The culture of Bihar, a northern state of India, includes aspects such as literature, cuisine, performing and visual arts, and festivals.
- 1 Language
- 2 Literature
- 3 Performing arts
- 4 Visual arts
- 5 Cuisine
- 6 Religion
- 7 Festivals
- 8 Media
- 9 Culture by region
- 10 See also
- 11 Further reading
- 12 References and footnotes
Hindi, Maithili and Urdu are the official languages of the state, whilst the majority of the people speak one of the Bihari languages – Bhojpuri, Magadhi, etc. Bihari languages were once mistakenly thought to be dialects of Hindi, but they have been more recently shown to be descendant of the language of the erstwhile Magadha kingdom – Magadhi Prakrit, along with Bengali, Assamese, and Oriya.
The number of speakers of Bihari languages are difficult to indicate because of unreliable sources. In the urban region most educated speakers of the language name Hindi as their language because this is what they use in formal contexts and believe it to be the appropriate response because of unawareness. The uneducated and the rural population of the region return Hindi as the generic name for their language.
Despite of the large number of speakers of Bihari languages, they have not been constitutionally recognized in India. Hindi is the language used for educational and official matters in Bihar. These languages was legally absorbed under the subordinate label of HINDI in the 1961 Census. Such state and national politics are creating conditions for language endangerments. The first success for spreading Hindi occurred in Bihar in 1881, when Hindi displaced Urdu as the sole official language of the province. In this struggle between competing Hindi and Urdu, the potential claims of the three large mother tongues in the region – Magahi, Bhojpuri and Maithili were ignored. After independence Hindi was again given the sole official status through the Bihar Official Language Act, 1950. Urdu became the second official language in the undivided State of Bihar on 16 August 1989.
The relationship of Maithili community with Bhojpuri and Magahi communities – the immediate neighbors have been neither very pleasant nor very hostile. Maithili has been the only one among them which has been trying to constantly deny superimposition of Hindi over her identity. The other two have given up their claims and have resigned to accept the status of dialects of Hindi.
Bihar has produced a number of writers of Hindi, including Raja Radhika Raman Singh, Shiva Pujan Sahay, Divakar Prasad Vidyarthy, Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar', Ram Briksh Benipuri, Phanishwar Nath 'Renu', Gopal Singh "Nepali" and Baba Nagarjun. Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan, the great writer and Buddhist scholar, was born in Uttar Pradesh but spent his life in the land of Lord Buddha, i.e., Bihar.Hrishikesh Sulabh is the prominent writer of the new generation. He is short story writer, playwright and theatre critic. Arun Kamal and Aalok Dhanwa are the well-known poets. Different regional languages also have produced some prominent poets and authors. Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, who is among the greatest writers in Bengali, resided for some time in Bihar. Of late, the latest Indian writer in English, Upamanyu Chatterjee also hails from Patna in Bihar. Devaki Nandan Khatri, who rose to fame at the beginning of the 20th century on account of his novels such as Chandrakanta and Chandrakanta Santati, was born in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. Vidyapati Thakur is the most renowned poet of Maithili (c. 14th to 15th centuries).
Bihar has also produced a number of scholars, writers and poets of Urdu, including Shaad Azimabadi, Jamil Mazhari, Bismil Azimabadi (Poet of famous Patriotic ghazal 'Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mein hai'), Maulana Shabnam Kamali (Great Scholar, teacher, writer & poet), Kaif Azimabadi, etc.
Bihar has contributed to Indian (Hindustani) classical music and has produced musicians such as Bharat Ratna, Ustad Bismillah Khan and dhrupad singers like the Malliks (Darbhanga Gharana) and the Mishras (Bettiah Gharana). Bihar has an old tradition of folk songs, sung during important family occasions such as marriage, birth ceremonies, and festivals. They are sung mainly in group settings without the help of many musical instruments, although the dholak, Bansuri and occasionally the tabla and harmonium are used. Bihar also has a tradition of lively Holi songs known as 'Phagua', characterised by their fun rhythms. During the 19th century, when the standard of living in Bihar worsened under British misrule, many Biharis had to migrate as indentured laborers to West Indian islands, Fiji, or Mauritius. During this time many sad plays and songs called biraha became very popular in the Bhojpur area. Dramas on that theme continue to be popular in the theaters of Patna. Also of note, B Smooth fronted Bihari Beach is one of the most popular bands from the area. Vishwa Bhojpuri Sammelan has done a project on Bhojpuri Flok (Baarah Maasa) in last decade. This unique musical series has been released at second World Bhojpuri Conference in Mauritius.
