen, Vallal Sen and Laxman Sen (until the11th century).
[edit] Around 11th century to 14th century (Karnat Dyanasty)
Nanya Deva defeated the last King of Sen Dynasty, Laxman Sen and became King of Mithila. Nanya Deva had come from west and had his first capital at Simraun Garh (Birganj). After conquering entire Mithila, he shifted his capital to Kamaladitya Sthan (Kamladan).
Krnat Dynasty also had five kings namely Nanya Dev, Gang Dev ,Narshingh Dev, Shakrasingh Dev and Hari Singh Dev. Of these Hari Singh Dev became the most famous. He was instrumental in initiating and implementing PANJI VYAVASTHA in Maithil Brahmins and Maithil Kayasthas (Karn Kayasthas). He was also great patron of art and literature. In the court of Hari Singh Dev the Royal Priest was Pt. Kameshwar Thakur the author of 'VARNA RATNAKAR', which is considered to be the first prose, an encyclopedia in any north Indian language. Pt. Kameshwar Thakur later became founder of Oinwar Dynasty.
[edit] Kings from 1326AD to 1526 (Oinwar Dynasty)
In 1326, Firoz Shah Tughlak attacked and conquered Mithila region. The last king of Karnat Dynasty Harisingh Dev fled to Nepal. According to historian Dr. Upendra Thakur anarchy prevailed in Mithila region for next 27 years. In 1353 Firoz Shah Tughlak appointed Pt. Kameshwar Thakur as KARAD RAJA (rent paying king). Kameshwar Thakur belonged to village named Oini, which is presently in Muzaffarpur District. The dynasty was named after the village Oini as Oinwar Dynasty. Kameshwar Thakur, being of scholarly nature, was unable to collect and pay tax to Firoz Shah Tughlak. Thus, Kameshwar Thakkur was dethroned and his son, Bhogishwar Thakur was made next King of Mithila region. This dynasty was one of the few ruling dynasties of India who were Brahmins. Thereafter, the Mithila region had Kings from Brahmin caste only.
The list kings of Oinwar Dynasty is as under:
Kameshwar Thakur
Bhogishwar Thakur
Ganeshwar Singh
Kirti Singh
Bhavesh Thakur (also known as Bhav Singh) – He was younger son of Kameshwar Thakur. Since Kirti Singh died issueless, the kingdom passed over to Bhavesh Thakur.
Dev Singh
Shiv Singh – He declared himself to be independent King and stopped paying taxes to Tughlak empire. Due to his decision to challenge authority of Tughlaks empire, Ibrahim Shah Tughlak attacked Mithila. In the battle, Shiv Singh was killed.
Padma Singh – He was younger brother of Shiv Singh.
Queen Bishwas Devi – Padma Singh died died issueless at an early age. After his death, his wife Queen Bishwas Devi ruled Mithila region, but she too died soon after taking over reign of Mithila.
Hari Singh – He was cousin of Padma Singh. Since Padma Singh died issueless, the throne passed to Hari Singh.
Nar Singh
Dhir Singh (ruled 1459–1480)
Bhairav Singh (ruled 1480–1515) - He was a very popular king and initiated several development works like digging of ponds construction of roads, wells, temples, etc. He was a great patron of art and culture as well.
Rambhadra Singh Dev
Laxminath Singh Dev – He was the last King of OINWAR dynasty. Sikandar Lodhi attacked Mithila region in 1526 and Maharaja Laxminath Singh Dev was killed in eth ensuing battle.
Panji i.e. a genealogical record is a source of history. This record got started in 1326 A.D. after 32 of the birth of the king Harisimhadev. This record was compiled by brahmins. Raghudeva from Pandua family a contemporary of Mahesh Thakur in 16th century has mentioned Harisimhadev only for determination of time. He was not involved in making panji. It is also to be noted that a record could not be a vyavastha itself, so the word panji vyavastha is wrong. The record is called PANJI PRABANDH. Another confusion of this section is that the book VARNARATNAKAR was written by JYOTIRISHWAR THAKUR not by Kameshwar.
[edit] 1526–1577 - Period of Anarchy
Sikandar Lodhi made his son-in-law, Alauddin, the ruler of this area. During this period, Mogul Empire was beginning to take its root in Delhi. Alauddin was not a successful ruler and for next 50 years, anarchy prevailed in Mithila region.
When Akbar became emperor, he tried to bring normalcy to Mithila region. He came to the conclusion that only after a Maithil Brahmin was made King, peace can prevail and rent can be collected in Mithila. In 1577, Emperor Akbar declared Pt. Mahesh Thakkur as the ruler of Mithila. Pt. Mahesh Thakkur was of the mool, Kharaure Bhaur and hence that dynasty was called 'Khandwala Kul' and the capital was made in the northwest of Sarisab-Pahi and Rajgram.
[edit] 1577–1947 – Khandavala Dynasty
Raja Mahesh Thakur (expired 1558).
Raja Gopal Thakur He was eldest Son of Raja Mahesh Thakur. He died suddenly and was king for a very small period only.
Raja Parmanand Thakur He was second son of Raja Mahesh Thakur. He too ruled for a brief period before his death.
Raja Subhankar Thakur (expired 1607) - He was fifth son of Raja Mahesh Thakur.
Raja Purushottam Thakur (ruled - 1607–1623) (expired 1623). He was son of Raja Shubhankar Thakur. He was killed in 1623.

Raja Narayan Thakur (ruled 1623–1642)
Raja Sundar Thakur (ruled 1642–1662) (expired 1662).
Raja Mahinath Thakur (ruled 1662–1684) (expired 1684).
Raja Nirpat Thakur (ruled 1684–1700) (expired 1700).
Raja Raghu Singh (ruled 1700–1736) (expired 1736) - Raja Raghu Singh obtained lease of whole of Sarkar Tirhut including Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur at an annual rent of Rs.100,000, which was a huge amount at that time. The annual revenue of Sarkar Tirhut in 1685 AD was officially returned at Rs.7,69,287. At one time, during reign of Raja Raghu Singh, Nawab Mahabat Jung, Nawab Subahdar of Behar, got jealous of the wealth of Raja Raghu Singh and imprisoned his family at Patna. Raghu Singh escaped capture and later succeeded in getting the estate back along with large grant with Mughal Governor on the condition that "Do Justice, Relieve Distress, And Put The Country In Flourishing Condition. This condition was fulfilled by Raja Raghu Singh and subsequent Maharajas of Darbhanga. He built a mud fort at Bhawara near Madhubani.
Raja Bishnu Singh (ruled 1736–1740) (expired 1740).
Raja Narendra Singh (ruled 1740–1760) (expired 1760). Raja Narendra Singh died issueless. He adopted Raja Pratap Singh, great great grandson of Narayan Thakur, son of Raja Shubhankar Thakur, younger brother of Raja Sundar Thakur as his successor.
Raja Pratap Singh (ruled 1760–1776) (expired 1776). Raja Pratap Singh built Rajbari at Darbhanga and shifted the capital to Darbhanga from Bhawara.
