Satya Narayan Shah
Maithili Culture is an important and integral component of Nepal’s cultural mosaic. Pluralism is the essence of Nepalese culture. Its multi-lingual and multi-ethnic character is well delineated and accepted in the country and has been described as a garden of various social groups.
Elongated in shape, Maithili speaking part of
the country is stretches from Morang to Rautahat districts and covers seven districts namely Morang, Sunsary, Saptary, Siraha, Dhanusha, Mahottary, Sarlahi and Rautahat. Though traditionally it was defined as situated between the rivers of Koshi and Gandaki, recent change in the composition of the country’s population has affected this modification. The fertile land has earned for it the distinction of being the granary of the country.
Maithili, the mother
language of around 13 per cent of the population of
the country, has a literary history of at least thirteen hundred years behind it. It
is varied in form and rich
in contents. Under the
Royal patronage of particularly Malla Kings, Maithili dramas and religious songs addressed to deities and composed for special
occasions received an extraordinary boost. The first prose work of Maithili
“Varna Ratnakar” was
written in the fourteenth century. The “Dak-Vachanabali”, a compendium of
wise and crisp sayings of
the eleventh century meant for rural population is a proud achievement. Vidyapati, the Maithili poet-laureate spent twelve years in the court of Banauli in Nepal and composed literary works of great importance.
Maithili has its own script. Though it has fallen in disuse, its cultural value cannot be denied.
Maithili region known
by various scriptural names is proud of its cultural
heritage. It contains numerous religious shrines, sites
of archaeological importance, and ancient seats of learning and legendary places, which have very popular appeal. Famous cities of scriptural and historical importance Janak-purdham, Rajbiraj, Biratnagar, Sidheshawer, Ratabara, Kapileshar, Jaleshwar, Dha-nusha, Dhrubkund, and other places are awaiting the touch of affectionate and liberal hands for
Its cuisine food, which is varied and traditionally numbered as fifty-six kinds (Chhappan Byanjan), dress, agricultural tools, domestic utensils (earthen, wooden, and metal), silver, gold
and bead ornaments, pottery designs, wall-paintings, earthen images of deities, folk heroes, elephants,
horses, birds its peculiar other articles of handicraft all combine to lend an
exotic and distinguished character to Maithili
culture. The artistic creativity of this culture is well
reflected in the designs of
its traditional dresses.
The Maithil region of the country abounds in fairs, festivals, rites and rituals. Ram Navami, Janaki Navami, Fagu, Deewali, Chhaith, Chaurchand, Krishna-Asthami, Jurasital, Dasain, Jitia, Rabi-Sani, Shivaratry, Satuain, Sama-Chakeba, and numerous others can be added to their list.
Mathili culture is unique for its songs for dawn to dusk. The great culture seems to have lost much
of its vigour. There are
signs of indifference and consequent loss of its cultural vitality. Its arts and handicraft, its painting and literature, and in fact its entire cultural achievements have suffered huge neglect. A cultural loss is a national loss, in fact, a loss for the entire mankind. This necessitates an effort to draw the attention of the people towards Maithili culture.
With major objectives like arousing interest in Maithili Culture, bringing awareness of its great tradition, acquainting the Nepalese and foreign art connoisseurs with Maithili cultural objects, and thus, helping protect and promote its unique handicraft and its tradition, Mithila Mahotsava 2066 is being organised by Greater Janakpur Area Development Council from 2nd April to 6th April 2010.
The festival first conceived by Mithila Cultural Centre in 1991. This festival has great importance and covers many aspects of the Maithili Culture. Some of the major activities at display are Maithili handicraft products, ornaments, garments, musical instruments, traditional tools and implements and other items showing the uniqueness of Maithili Culture.
Not only Nepal, but also the whole world, will get an open opportunity to
understand and realise
the sublimities of the glorious tradition of Maithili Culture. Hence, the prestige and pride of Nepal will
be enhanced and expanded in the world.
The mobilization of a great part of manpower, which is being wasted so far, will help cultural aggrandizement and be in the interest of national development. Not only of Mithila, but also the citizens of entire Nepal will realize the rich tradition of their culture and this will foster the sense of self-pride. It will start a new process of thinking in the direction of developing along with Janakpurdham, the seat of ancient Mithila, and other important places as tourist centres. Finally, it will add new dimension while preparing master plan for this area.
Er. Shah is founder president of Mithila Cultural Centre, Janakpurdham.