Drama and theatre
Some forms of theatre with rich traditions are the Bidesia, Reshma-Chuharmal, Bihula-Bisahari, Bahura-Gorin, Raja Salhesh, Sama Chakeva, and Dom Kach. These theatre forms originate in the Anga region of Bihar.
Modern Hindi theatre movement In Bihar The condition and plight of theatre in Bihar was not good in the 1950s. Theatre activities were very amateurish till 1960. In the 1960s, like other regions of India. Modern Hindi Theatre movement also started in Bihar. Satish Anand, talented versatile actor and Director is the maker of Modern Hindi theatre in Bihar. He is known as trend setter in contemporary modern Indian theatre. Satish Anand had established theatre group Kala Sangam at Patna, capital of Bihar in 1962. Created a very healthy theatre environment and popularize Hindi plays and theatre by constantly and regularly staging plays like; Dharmvir Bharti's Andha Yug, Mudrarakshash's Merjeeva, Mohan Rakesh's Adhe-Adhure, Ashadh Ka Ek Din and Lahron ke Rajhans, Badal Sircar's Baki Itihas, Ballabhpur Ki Roopkatha, Pagla Ghora and Juloos, Vijay Tendulkar's Khamosh Adalat Jari Hai, Jat Hi Puchho Sadhu Ki, Gireesh Karnad's Tughlaq, Sophocles Greek tragedy Oedipus, Rambriksha Benipuri's Ambapali, Shanti Mehrotra's Thahra Hua Pani, Ek Tha Gadha, Kisi Ek Phool Ka Naam Lo, Godan, Chandrashekhar Kambar's Aur Tota Bola, Ibsen's Enemy of the people(Janshatru), Ben Johnson's Volpony (Chor Ke Ghar Mor), Delhi Uncha Sunati Hai, Manoj Mitr's Rajdarshan, Debashish Majumdar's Tamrapatra, Sushil Kumar Singh's Singhasan Khali Hai, Bertolt Brecht's Three Penny Opera ( Do Takkey Ka Swang), Jyoti Mahpseker’s Beti Aayee Hai etc. Kala Sangam’s director Satish Anand had worked on every new production as a Production Oriented Theatre Workshop. He worked hard and trained actors-actresses in every department of acting. Production of Adhe-Adhure in 1973 was considered a great happening in History of the cultural field of Bihar. This incidence was considered as Renaissance of theatre in Bihar. Kala Sangam always preferred to take up Socio-Political-Economic issues in its plays. Variety in designing of play-productions with innovative ideas and high class powerful performances injected & created a keen interest for theatre among the people of Bihar. The conservative and orthodox society opened up slowly and started liberalizing their views about this powerful performing art, theatre and specially about its actors-actresses. In fact, Theatrical activities of Kala Sangam took a shape of cultural Movement in Bihar. Intellectuals, educationists, Artists of other allied arts and people from all sections of the society either associated themselves with the movement or started taking interest in theater activities and become the regular theater audience. A Large number of working women & school-college going girls were allowed by their guardians and parents to participate actively in plays, and the best part was that they made their presence felt on stage with their talents. Hundreds of boys and girls were trained by Satish Anand during these years. Some of the trained actor-actresses are Kunal Singh (famous Bhojpuri