Raja Madho Singh (ruled - 1776–1808) (expired 1808). He was younger brother of Raja Pratap Singh and succeeded Raja Pratap Singh upon his death. In 1776, Raja Madho Singh received grant of Dharampur in District of Purnea, Bihar from Shah Alam, Mughal Emperor of Delhi. Raja Madho Singh had a long dispute with British Government over revenue payment and extent of his right over the land.
Maharaja Chhatra Singh Bahadur (ruled 1808–1839) (expired 1839). He was second son of Raja Madho Singh. He was first in the family to hold the title of Maharaja Bahadur. Maharaja Chhatra Singh made over his estate and title to his eldest son Maharaja Rudra Singh Bahadur on ground of old age in 1839. He died a few days later after coronation of Maharaja Rudra Singh Bahadur.
Maharaja Rudra Singh Bahadur (ruled 1839–1850) (expired 1850). After death of Maharaja Chhatra Singh Bahadur, younger brothers of Maharaja Rudra Singh Bahadur were involved in a long litigation for succession to the estate. It was ultimately held by High Court of Calcutta that ordinary Hindu Law of Succession can not apply in this case and the Raj Darbhanga family would have to follow the family custom or Kulachar. Accordingly, Maharaja Rudra Singh Bahadur being the eldest son of Maharaja Chhatra Singh Bahadur was declared to be Maharaja of Darbhanga. This permanently settled the issue of succession and thereafter the succession was based upon primogeniture..
Maharaja Maheshwar Singh Bahadur (ruled 1850–1860) (expired 1860). Maharaja Maheshwar Singh Bahadur ruled for ten years. He expired in the month of October 1860 leaving behind two sons - Lakshmeshwar Singh and Rameshwar Singh, both of whom became Maharajas of Darbhanga later.
Maharaja Lakshmeshwar Singh Bahadur (ruled 1860–1898) (born - September 25, 1858 – died December 17, 1898). Maharaja Lakshmeshwar Singh was a known philanthropist. His statue was installed in Calcutta in 1904 at Dalhousie Square as a tribute to him. Maharaja Lakshmeshwar Singh Bahadur was a minor at time of death of his father and thus Raj Darbhanga was placed under Court of Ward. He was the first Maharaja of Darbhanga who received western education. He was taught by a British tutor - Mr. Chester Mcnaughton. After attaining majority, Maharaja Lakshmeshwar Singh Bahadur took over the reins of Raj Darbhanga. He entirely devoted himself to public work and was recognized as one of the greatest nobles and philanthropists of India at that time.
Maharaja Rameshwar Singh Bahadur (ruled 1898–1929) (born - January 16, 1860 – died July 3, 1929). Maharaja Rameshwar Singh Bahadur became Maharaja of Darbhanga after death of his elder brother Maharaja Lakshmeshwar Singh Bahadur, who died issueless. He was appointed to the Indian Civil Service in 1878, serving as assistant magistrate successively at Darbhanga, Chhapra and Bhagalpur. He was exempted from attendance at the Civil Courts. He was appointed a Member of the Legislative Council of Bengal (MLC of Bengal) in 1885. He was also a Member of Council of Governor General of India in 1899 and 1904, President of Bihar Landholder's Association, President of All India Landholder's Association, President of Bharat Dharma Mahamandal, Member of Council of State, Trustee of Victoria Memorial, Calcutta, President of Hindu University Society, M.E.C. of Bihar and Orissa, Member of Indian Police Commission (1902–03). He was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind medal in 1900. He was the only member of India Police Commission who dissented with the report and suggested that the recruitment to the Indian Police Services should be through a single exam only to be conducted in India and Britain simultaneously. Further as per his suggestion the recruitment should be without any basis colour or nationality. This suggestion was rejected by the India Police Commission.[1]
Maharaja Kameshwar Singh Bahadur (ruled 1929–1947 i.e. till independence of India on 15 August, 1947 when all the kingdoms merged with Union of India). (born - November 28, 1907 – died November 8,1962). He was member of the Council of State 1933–1946, Member of the Constituent Assembly 1947–1952 and the Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) 1952–1958 and 1960–1962.He was the first person in India to get a bust of Mahatma Gandhi made by celebrated artist and niece of Winston Churchill—Clare Sheriden. The bust was presented to the then viceroy of India Lord Linlithgow to be displayed in Government House (now Rashtrapati Bhawan). This was acknowledged by Mahatma Gandhi in a letter to Lord Linlithgow in 1940.[2]

madhubani art

Mithila Painting or Madhubani Painting is a style of Indian painting, practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar state, India.
OriginsThe origins of Madhubani painting or Mithila Painting are shrouded in antiquity. Tradition states that this style of painting originated at the time of the Ramayana, when King Janak commissioned artists to do paintings at the time of marriage of his daughter, Sita, to Lord Ram.Madhubani painting has been done traditionally by the women of villages around the present town of Madhubani (the literal meaning of which is forests of honey) and other areas of Mithila. The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud wall of huts, but now it is also done on cloth, hand-made paper and canvas.
As Madhubani painting has remained confined to a compact geographical area and the skills have been passed on through centuries, the content and the style have largely remained the same. Madhubani paintings also use two dimensional imagery, and the colors used are derived from plants. Ochre and lampblack are also used for reddish brown and black respectively.Madhubani paintings mostly depict nature and Hindu religious motifs, and the themes generally revolve around Hindu deities like Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Natural objects like the sun, the moon, and religious plants like tulsi are also widely painted, along with scenes from the royal court and social events like weddings. Generally no space is left empty; the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs. objects depicted in the walls of kohabar ghar (where newly wed couple see each other in the first night) are symbols of sexual pleasure and procreation.Traditionally, painting was one of the skills that was passed down from generation to generation in the families of the Mithila Region, mainly by women. The painting was usually done on walls during festivals, religious events, and other milestones of the life-cycle such as birth, Upanayanam (Sacred thread ceremony), and marriage.

