India has been a diverse country since ages. It is a unique blend of several religions, castes, cultures and languages. Every region has its own uniqueness and enriches the Indian culture in its own way. One of the lesser known, but extremely important region influencing the Indian culture is Mithilanchal.
Mithila kingdom was spread over Bihar and Nepal province. It was the centre of Indian and Nepalese histories during the first millennium and has contributed to various literary and scriptural work. Mithila was ruled by different dynasties like Pal, Sen, Krnat, Oinwar dynasties as well as by the Tughlaqs, Bengali, Mughals and British rulers. These different dynasties practiced different religions like Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity etc. Hence there has been a spectrum of influence on the culture of Mithila. Legends talk about Gautama Buddha and Vardhaman Mahavir living here during their times. The 21st Tirthankara Naminatha, was also born here. Mithila was also without a king for several years (due to some moral conduct issues regarding its last king) making it the first region to practice democracy.
Mythology knows Mithila best as the birthplace of goddess Sita, daughter of one of the kings, Janak and later; Lord Rama’s wife (as mentioned in Ramayana). Mithila has also harboured an enriched literary history. Vidyapathi, one of the greatest Indian poets was born here. His works Padavali (written in maithili, the local language) and Purush Pareeksha (in Sanskrit) are very well-known. Also, due to the Jain and Buddhist influence, some of the Buddhist scriptures or dohas are also written in kamrupi and Maithili (the local language).
Indian Art has also seen a magnificent contribution from Mithila in the form of Madhubani paintings. This art is one of the most ancient and classical art form which is still practiced prominently by women and girls of Mithilanchal. The paintings are done using fingers, twigs, brushes, nib pens, and matchsticks, using natural dyes and pigments. The vibrant colours used and recurring geometric patterns show that these women try to inculcate the colours found in and around themselves in their paintings. This also shows the vibrancy of their mind and love for the art. Also another beautiful aspect of these paintings is that they revolve around perfectly normal traditions or rituals like wedding ceremony, birth of a child and festivals like Holi & Deewali . And yet the artists do their best to fit all the rituals in one mere piece of paper.
In spite of all this richness Mithilanchal has and the diverse impact it has imparted on Indian Culture as a whole, the Maithili culture has suffered the negligence of Government in power and opposition as well. The development of Mithilanchal is only a political agenda which most of the political parties start every five years at the time of election. But the good news is that intellectuals and bureaucrats are coming on one platform to work towards the the development of Mithila with the help of people from mithilanchal. eMithilaHaat has been playing it’s role fairly from over past 3 years by it’s various workshops, events and products. We hope that Mithila will regain its glory soon and will keep contributing the Indian culture as it has been doing since ages.