actor), Basant Kumar (now famous actor and script writer of Bhojpuri cinema and TV serials), Umesh Srivastav, Vineeta Agarwal, Navneet Sharma, Veena Sahay, Vandana Gupta, Vineeta Singh, Shailendra Jha, Hari Saran, Suman Kumar, Kiran Kant Verma (now famous Bhojpuri film director), Vineet Kumar (now famous Bollywood & TV actor), Uma Shanker, Paritosh Shukla, Kanhaiya Prasad, Jhunnu Srivastav, Rajiv Soni, Vineet Jha (now famous Bhojpuri actor) Nilesh Mishra, Parvez Akhtar, Javed Akhtar, Abhay Sinha, Anil Kumar Sinha (famous painter), Arun Mishra, Arvind Mehra (Famous Bollywood Voice-over Artist), Om Prakash Yadav, Jammu, Ram Krishan Pandey, Uday Manna, Awinindra Ashutosh (Deepu), Apu, Prithvi Singh, Sudhir Sinha, Prahlad Sinha, Ratnaker, Thakur Onkar Nath, Rajkumar Mehrotara, Ashok Pandey, Ramesh Singh, Virendra Mandal, Paras, Ram Kishor, Ahindra Verma, Ravindra Singh, Ashish Mishra, Punj Prakash (Munchun), Alok Kapoor, Praveen Singh Sisodia (now famous Bollywood actor), Krishan Murai, Sam, Pankaj Kharbanda, Anand, Tony, Hrishikesh Sulabh, Anjani Sinha, Naveen Adhikari, Sanjay Jha, Vikas Shekhar, Dharmendra Mohan, Randhir Kumar, Dhirendra, Chanchal, Rajeev Pandey, Amita Mehrotra, Reeta Adhikari, Ranjana Ragini, Walsa Uppal, Frida Hassan, Shanta Jaitely, Vandana Sharma, Shyamilee Chatterjee, Shruti Shukla, Veena Sinha, Maya Prasad, Sarita Sinha, Neelam sharma, Anjana Bhanti, Anju Jha, Rashmi Sinha, Tamra Uppal, Vani Singh, Puja Verma, Rachna Verma, Sapna Verma, Mala Uppal, Poonam Singh, Sarita Bhatia, Tabassum, Zeba, Sushma Sinha, Shweta Ghosh, Kavita Kundra, Swapna Roy, Poonam Verma, Preeti Sinha etc.
The quality and class of Kala Sangam’s play-productions established Kala Sangam as pioneer of Hindi theatre of Bihar and leading theatre groups of India. Patna became the one of the most active-theatre center of India in 70's, 80's & 90’s. The outstanding and high class play production of Kala Sangam directed and designed by Satish Anand put Bihar on national theatre map. Eminent theatre critic Dhyneshwar Nadkarni, after watching the plays of Kala Sangam in 1979 wrote in Economic Times with this heading “ Small Town Stalwarts”. People started accepting that Kala Sangam gave a new face to Theatre of Bihar.
Satish Anand introduced Street Thatre in Bihar during J.P Movement in 1975. Kalakar Sangharsh Samitee was formed under the eminent novelist Phanishwarnath “Renu’ and revolutionary Hindi Poet Baba Nagarjun. Many young painters (students of Art College, Patna), poets like Satyanarayan, Gopivallabh, Paresh Sinha, Ravindra Rajhans, Robin Shaw Pushp, Ripudaman Singh (Short Story Writer) etc. Actors, Journalists and intellectuals were the part of this Sangharsh Samitee, Sangharsh Samitee used to organize Painting Exhibition followed by poetry recitation by poets and performances of street plays under the direction of Satish Anand in every evening for 30 days in different corners of Patna to educate and arouse the conscience of the citizen against the misrule. Firebrand Young Journalist Jugnu Shardey and Basant Kumar wrote scripts ’18 march Ki Dohpahar” and ‘Afwah Mantri’ for Street Theatre (Nukkar Natak) performances.