ancient folks of mithila

Mithila Folk Song
The ClassificationThe most important and common type of lyrical folk songs in Maithili is Tirhuti.It represents the most popular and successful indigenous lyrical expression of Tirhut and is the richest of all classes of Maithili songs.All aspects of love affairs are unfolded therein.They sing of separation as well as of union.The Tirhuti has following classifications:-(I)Batagamani--It portrays the nayika(heroine) in abhisar, when she goes to meet her lover.It is sung out in a melody.Most of the songs are attributed to have been written by Vidyapati.(II)Goalari--It depicts the sports and youthful pranks of Krishna in the companies of Gopis of which poet Nandipati is most successful.(III)Raas--It deals with Krishna'ssportive lilas with Gopis.The most important writer of Ras is Sahebram Das.The influence of Brajabhasa is conspicuously perceptiblein such songs.(IV)Maana--It represents a sort of dramatic lyric depicting the annoyance of the beloved and the request of the lovers to mend matters .Umapati is the best writer of Maana. Other important songs are Samadauni,Lagani,Chaitabara,Malara,Yoga,Uchiti,Sohara,Choumasa and devotional songs like Nachari,Maheshvani,Gosaunik geet and Visnupada. (I)Samadauni:-On the occasion of the Navaratri,it is sung to bid adieu to goddess Durga.It is sung to bid farewell to ones own daughter when she goes to her husband's house after marriage.All important functions end with the singing of this song,popularly known as Bidai song.Gananath Jha and Vindhyanath Jha have made important contributions in this field.(II)Lagani:--It is sung by village women folk in the early hours of morning while grinding grains.The classical type of Lagani embodies 4-5 stanzas.Gananath Jha has used it as a medium of fine poetry.(III)Chaitabar--It represents a class of foik poetry and conveys emotions of love in the month of Chaitra.(March-April) It is also known as Chaiti.(IV)Malara--It is a seasonal song,sung generally in the dry and rainy seasons,having a distinct raga.(V)Yoga--It is sung to bind the bridegroom and thebride,even lover beloved,by divine incantations(VI)Uchiti--It is sung to convey the courtsey of the host to the distinguished visitor.The Yoga and Uchiti are the two peculiar classes of Maithili songs.These two songs have both literary and folk types.The Yoga songs can be traced back to the days of Vidyapati. Sohara,Barahmasa and Choumasa are the familiar types of all vernacular poetry and are found in almost all the languages of Bihar.Sohar represents the birth songs. Barahmasa represents the state of separation during the course of twelve months;Choumasa during the course of four months.These have both literary and folk forms.In Mithila,the ordinary people have to eke out their livlihood with great difficulty and as such long separation from the near and dear ones is a common feature.These songs are the products of such separation and various poets ,now unknown ,composed or contributed to the development of these songs.Nachari indicates songs representing direct prayer to Siva. Mahesvani is a song about Siva. Nachari and Mahesvani are often confused and kept in common parlance but the difference between the two is real and marked.Nachari refers to the estatic dance of Siva whereas Mahesvani is sung in praise of Siva and is addressed to Manain (Menaka, the mother of Gouri).It represents the life of Siva and more specially his marriage.Vidyapati,Lalkavi,Kanharam Das,Chanda Jha and others have composed some of the best Nacharis and Mahesvanis.The Gosaunik geet is sung in praise of Shakti and the people have been composing such songs since the days of Vidyapatis.(Coutesy--Mithila in The Age of Vidyapati by R.K.Choudhary Pp.418-419) Festival of Songs This is the season of festivals in Mithila. After Durga puja this is the festivals of lights - Diwali then Bhratri dwitia, Chitragupta Puja (dawat puja), Godhan (Sukrati), Nav anna, Deo Uthaan and the great legend of Sama Chakeva and Chugla is 'played' by the women and then Chhath, when the sun god is worshipped and is asked to remove all the miseries in life. They remain standing in rivers and ponds, half submerged in water, from the wee hours and wait for Sun to rise, they offer him sweets, sugar cane, beet roots, sweet roots, citrus fruits, banana, milk etc. During this time seasonal folk songs are sung by the women folk of the sweet memory of their father's house i.e. their Naihar, their benevolent and kind brothers who posses all good qualities in the world. This is the time when Sun is worshipped. They observe fast and ask from Sun to fulfill their desire to have son, good health, for their husband, brother and every one in the family & self. Then there is festival of Godhan -the welfare of cattle and those who rear cattle.Some samples of Folk songs :Chhath: J(1)Angana mein pokhri khunayal, chathi maiyya aeithin ayedooara par tamua tanayal, chathi maiyya aeithin ayeanchra sa galia baharab, chathi maiyya aeithin ayekerva aanab daala bheri tei par piayari oodhayab, chathi maiyya aeithin ayehathia par kalsa baisayab, tei par diya dharayab, chathi maiyya aeithin aye(2)Kanchahi baans ker gahabar hey, aahey sobaran lagal kebaartahi ma sa nikuli surujmani hey, aahey kon dai ukham dolaooaragha ker ber bhel hey.biheney key pahar ma domin bitiya heybitiya dhaniya dauriya ley aauaragha ker ber bhel hey.beti piayar supvaa ley aaupurab ranthi thar bhel hey.bihaney ke pahar me baniayan bitiya hey,baniayain navka kasailiya lai aauaragha ker ber bhel hey.bihaney key pahar mey tohi maalin bitiya ,maalin satranga haar ley aau:aragha ker ber bhel hey.bihaney key pahar mey tohi babhan bhaiyya heybaabhaan piayari janeuua ley aauaragha ker ber bhel hey.Sama Chakeva:rSAMA SONGS sama songs are very popular among the Young girls of Mithila.It is an interesting festival and it begins on the seventh day of the bright half of Kartik(November) and ends on Kartik Purnima.These songs describe the pathetic story of Sama.Its origin has been traced to the Padma and theSkanda Puranas.One mischievous Shudra made a false charge of Sama's illicit connection with an ascetic to her father Krishna.Krishna grew furious and cursed her to become a Sama bird.With the help of her brotherSamba she was emancipated on the day of Kartik Purnima.Saptarshi and Vrindaban attested her virtue.Sama's husband was Charuvaktra or Chakeva. The festival is celebrated throughout Mithila with great gusto.Clay toys are made on the occasion and characters are represented by them.The last day is the saddest day when Sama is believed to have left the life of a bird and sent honourably to her husband's home.These songs ridicule the slanderer and praise the brother. This is a very interesting game,where plenty of songs and actions are exhibited. Here are a few songs showing sentiments,emotions and plenty of memories of the chidhood spent at father's house.(Courtesy-A Survey of Maithili Literature--R.K.Choudhary.)(1)Koney bhaiyya aanthin aaler jhaler, koney bhaiyya aanthin patorkoney bhaiyya aanthin sankha churi, koney bhaiyya aanthin sindoorkoney bahino pinhthin aaler jhaler koney bahino pinhthin patorkoney bahina pinhthin sankha churi koney biahino pinhthin sindoorbadka bhaiya aanhthin aaler jhaaler majhla bhaiyya aanhthin patorsainjhla bhaiyya aanhthin sankha churi chhotka bhaiyya aanhthin sindoorbadki bahino pinhthin aaler jhaler manjhli bahino pinhthin patorsainjhli bahino pinhthin sankha churi chhotki bahino pinhthin sindoor(2)Gaam key adhikaari tohen majhlaa bhaiyya hobhaiyya haath das pokhri khunai dehochampa phul lagai deho heyphulwa lorhei ta bahini ghami geli heyaahey gham gelani sir key sindoor naina ker kajar ghamali heychhatwa lana doudal ailkhin badka bhiyya heybaiso bahino eiho judi chhahari ki hamaro key ashish diyokathi bajhayab ban tittir heyaahey kathi bajhayab raja hans chakevajaaley bajhayeb bahino tittir heyaahey raub sa bajhayeb raja hans chakevakhel karu hey bahino khel karu heybhaiyya jhatayal phool bahino haar guthu heyaahey seho haar pinhthin bhaujobahino khel karu hey(3)Chanan birhich tar thath bheli bahino sey falna bahinotaakathi bahino bhai ke batiyaehi baat aauta bhayya sey falna bhaiyyaheydekhi lebinh bhari aankhiyabahinya pasaari janu kanhak hey falna bahinofatat bahino bhai key chatiya(4)Chaur, chaur, chaurhamra bhaiyya kothi chaur.chhaur chhaur chhaurchugla ghar mein chhaurchugla karey chuglibilayyia karey meowchugla key jeebh hamnonch noonch khaun(5)Brindaban ma aagi laageykoi na mijhaavey heyhamar bhaiyya falna bhaiyaadaud daud mijhave hey(6)Sama hey chakeva heynahiraa nai bisraiha heysasura ma puja pai ha heykoral khet mei rahi ha heyjotal khet mei rahi ha heyrangei rang patiya oochhabhi ha heydhepa forhi forhi khai ha heyos pibi pibi rahi ha heyhamar bhai ka aasis diha heyaagila saal pher aaiha hey

mithila paintings

IntroductionThe 5000 years old Indian culture has given successive generations a wonderful mindset tuned in amalgamation of tradition and modernity, and value system, which has been retained with excellent continuity despite the passage of time, repeated foreign invasions, and the enormous growth in population. It gives them a unique personality today, as it has done in the past. In fact, these constitute enduring imprints on Indian consciousness. The 20th century is significant in many fields and art of course is an area to be mentioned. As culture has a curious way of belonging to its times, and yet of being removed from it. Culture has its own agenda and has habitually risen above the conditions prevailing on the ground in every period of human history. "The songs, dance-forms, literary activities and works of art produced in the 20th century have found new expressions and have gone to prove that this century has not only been the greatest in human history but has also been a period of new discoveries and radical renewals. While all the art forms have exhibited significant achievements, several entirely new ones have been invented and popularised such as cinema, pop music, and television documentary (Singh B. P. 2003:35)0." Mithila painting, also known as Madhubani painting, is in its originality an art form practiced by the women of all castes and communities of the region. The women of this country from time immemorial have been involving themselves in the various forms of creativity. The best one can find in their creativity is the relationship between nature, culture and human psyche. Also they use only those raw materials, which are available easily in abundance in the locality they are surrounded with. Through folk paintings and other forms of art they express their desire, dream, expectation and amuse themselves. It is a parallel literacy by which they communicate their aesthetic expression. Their art of creativity itself can be treated as a style of writing by which their emotions, expectations, freedom of thoughts, in the maryada1, etc. Their background, gender, aspirations, hope, aesthetic sensibility, cultural knowledge, etc., find expression in all possible forms of their art. What one needs is to know the level of their enculturation and mode of learning before talking or writing about their art. Putting women in the center, this article is written on the Mithila painting, folk creators and the state of painting, in the same spirit.No region of this great country is untouched with the creativity of the women. We see the example of phulkari in Punjab, warli in Gujarat, chikan embroidery in Lucknow, weaving in the North-east, kantha in Bengal, miniature paintings in the state of Rajasthan, kethari, sujani and of course mithila paintings in the Mithila region of Bihar.The Mithila painting is one of the living creative activities of the women of this region. It is a famous folk painting on paper, cloth, readymade garments, movable objects etc., mainly by the village women of Mithila. Originally it is a folk art, practiced by the women of all castes and communities, including the Muslims, on walls and floors using the natural and vegetable colours. Later some people took interest in it and motivated the women to translate their art from walls and floors to the canvas2 and now the new form has given this a very distinct identity in the art world as well as in the market. This folk art has a history, a cultural background, women's monopoly and distinct regional identification. Where is Mithila? What is the cultural and historical significance of this land? Why is it that this art is that special in Mithila? These are the few questions that deserve an answer before anything can be written about this art form.Far away from Indian big cities and the modern world lies a beautiful region once known as Mithila. It was one of the first kingdoms to be established in eastern India. The region is a vast plain stretching north towards Nepal, south towards the Ganges and west towards Bengal. The present districts of Champaran, Saharsa, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Supaul, Samastipur etc., and parts of Munger, Begusarai, Bhagalpur and Purnea of Bihar cover Mithila. It is completely flat and free from rock or stone. Its soil is the alluvial slit deposited by the river Ganges, a rich, smooth clay dotted with thousands of pools replenished by the monsoon, the only reservoirs until the next monsoon. If the monsoon is late or scanty, the harvest is in jeopardy. But if the rain god is kind, the whole plain bursts into green from October to February, dotted with man-made ponds where beasts and peasants bath beneath ancient vatvrikshas3. Madhubani is the heartland where the paintings are more profuse than elsewhere. "The region's rich vegetation so impressed ancient visitors that they called it Madhubani, 'Forest of Honey' (Vequaud, Yves 1977:9)"4, the name of the most acknowledged district for this painting. In this mythical region, Rama, the handsome prince of Ayodhya and incarnation of the Vishnu, married princess Sita, born of a furrow her father King Janaka had tilled. Mithila is that sacred land where the founders of Buddhism and Jainism; the scholars of all six orthodox branches of Sanskrit learning such as Yajnavalkya, Bridha Vachaspati, Ayachi Mishra, Shankar Mishra, Gautam, Kapil, Sachal Mishra, Kumaril Bhatt and Mandan Mishra were born. Vidyapati, a Vaisnav poet of 14th century was born in Mithila who immortalized a new form of love songs explaining the relationship between Radha and Krishna in the region through his padavalis and therefore the people rightly remember him as the reincarnation of Jaideva (abhinavajaideva). Karnpure, a classical Sanskrit poet of Bengal, in his famous devotional epic, the Parijataharanamahakavya gives an interesting account confirming the scholarship of the people of Mithila. Krishna tells his beloved Satyabhama, while flying over this land on way to Dwarka from Amravati, "O lotus-eyed one behold! Yonder this is Mithila, the birthplace of Sita. Here in every house Saraswati dances with pride on the tip of the tongue of the learned (Mishra, Kailash Kumar 2000)"5 Mithila is a wonderful land where art and scholarship, laukika and Vedic traditions flourished together in complete harmony between the two. There was no binary opposition.Background--(Go toIntroduction Discussion Conclusion Like the diversity of India, its folk art also presents a huge canvas and depicts the cultural mosaics of this country in a very colourful style. This art can rightly be termed as an ocean of the folk art6, which, since earliest times, has been fed by the rivers of popular artistic creativity - rivers that have flowed into it from all cultural-geographical pockets of the Indian sub-continent. The well-known grammarian, Panini, drew a distinction between artists - the rajashilpi, or craftsman employed by the court - and the gramashilpi, or village craftsman (Mookerjee R.K. 1962:16).7 Originally shilpin would seem to have been a term generally applied to the technically trained craftsman; later, however, it came to denote the artisan (Puri, B.N. 1968:217)8. Thus the writing concerning the theory of art are referred to collectively as the shilpashastras (Kramrisch, S 1946:9).9 Being for the most part of a highly schematic character, these manuals of artistic instruction could not, of course, be expected to include a description of folk art or of amateur art practised by women at home. By and large they form part of orthodox ecclesiastical literature with art as the handmaiden of the courts of Brahmanic orthodoxy (Coomaraswamy, A.K.1964: 33-34)10. But that did not cause any disturbance for the women and the commoners of India to practice various forms of creativity through various mediums on the occasion of rituals, altars, and festivals and also during the leisure period. The fellow villagers and locals always appreciated their creativity and innovation. As a result, in Sanskrit, as well as in the folk tradition, an artist is treated as a person with a magnetic ability to create a world of imagination. Metaphorically, an artist is always compared with the Gods. "In Hinduism, Vishnu has a thousand names, many of which refer to works of art. In Islam, one of the hundred names of Allah is Musawwer, the artist. The Sanskrit word kala (art) means the divine attributes which direct human acts and thoughts. Man, God and art are inseparable. Art is not removed from everyday life, it reflects a world view (Saraswati Baidyanath 1999:10)11 No distinction is made between fine and decorative, free or servile arts. The eighteen or more professional arts (silpa) and the sixty-four vocational arts (kala) embrace all kinds of skilled activity. There is no difference between a painter and a sculptor. Both are known as silpi or karigar. The term silpa designates ceremonial act in the Asvalayana Srautasutra, and in this sense it is close to karu, which in the Vedic context stands for a maker or an artist, a singer of hymns, or a poet. In a reference in the Rgveda, Visvakarma, a god of creation, is mentioned as dhatu-karmara, while karmara alone refers to artisans and artificers (Rgveda X.72.2; Atharveda III 5-6; Manu IV 215)12. Visvakarma is supposed to create things out of dhatu, "raw material", an act known as sanghamana (Rgveda