Kala Sangam first time presented its Street Theatre, Badal Sircar, s Juloos’ under the direction of Satish Anand. Production of Kala Sangam on street corner, parks and road sides created a history in Patna. Kala Sangam had presented 108 shows of Juloos in Patna and outside Bihar. Large number of audience used to assemble at performing corners and enjoyed the performances. Success of the Juloos created large number of theatre audience in Patna. Success of ‘Juloos” had also motivated and inspired many political parties to start or form their cultural groups to perform street plays. IPTA, Patna was revived in 1979 and started its dramatic activities under talented young director Kasim Khursheed Kala Sangam had organized its first theatre festival and first all India theatre Seminar in 1978. Kala Sangam presented its five plays, Andha Yug, Ashadh Ka Ek Din, Lahron Ke Rajhans, Ballabhpur Ki Roopkatha & Singhasan Khali Hai. The Subject of the All India theatre Seminar was "Aaj Ka Natak Aur Rangmanch" (Today's Drama & theatre) Mr. B.V Karanth, Dr. Pratibha Agarwal and Sachidanand Hiranand Vatsyayan were the guest speaker of this seminar. 2nd Kala Sangam's Theatre festival and All India theatre Seminar was organized in 1979. Eminent scholar theatre critic Nemi Chand Jain, Dhyaneshwar Nadkarni had participated in the seminar and also witnessed plays presented in the festival. Kala Sangam had organized its nine theatre Festivals from 1978 to 1995 respectively. Kala Sangam’s work had inspired many people in Bihar to start theatrical activities in their respective places.
It is a wrong notion or perception among the people of Bihar about Bidesia Style. In the early 19th and 20th centuries there were many Launda Naach Parties in Bihar. Bhikhari Thakur also had a Naach Party (Launda Naach) in Kutub Pur, North Bihar, He had many Laundas (male dancers in female costumes and makeup using vulgar, obscene gestures with dancing body movements to entertain the villagers who didn’t have the access to other mediums of entertainment.) Bhikhari Thakur with his Naach party used to travel to remote area of north and central Bihar to perform its Naachs. Skits or Short plays were also staged in these Naachs. Bidesia was his play. Bhikhari Thakur interpreted Bidesia, as “a person who has left his home and his dependents to earn his livelihood in far-off places like Dhaka, Calcutta (now Kolkata) etc. And does not come back to his native village and settles permanently there and also gets married, forgets his family, wife and children etc, leaves them to live in misery or remain suffering emotionally, physically financially, bear all the physical, Mental and sexual tortures whole life”. This was a severe problem in U.P and Bihar at that time. Bhikhari Thakur saw this problem and observed this minutely. Bhikhari Thakur was a great Bhojpuri poet, singer, music composer and actor. He took this problem and made a theme of his one of the Naach. In the opening scene of his every play performance the narrator comes on stage and tells or informs the audience that he is going to show them a ‘Bidesia Ka Naach or Bidesia Ka Tamasha’ or ‘Beti Bechvaa Ka Naach or Tamasha’ These opening lines are spoken in his every written play. Bhikhari Thakur had never claimed that he was going to perform any of his play in Bidesia style. Bidesia is a written play (Text) and Bidesia Style is a Format or form of presentation (Visual communication). Therefore, one should not be mistaken while speaking about Bidesia play and Bidesia style. In 1984 Satish Anand had evolved a new theatre idiom 'BIDESIA STYLE' for Modern Indian theatre by using indigenous traditional folk theatre elements of Bihar. Satish Anand started his research. Conceptualized the form and finalized its Format. Evolved a new Theatrical Idiom for Modern Indian Theatre ‘BIDESIA’ based on Lesser-Known Traditional Theatrical Folk Forms of Bihar, LAUNDA NAACH& NAACH PARTIES ( With Special reference to Bhikhari Thakur’s Naach Party ), Traditional Songs, Traditional Music, Traditional Dances, Folk Culture, Life-Cycle, Rituals, Customs, Faith & Belief, Life styles, Habits, Behavior, Festivals & Celebrations etc. of Bihar. Format of BIDESIA style consists of Theatrical elements, chosen very carefully from above & creatively used in this style with contemporary & modern sensibility. Bidesia style is a new Theatrical Idiom ( Rang Bhasha ) of Modern Indian Theatre. This style works as a Bridge between Rural & Urban Theatre. Initially short stories written by Phanishwar Nath 'Renu', short stories by Mandhkar Gangadhar were read but at last one day a short story 'Amli' which was published in "Sarika" Hindi magazine was selected. Renowned Hindi Writer Kamleshwar was its Editor. Satish Anand liked that story and started work on it. He completely rearranged the incidents and sequences, created new characters, incidents and situations according to the thought format of Bidesia style. Bhojpri dialect was used in the play. Director selected music from all parts of Bihar i.e. Mithilanchal, Angika, Magahi, Bhojpuri, vajjika region. Traditional music, Songs & their Tunes were selected according to the conflict, mood, feelings of the characters and situations. Best part of that Every actor of Kala Sangam contributed his knowledge and experience in Adaptation of a short story ‘AMALI’, Adaptation of a Shudraka's Sanskrit play ‘MARICHCHHAKATIKA’( Mati Gari ) and Phanishwar Natn's Hindi Novel ‘MAILA ANCHAL in Bidesia Style. And in 1994, a new play Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘MUKTADHARA’ Produced & presented in BIDESIA style. With the innovation of Bidesia style, Satish Anand gave a new identity to Theatre of Bihar.