X 72.2)13. The process of cutting, shaping and painting has been often explained in the text by the taks14.In Mithila a woman does painting on the wall, surface, movable objects, and canvas; makes images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythological characters from the lump of clay; prepares objects such as baskets, small containers, and play items from sikki grass; does embroidery on quilt - popularly known as kethari and sujani; sings varieties of ritual and work songs (Mishra, Kailash Kumar 2003)15. These artistic activities are done by a lady as a routine work that makes her a complete creative personality: a singer, a sculptor, a painter, an embroidery design maker and what not! Without knowing these primary details one may not understand the aesthetic wonder of Mithila paintings. From generation to generation the women of Mithila have produced a vigorous distinctive painting. That this traditional art has survived the innumerable vicissitudes of history is due, first of all, to the social organization of Mithila, one based on the village community, in whose corporate life the women have clearly understood roles. Beyond their extended families, the women artists work for a rural society with whose requirements they are perfectly acquainted. It is within this framework that the women continue to reproduce age-old forms; indeed countless recapitulations have resulted in an attitude of mind in which they can produce the most abstract designs without conscious effort. The possibility of any radical assertion of individuality in the modern sense is extremely limited (Mookerjee Ajit 1977: 7)16. This communal village life is strengthened and sustained by the universal prevalence of social gatherings, traditional storytelling, dancing and singing festivities and ceremonies, processions and rituals.Discussion------(Go to Introduction Background Conclusion) In Mithila, painting is normally done by women folk in three forms: painting on floor, painting on wall and painting on movable objects. Aripan, under the first category, is made on the floor with the paste of arva (crude) rice. This rice paste is called pithar in the local language. Apart from the floor it is also made on banana and maina17 leaves and pidhi (wooden seats). A woman or a girl does it using her right hand's fingertips. In tusari puja, a festival celebrated by the unmarried girls in order to please Gauri and Shiva to have a suitable husband; an aripan is made with dry rice powder in white, yellow and red colours. Aripan is of different types suiting different occasions. Astadala, sarvatobhadra, dasapata and swastika are its main varieties. Wall paintings are multicolored. Three to four colors are usually used to depict the wall paintings. Pictures include those of nayana-jogini, purain18, carrier of fish, curd, jackfruit, trees of fruits such as mango and pomegranate and birds like peacock. Attractive floral motifs adorn the wall on three sides of the entrance. Paintings on movable objects include those on clay models of pots, elephants, birds like Sama and chakeba; Raja Salhesa, bamboo structure, mat, fan and objects made of sikki19. Decorative multicolored designs made on the faces of brides and the sumangalis20 also fall in this category. Many of these paintings have great tantrik significance. Certain non-Vedic rites during the marriage ceremony, practiced exclusively by the women, like thakka-bakka, nayana-jogini etc., are directly related to the Mithila tantra.The tradition of wall paintings as well as surface paintings for beautification of dwellings and ritual purposes in Mithila is believed to have survived from the epic period. Tulsidasa in his magnum opus the Ramcharitamanasa gives a vivid account of Mithila painting decorated for the marriage of Sita and Rama. Influenced with the wonderful pair - Rama and Sita -Gauri, the Consort of Siva, desired to participate in the actual marriage ritual and wanted to paint the kohabar21 where the sumangalis had to perform songs and related rituals for this divine ideal couple. These decorations are mythological murals, added with deities of Hindu pantheon, besides regional flora and fauna. The women artists, according to the old age tradition, are the sole custodians who practice this folk painting passing down for generations from mother to her daughter. They have been retaining this great art form in the region since time immemorial. The girl learns to play with the brush and colors at an early age that finally culminates in the kohabar, which acquires great sanctity in the social life. All religious ceremonies relating to the marriage are performed in the kohabar. The ahibaatak patil22 is kept burning in all through for four days.The present form of Mithila paintings, also called Madhubani paintings, are the translation of the wall paintings, floor paintings and terracotta idols onto paper or canvas23. This experiment is not very old. In the late sixties, twentieth century, in order to create the job opportunity for the women to face the cruel challenge of the terrible drought, some women were approached to translate their art from walls, floors and other form of creativity to the paper or canvas. They did and it worked miraculously. At first when the ritual was fixed on paper it had a very small audience at the receiver's end but it certainly opened a new world of art appreciators and also potential buyers of their artworks in the world. This was a great success and a ticket to trade. Since then the painting medium has diversified. Wall paintings were transferred to hand made paper (which was of poster size) and gradually it laid the way for other mediums and motifs like greeting cards, dress materials, sun-mica etc. The stylized figures, fierce lions with electrified manes, the human profiles reminiscent of ancient Cretan pottery, the bright native colours and all possible indigenous experiments appealed to the audience of the world. In the beginning only a few Brahman women were given the opportunity to practice this art but after ten years some women of the Kayasthas also came forward with a new style. Till now, the women of the Harijans were not given the opportunity to experiment in this art with their hands. On careful examination I found an interesting story behind this. The women of higher castes were not allowed in the region to cross the boundary of their houses, however they wanted to do some work for generating finance to run their family smoothly mainly during the natural calamities. One folk poet, Faturilal of present Shahpur village of Madhubani had described the pathetic condition of the people during famine in late nineteenth century in his famous poetry known as the Akalkavitta24. Influenced with his poetic description the then Maharaja of Darbhanga, Maharaja Laxmeshwar Singh decided to create job opportunities with the help of the British ruler for the people. The women of lower castes however were helping their husbands or male counterparts by working in the agricultural fields of better off people and also as maid servant in the houses of higher castes. This time also some people thought of involving the women of higher castes in some creative business. Mahatma Gandhi's experiment with charkha25 came as a wonder for all the women of Maithil Brahmans. They found it very easy as earlier they were preparing cotton thread on tekuli for preparing the janeu or jagyopaveeta26. The khadi workers used to give raw cotton to them in every house and collect their prepared yarns. Very delicate and costly khadi clothes are woven from these yarns today and they are in great demand everywhere in the country. Some women prepare such very fine thread that at times the length of a sacred thread is contained in the case of a piece of cardamom. Anyway, this created a space for women. Khadi centres used to give money as well as clothes for their labour. This was a respectful job mainly for destitute, widows and poor women of higher castes in the locality. And the second experiment was Mithila paintings. As a result some women of the Brahman caste such as Sita Devi contributed to promote the Brahmin style of Mithila paintings. This art, characterised by bright colours and an absence of shade, is mainly concerned with the khobars27 and gods and goddesses (Krishna, Rama and Durga mostly). Bawa Devi and her daughter, Sarita Devi later made important personal contributions.Another social group, the women of the Kayasthas, was also facing the similar problem. They were landless community and their women also got attracted towards this art form to gain some finance. They worked hard on the art and also in the entrepreneurship and finally achieved recognition in the seventies. The Kayastha women earned their name for their elaborate line paintings. Most of the Kayastha women do outline paintings only. They cover their sheets of paper or cloth or any object with the care of cartographers, producing finished pictures where exquisite execution is more impressive in view of the difficult conditions in which they work. They depict village or religious