Kala Sangam also toured Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Ujjain, Guwahati, Kota, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Hanuman Garh, Ganga Nager, Lucknow, Allahabad, Nanital & Allahabad etc. etc. with its plays. All these plays had been presented very successfully in various Zonal & National Folk Theatre Festivals organized in different parts of India respectively. This Bidesia style had been recognized by Theatre Practitioners and Theatre Critics & appreciated by audience throughout the country. Fascinating part is that this style has also influenced Modern Indian Theatre. Kala Sangam had staged Muktadhara in Bidesia Style in Bharangam, Delhi in 2000.
Bhagwan Sinha, Pyare Mohan Sahay, R.S Chopra were other great stage actors. They had entertained the audience with their performances. Bihar Art Theatre is also very important theatre group. Its founder director Anil Mukherjee was also a playwright. Usha Kiran Khan Avinash Chandra Mishra Shrikant Kishor emerged as powerful playwrights. many new theatre organizations were established in late 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Ankur, Prangan, Nirman Kala Manch, Pryas, Prerna, Bhangima, Aangan, Manch, Jan Sanskrity Manch etc. also contributed to Bihar theatre with their regular theatre activities.
Main article: Languages in Bihar See also: Angika, Bhojpuri, Magadhi, Maithili language, Hindi in Bihar, Urdu Language in Bihar, and Magadhi Prakrit Hindi, Maithili and Urdu are the official languages of the state, whilst the majority of the people speak one of the Bihari languages – Bhojpuri, Magadhi, etc. Bihari languages were once mistakenly thought to be dialects of Hindi, but they have been more recently shown to be descendant of the language of the erstwhile Magadha kingdom – Magadhi Prakrit, along with Bengali, Assamese, and Oriya. The number of speakers of Bihari languages are difficult to indicate because of unreliable sources. In the urban region most educated speakers of the language name Hindi as their language because this is what they use in formal contexts and believe it to be the appropriate response because of unawareness. The uneducated and the rural population of the region return Hindi as the generic name for their language. Despite of the large number of speakers of Bihari languages, they have not been constitutionally recognized in India. Hindi is the language used for educational and official matters in Bihar. These languages was legally absorbed under the subordinate label of HINDI in the 1961 Census. Such state and national politics are creating conditions for language endangerments. The first success for spreading Hindi occurred in Bihar in 1881, when Hindi displaced Urdu as the sole official language of the province. In this struggle between competing Hindi and Urdu, the potential claims of the three large mother tongues in the region – Magahi, Bhojpuri and Maithili were ignored. After independence Hindi was again given the sole official status through the Bihar Official Language Act, 1950. Urdu became the second official language in the undivided State of Bihar on 16 August 1989. The relationship of Maithili community with Bhojpuri and Magahi communities – the immediate neighbors have been neither very pleasant nor very hostile. Maithili has been the only one among them which has been trying to constantly deny superimposition of Hindi over her identity. The other two have given up their claims and have resigned to accept the status of dialects of Hindi. Literature
Main article: Literature in Bihar Bihar has produced a number of writers of Hindi, including Raja Radhika Raman Singh, Shiva Pujan Sahay, Divakar Prasad Vidyarthy, Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar', Ram Briksh Benipuri, Phanishwar Nath 'Renu', Gopal Singh "Nepali" and Baba Nagarjun. Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan, the great writer and Buddhist scholar, was born in Uttar Pradesh but spent his life in the land of Lord Buddha, i.e., Bihar. Hrishikesh Sulabh is the prominent writer of the new generation. He is short story writer, playwright and theatre critic. Arun Kamal and Aalok Dhanwa are the well-known poets. Different regional languages also have produced some prominent poets and authors. Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, who is among the greatest writers in Bengali, resided for some time in Bihar. Of late, the latest Indian writer in English, Upamanyu Chatterjee also hails from Patna in Bihar. Devaki Nandan Khatri, who rose to fame at the beginning of the 20th century on account of his novels such as Chandrakanta and Chandrakanta Santati, was born in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. Vidyapati Thakur is the most renowned poet of Maithili (c. 14th to 15th centuries). Bihar has also produced a number of scholars, writers & poets of Urdu, including Shaad Azimabadi, Jamil Mazhari, Bismil Azimabadi (Poet of famous Patriotic ghazal 'Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mein hai'), Maulana Shabnam Kamali (Great Scholar, teacher, writer & poet), Kaif Azimabadi, etc.