scenes to the finest details such as the late Ganga Devi, Pushpa Kumari, Karpoori Devi, Mahasundari Devi and Godawari Dutta. These two forms of Mithila expression, both due to women from the higher castes, embody traditional Mithila art.The third group, the Harijan women, came forward in the 1980s. The women of the Dusadh and the Chamar were doing all forms of traditional paintings and art forms for ritual purposes and also for decorating their dwellings. Influenced by the entrepreunership and experiment of the Bramhans and the Kayasthas they experimented the godna28 and other bright colour in their depiction of paintings. Their pictorial alphabet began to include lines, waves, circles, sticks and snails, opening the way to stylization and more abstraction. That also worked. Jamuna Devi and Lalita Devi are famous Harijan female painters. Lalita Devi sews faces of deities like fruits; profusion of motives seems to rightly counterbalance the precariousness of existence, they transcend their daily lives to harvest new creations. And now women of all castes have been practicing this art as a job earning profession.Being the folk of the villages, these artists rely on the kindness of nature for colors. It provides them with a wonderful range of natural hues derived from clay, bark, flowers and berries. The colors are usually deep red, green, blue, black, light yellow, pink and lemon. They create mood and hence played an important role. For instance, energy and passion find expression through the use of red and yellow, as monochrome crashed over large surfaces of the painting. Concentration of energy and the binding force is best reflected in red while green governs the natural leaves and vegetation. The Brahmins prefer the very bright hues while the Kayasthas opt for muted ones. For the Harijan style of paintings, hand made papers is washed in cow dung. Once the paints are ready, two kinds of brushes are used - one for the tiny details made out of bamboo twigs and the other for filling in or space is prepared from a small piece of cloth attached to a twig. In the beginning homemade natural colours were obtained from plant extracts like henna leaves, flower, bougainvillea, neem, etc. These natural juices were mixed with resin from banana leaves and ordinary gum in order to make the paint stick to the painting medium. Home made paints, though cheap, was time consuming and produced less than the requirement. The solution was at hand to switch to the synthetic colors available aplenty in the market. Now colours come in powdered form, which are then mixed with goat's milk. Black was obtained from the soot deposits by the flame of dibia29 dissolved in gum.The kohabar is replete with paintings based on mythological, folk themes, and tantric symbolism. The paintings in this chamber are designed to bless the couple. The central theme of all paintings is love and fertility, though the approach may vary. It can commence with the story of Sita's marriage or Krishna - Radha episode with the ecstatic circle in which he leads the gopis. The people of Mithila, also known as Maithils, are Sakti worshippers with the influence of tantric rituals and so Siva-Sakti, Kali, Durga, Ravana and Hanuman also appear in their murals. Symbols of fertility and prosperity like fish, parrot, elephant, turtle, sun, moon, bamboo tree, lotus, etc., are more prominent. The divine beings are positioned centrally in the frame while their consorts or mounts or simply their symbols and floral motifs form the background. The human figures are mostly abstract and linear in form; the animals are usually naturalistic and are invariably depicted in profile. It begins with the flow of the brush without any preliminary sketching. Though natural colours and twigs have given way to brushes and artificial paints, the subject of Mithila paintings has changed enormously.The commercialization has caused serious harm to this art. The women and men are learning this art from the markets in towns and metropolitan cities. The trainers themselves do not know the essence and aesthetic beauty of this folk art and they teach their students in utter ignorance. Some of them do not know the colour combination, obtaining the colour from the nature, preparing the background, relationship between rhythm, colour, songs, rituals, dance and the art of painting. The themes and designs of the paintings are, now, in most of the cases decided by the buyers. The buyer-centric approach has caused serious threat to the originality of colour, design, motif, and sensitivity of this great art form. In the name of the tantric painting, we see the women have painted something very different from the tradition of Mithila. Commercialization of this art has created the interest of several males in it. They have been now also painting without knowing the significance of women in it. For them it is an industry that can easily provide a job opportunity for them. They are willing to paint anything as per the requirement of the buyers in the name of Mithila painting.But when we talk about the Mithila painting as folk or traditional painting, which is painted on a ritual occasion or any ritual painting of India we see many activities are combined. This combination, in fact gives special significance to the art. "Viewed at the level of perception and experience, all these local, regional, macro pan - Indian, and beyond Indian expression of art emerge and are held together by an integral vision that makes life an art, part and parcel of a single totality where life functions and creative art are inseparably intertwined. Painting, music, dance, poetry, and other functional objects are inseparable from myths, rituals, festivals and ceremonies. There is no dichotomy between the sacred and profane, life and art. The human and the divine are in a continuum, in a constant movement of interpretation and transformation (Kapila Vatsyayan 1996:6)30." When a painter paints a wall or a floor, she is supported by other women by way of singing songs and helping tunes. The lesson drawn from the folk stories and narratives also help her in painting the themes of various requirements. The tantric paintings for instance, are influenced by the famous narratives of the Madhusravani katha. This katha is narrated before a newly married bride on the occasion of Madhusravani for 13-15 continuous days by an elderly and experienced lady who is usually well versed in the art of narrative. She dramatises the stories in a very lively manner and narrates the origin of earth and various tantric stories. This festival is celebrated with songs, dance, ritual paintings; spell of mantras, etc. One such complete folk-cum-tantric story of Manasa Debi is given below:Manasa Debi was a mind-born daughter31 of Siva. She was born of Siva's semen left on a chikanipata32. She is known as Bisahari33 and said to have extraordinary supernatural power to bless her devotees. She can also ruin and kill those who do not believe in her existence and offer their prayer to her. There was a very rich ship merchant, named Chanrakar. He was also known to the people as Chandu Saudagar34. He was a great devotee of Siva. He had six sons and a happy family. He did not consider Manasa as a Goddess. Manasa Debi did not like this attitude of Chandu Saudagar and killed all his six sons by sending black snakes. However Chandu Saudagar did not relent. One day pleased with the devotion of Chandu Siva appeared in his dream and expressed his willingness to bless him with some great things as per the desire of Chandu. Chandu Saudagar asked him for a son. Siva agreed to bless him with a son but put a condition before him. " If you want to have a son who will have long life, he would be a fool, lethargic and an idiot. Instead if you want to have an ideal, intelligent and handsome son he will die at the early age of 20", said Siva, "now you tell me what exactly you want." After a serious thought Chandu Saudagar opted for an intelligent son who would have a short life. Later, Chandu's wife gave birth to a male child whose name was Bala Lakshendra or Lakhinder. Lakhinder was bright, intelligent and a very cultured child. Everybody was happy with his behaviour. When he reached the marriageable age his father wanted to solemnise his marriage ceremony with an equally qualified and highly cultured girl. After a great search, Chandu Saudagar saw Bihula. She was very beautiful, meritorious, highly cultured and a homely girl. Chandu also came to know that according to her family tradition every woman dies as a sumangali and none of them would become a widow at any point of time. In this family tradition of Bihula, Chandu Saudagar saw a ray of hope for his dear and affectionate son Lakhinder and as a result he immediately decided to choose her as his daughter-in-law.The marriage was solemnised in a happy atmosphere. Lakhinder was bitten by a dangerous cobra at the behest of Manasa Debi on his first night of the bridal-bed in the bridal chamber itself. Lakhinder cried in helplessness and breathed his last. The innocent but firm Bihula decided to remain with his dead body on a raft in the river Ganges. Chandu and neighbouring people made futile attempts to dissuade her. But she was determined. Finding no other alternative, Chandu gave permission to Bihula. She started her voyage on a raft along with her husband's dead body. The current slowly carried the raft. She had to face various difficulties in her journey, but she overcame them all. Ultimately she found a washerwoman washing the clothes by the side of the river Ganges. Her small child was disturbing her. Getting irritated with the behaviour of her girl child, the washerwoman killed her baby and started washing her clothes. Once she had washed all her clothes, she sprinkled some drops of water on the face of her baby and the dead baby became alive. Bihula took no time to understand the supernatural power of this lady and took shelter at her feet and narrated her the sad story.In accordance with the advice of washerwoman, Bihula reached the Mahadeoloka35 with her. On the instruction of the washerwoman, Bihula performed a wonderful dance to please the Lord. The Lord was very impressed by her graceful performance and was moved by the story of her tragic life on earth and heaven. He called Manasa and asked her to give the reasons of her tragedy. Manasa vehemently denied that she was responsible for the tragedy of Bihula. However, Bihula succeeded in producing definite evidence. But Manasa insisted that she was not responsible for the sad plight of Bihula, and it was Chandu Saudagar, her father-in-law, who was solely responsible, because he always abused and disrespected Manasa Debi and did not consider her to be a goddess worthy of worship. Manasa then told Bihula that if Chandu Saudagar were to worship her, she would bring Lakhinder back to life. Bihula felt the hope of restoration of life for the corpse of her husband in the statement of Manasa and agreed to her proposal. Manasa then brought Lakhinder and other six sons of Chandu Saudagar back to life by chanting spells. At the humble request of Bihula, Manasa recovered all the boats of Chandu Saudagar along with the cargo and crew that had been submerged by the wrath of Mansa Debi. She thus fulfilled the desire of Bihula. With all the seven sons and lost property of Chandu Saudagar, Bihula came down to the city in the earth where the old eyes of Chandu Saudagar and his wife were counting the days to breathe their last. All of a sudden they received all their lost sons along with the cargo and crew.Now Chandu Saudagar realized the power of Bihula and gave his consent to worship the deity - Manasa Debi. The goddess blessed him. He realized that there was none except Manasa Debi in these three worlds. Finally, he worshipped Manasa with offerings of various fruits and animals.Thus, Chandu Saudagar, a devout follower of Siva, changed his religious ideas and became one of the staunch followers of the Manasa-cult, which was originally a tantric-cum-folk cult.The other stories narrated during the Madhusravani are Satik Katha; Pativrata Sunaynak Katha; Bala-Basantak Katha; Gosaunik Katha; Chanai Bairsi Katha and Raja Srikarak Katha. The Madhusravani is celebrated in the rainy month of the Savan. Everywhere snakes and other poisonous insects are found in abundance. People try to please the deities and these serpent deities by way of offering puja, singing songs, celebrating festivals, invocating mantras etc., the place where the Madhusravani katha is narrated, is decorated with the ritual paintings. Some women sing some tantric songs36 during the decoration in a falsetto tone. Through the song the snake deity is being worshipped in order to bless the people, mainly the groom of the newly married bride.The purpose behind giving the summary of one folk narrative, narrated on the occasion of the Madhusravani is to explain the interconnectivity amongst various activities in the creation of a ritual art. This interconnectedness get lost when the art is experimented as a commodity and sold in the market in huge quantum. A lady when painting the wall does not expect any financial return from anywhere but when she paints in order to sell her painting as a commercial production, she becomes a sales girl. Her entire attention shifts from culture to consumerism and she puts herself in the mercy of her buyers. She paints not to retain tradition but to earn better livelihood.In the last twenty years, in order to get job opportunities, a very huge population of Mithila has migrated to the cities and mega-cities of India and abroad. This is a continuous trend. Many of them have settled in those cities. They are emotionally attached with their ritual and tradition. Marriages are solemnized in these cities in the banquets and hotels. And no traditional marriage can take place without kohbara painting. These paper and cloth paintings therefore solve their purpose. Now they decorate the banquets, hotels or any other venues with the Mithila paintings and feel very much rooted in their tradition. Such development has given a new and potential group of buyers to the painters.Some individual painters i.e., Karpoori Devi, Ganga Devi and Jamuna Devi have innovated as per the requirements of their potential buyers. Ganga Devi has wonderfully depicted the Ramayana episode in her paintings.Ganga Devi also depicted her journey from Madhubani, a small town in north Bihar to All India Medical Sciences, New Delhi she made in order to get treatment of cancer she was suffering from. The train, doctors, hospital, syringe, medical ward everything she drew delicately. Her innovations were excellent, appealing and unique in many respects. Some critics however did not appreciate such step thinking that it might disturb the originality of the folk painting of Mithila but majorities of them were in agreement with Ganga Devi. She did loose the originality of her style, brush, colour, canvas and thought processes in her creativity.Together with her brother Mitar Ram, but to a greater extent, Jamuna Devi has developed a brightly coloured style that has no equivalent in Mithila art. Jamuna Devi is self-taught and no rules apply to her work that evokes children's play and raw art. She delights in portraying animals - cows, for example. Her representations of the sacred animals range from a parody of anteaters to a hybrid combination of dancing angels and juggling balls. Many of her paintings can be viewed upside down, showing her total freedom from conventions. But she is very strict to maintain the tradition in terms of obtaining colour, preparing background of the canvas, depicting the pictorials etc.These painters paint landscapes, rivers, and any other things their customers want them to paint.In the villages of Jitwarpur and Ratni the Mithila paintings have emerged as a commercial activity where children can be seen engaged in arranging the hand crafted paper or fetching the colours. In my recent visit to Jitwarpur, I saw Jamuna Devi teaching her more than 15 students ranging from the Brahmans to the Harijan girls. On my enquiry she said, "I teach them as their mother. They feel they are at their home. I do not charge any money from the trainees. If I charge, my art will be polluted. The best reward that I get is when a Brahman girl after successful completion of her training touches my feet to get my blessings. I then bless her from the innermost core of my hearts and also issue a perfection certificate."Mithila painting is more than an art. Through this creative ability a group of women express their desires, dreams, expectations, hopes and aspirations to the people. If you ask them what they are doing they would respond, "We are writing this kohabar or gahwar37". For them their style is a kind of script through which they communicate with the male folk or with the people of the rest of the world. They are the creative writers who write their feelings through the medium of paintings. They are the creators and close to the god in the perfection. Because of money culture some men have also jumped into this creativity but in its essence and nature even today it is a women's creativity.Conclusion----(Go to Introduction Background Discussion) If the Bharat Natyam, Manipuri, Kuchipuri, Odessy and the Satria dance forms can be retained in their originality (not of course in the water tight compartment) and get popularized day by day, why cannot this great folk painting be also retained in its originality in harmony with the nature, people and the tradition! The recent trends of consumerism, market and selling attitude have made this art a maidservant of the moneyed people. Selling art objects is not a bad practice but surrendering the entire traditional creativity and values before buyers at the cost or originality is something that disturbs a commoner or an insider where such art is done. A serious thought is urgently needed in order to retain the original favour and smells of the Mithila paintings. Researchers, NGO professionals, folk artists, and people concerned all should come together to adopt the appropriate measures to retain this art in its originality.