Mithila paintings are a style of Indian painting, practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar. 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. The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud wall of huts, but now it is also done on cloth, handmade paper and canvas. Madhubani painting mostly depict the men and its association with Nature & scenes and deities like Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati from ancient epics. 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. 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. This painting is in fact the simplistic manifestation of the philosophical heights achieved by our nation in yesteryears. There are so many Famous Mithila painters like Smt Bharti dayal, Mahasundari Devi, late Ganga devi, late Sita devi and others who have induced intellectual edges in their paintings and made it Famous & Prestigious Worldwide . Bharti Dayal is considered as one of the greatest Mithila painter as her work of art is a unique amalgamation of Heritage & modernity. It appears fresh and graceful. Radha is not a mythical character hemmed in by tradition but a selfless striver for sublimity also in Bharti's canvases !! Besides National Award, She has also been Honoured with The Vishist Bihari Samman amid festivities to commemorate 100 year of Bihar . Manjusha Kala or Angika Art is an art form of Anga region of Bihar. Patna School of Painting or Patna Qalaam, some times also called Company painting, offshoot of the well-known Mughal Miniature School of Painting flourished in Bihar during early 18th to mid-20th centuries. The practitioners of this art form were descendants of Hindu artisans of Mughal painting who facing persecution from the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb found refuge, via Murshidabad, in Patna during the late 18th century. They shared the characteristics of the Mughal painters, but unlike them (whose subjects included only royalty and court scenes), the Patna painters also started painting bazaar scenes. The paintings were executed in watercolours on paper and on mica. Favourite subjects were scenes of Indian daily life, local rulers, and sets of festivals and ceremonies. Most successful were the studies of natural life, but the style was generally of a hybrid and undistinguished quality. It is this school of painting that formed the basis for the formation of the Patna Art School under the leadership of Shri Radha Mohan. College of arts and crafts Patna is an important center of Fine Arts in Bihar.
The first sculptures in Bihar date back to the Mauryan empire, where stone and bronze figures have been discovered. Pillars of Ashoka and Didarganj Yakshi are estimated to be at least 2000 years old; and were carved out from a single piece of stone. The statues are found all over Bihar. Sculptures were also made from bronze, an advanced technique at that time. An example of this is the 1500 years old Sultanganj Buddha statue, which is about 7 ft and made of 500 kg bronze, the largest of that period. A multiplicity of statues, ranging from Hellenistic gods, to various Gandharan lay devotees, are combined with what are thought to be some of the early representations of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. Today, it is still unclear when the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara exactly emerged, but the findings in Sirkap indicate that this art was already highly developed before the advent of the Kushans. Mandar Hill has the unique image of Lord Vishnu, from the Gupta period, in his man-lion incarnation. The image is 34 inches high and made of black stone. Most the Hindu and Buddhism sculptures was destroyed by Muslim invaders along with the other major centers of Hinduism and Buddhism in India.