maithili,..the ancient culture

Maithili is an Indo-Aryan language that is spoken by the people of North- Eastern Bihar and Nepal. The language has been named Maithili because it is spoken in the ancient land of Mithila. It is also called Tirhutia because Tirhut is another name of the same region, which is derived from Tirabhukti, which means the bank of the river purified thrice by the sacrifices. An Italian scholar named Amaduzzi in his book Alphabetum Brahmmanicum (1771A.D.) has mentioned this language as Maitili.
At present, the language has about 30 million speakers in the 26 districts of N.E. Bihar. Moreover it is the second state language of Nepal. The language is spoken by 12% of the total population there. P.E.N (an international organization of letters for Poets, Essayists, Novelists) and the Sahitya Akademi, India have recognized Maithili.
It is the sixteenth most spoken languages in India and the fortieth most spoken languages of the world. It has its own script called the Mithilakshar or Tirhuta, originated from Brahmi, a script of 3 BC also found in Asokan Inscriptions. Present day Maithili writers and public at large have adopted Devanagari script because of its widespread use, popularity and convenience.
Scholars believe that Siddhacharyas formed Protomaithili during 8-9th c. A.D. when they composed Charyapada (vide Prof. R.K.Chaudhary'sThe Survey of Maithili Literature ) since then the language has progressed and several works have been found. The forms of Protomaithili words are also obtained sporadically in Prakrit Paingalam and other Sanskrit works written by scholars of Mithila under the native influence. In 14th c AD Kavi Shekhar Jotirishwar used the language Avahatta, a form of Protomaithili in his Varnaratnakar, which depicts the oldest prose used for the first time in any of the languages of Northeastern India. Vidyapati the most prolific writer has also used Avahatta, form of Proto Maithili, in his dramas, the Kirtilata and Kirtipataka. He also composed melodious poems depicting the love of Radha-Krishna in his Padavali that is written in the Maithili of medieval period. Vidyapati also influenced Nepali, Bengali, Assamese, Oriya and Manipuri literature during the medieval period. His influence has also been seen unto the modern period in the Shyama Sangeet of Rabindranath Thakur ,composed by pen name as Bhanu Singher Padavali.
Maithili also flourished in the court of Kings of Nepal, during Malla period. Several dramas, anthologies of lyrical poems, songs, and inscriptions in Maithili are available in Nepal of this period In Assam, Ankiya natak's dialogue and songs used to be composed in Maithili in the period of Shankardev and Madhavdev.During the last 150 years the foreign scholars like Colebrooke (1801), Hoernle (1880), Grierson (1881), Kellog (1893) and others have studied Maithili's grammar, phonology, lexicography, historical surveys, and comparative linguistics. These scholars along with Indian linguists like Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterji and Mahapundit Rahul Sankrityayan have declared Maithili as a full fledged independent language which has originated from Sanskrit-Prakrit, Magadhi-Prakrit, Apabhramsa, to Avahatta, Protomaithili and then developed into the formation of modern Maithili. Earlier attempts were made by Sir G.A Grierson to publish the grammar in 1881 AD, chrestomathy and vocabulary of the language in 1882 AD and Bihar peasant life in 1885 AD to compile the form of Maithili words. He also collaborated with Hoernle to write a comparative dictionary of the Bihari languages in 1885 & 1889 AD. In 1946, Pundit Deenbandhu Jha wrote its grammar based on the sutras of Sanskrit grammar of Panini. He also published a Maithili Dictionary in 1950. In 1973 the Institute of Advanced Studies Simla, published an incomplete dictionary of the language compiled by Dr. Jayakant Mishra. Now, Royal Nepal Academy has taken up the job to publish a Maithili - Nepali - English Dictionary under the guidance of Dr. Y. Yadav. Dr. Subhadra Jha has written the formation of Maithili language in 1958. Prof. Radhakrishna Choudhary has written the Survey of Maithili Literature (1964), Dr. Jayakant Mishra has written the History of Maithili Literature. In 1968 Pt. Govind Jha wrote The Origin and Growth of Maithili and he has also compiled a Maithili - English dictionary recently.
In modern times various writers regularly produce literary writings in all genres like poetry, prose, essays plays, dramas, fiction, critical reviews, epics etc. depicting the culture, history, journalism, and linguistics. Moreover Maithili has an enormous stock of oral literature in the form of folk tales in prose, verse, ballads and songs.In spite of all this though even minor languages have been included in the 8th schedule of the Indian constitution, Maithili has been ignored its rightful entry there. It is the perception of the speakers of this language, that due to political connivance, the language in its native state Bihar, has been given the minority status, despite the fact that almost half the population speaks Maithili. Hindi zealots time and again claim that the language is a dialect of Hindi having no independent entity despite strong evidence to its contrary. It is a well-known fact that the history of Maithili literature is more than a millennium years old whereas that of Hindi literature has a history of barely 200 years since Bhartendu Harishchandra.
Unfortunately Maithili speakers themselves don't take pride in the common daily use of the language. No dailies are published. Even periodicals and magazines are published few and far between. The language bears the insult of Hindi zealots and the apathetic state government. Institutions are taken lightly. The language has been derecognised by the state government from the educational curriculum and the state civil service examinations. The candidates have to choose, under pressure a language other than their mother tongue with which they are not well conversant for this examination.
To a great extent Maithili speakers are themselves to be blamed because of lack of unity among themselves, too much consideration of caste, creed, religion, regionalism, parochialism and the vast gap between the elitists and the downtrodden.
It should not be forgotten that Maithili belongs as much to dalits, Muslims, and people belonging to lower caste as much as it belongs to persons of upper castes. The ballads and other folk tales like Lorik, Nayaka Banjara, Salhes, Deenabhadri, Rayaranpaal, etc. have been preserved by these so-called dalits and lower castes since the time immemorial by memorizing and singing traditionally. These are as important contribution to the Maithili literature as are the writings of upper caste.