The first examples of significant architecture pieces in Bihar date back to the vedic period. While the Mauryan period marked a transition to the use of brick and stone, wood was still the material of choice. Chanakya, in the arthashastra, advises the use of brick and stone for their durability. Megasthenes mentions that the capital city of Pataliputra was encircled by a wooden palisade. Evidence of this has been found in recent excavations in Kumrahar in modern day Patna. Remains of an 80 pillared hall has also been unearthed. Many stupas like those at Nalanda and Vikramshila were originally built as brick and masonry mounds during the reign of Ashoka.
The Buddhist stupa, a dome shaped monument, was used in India as a commemorative monument associated with storing sacred relics. The stupa architecture was adopted in Southeast and East Asia, where it became prominent as a Buddhist monument used for enshrining sacred relics. Upon its discovery, these became known as pagoda to Westerners. Fortified cities with stūpas, viharas, and temples were constructed during the Maurya empire (c. 321–185 BCE). Wooden architecture was popular and rock cut architecture became solidified. Guard rails—consisting of posts, crossbars, and a coping—became a feature of safety surrounding a stupa. Temples—build on elliptical, circular, quadrilateral, or apsidal plans—were constructed using brick and timber. The Indian gateway arches, the torana, reached East Asia with the spread of Buddhism. Some scholars hold that torii derives from the torana gates at the Buddhist historic site of Sanchi (3rd century BCE – 11th century CE).
Walled and moated cities with large gates and multi-storied buildings which consistently used arched windows and doors are important features of the architecture during this period. The Indian emperor Ashoka (rule: 273 BCE to 232 BCE) himself established a chain of hospitals throughout the Mauryan empire by 230 BCE. One of the edicts of Ashoka (272—231 BCE) reads: "Everywhere King Piyadasi (Asoka) erected two kinds of hospitals, hospitals for people and hospitals for animals. Where there were no healing herbs for people and animals, he ordered that they be bought and planted." Buddhist architecture blended with Roman architecture and Hellenestic architecture to give rise to unique blends—such as the Greco-Buddhist school. The state was largely in ruins when visited by Hsüan-tsang, and suffered further damage at the hands of Mughal raiders in the 12th century. Though parts of the Bihar have been excavated, much of it still lies buried beneath modern Bihar. Rock-cut stepwells in India date from 200–400 CE. Subsequently, the wells at Dhank (550–625 CE) and construction of stepped ponds at Bhinmal (850–950 CE) takes place.
Mughal tombs of sandstone and marble show Persian influence. Sher Shah Suri and his successor had created some eligent Mughal architecture like Sher Shah Suri Tomb. Ibrahim Khan, Governor of Bihar, who was also Makhdum Daulat's disciple finished the construction of Makhdum Daulat in mausoleum in 1616. The building at Maner Sharif is a marvelous one. The walls of the building are adorned with intricate designs. There is a big dome on the top and the ceiling is full of inscriptions depicted from the Quran. Patna High Court, Bihar Vidhan Sabha, Bihar Vidhan Parishad, Transport Bhawan, Patna, Golghar St. Mary's Church and Patna Museum are some example of Indo-Saracenic Architectures.
The artisans of Bihar have been very skillful in creating articles using local materials. Baskets, cups and saucers made from bamboo-strips or cane reed are painted in vivid colors are commonly found in Bihari homes. A special container woven out of sikki grass in the north, the "pauti", is a sentimental gift that accompanies a bride when she leaves her home after her wedding. The weavers of Bihar have been practicing their trade for centuries. Among their products in common use are the cotton dhurries and curtains. They are produced by artisans in central Bihar, particularly in the Patna and Biharsharif areas. These colourful sheets, with motifs of Buddhist artifacts, pictures of birds, animals, and/or flowers, gently wafting in the air through doors and windows, blown by a cool summer breeze, used to be one of the most soothing sights as one approached a home or an office. Bhagalpur is well known for its seri-culture, manufacture of silk yarn and weaving them into lovely products. It is known as the tussah or tussar silk.
The staple food is roti, dal, chawal, sabzi and achar. It is prepared from lentils, wheat flour, rice, vegetables, and pickle. The traditional cooking medium is mustard oil. Khichdi, a broth of rice and lentils seasoned with spices and served with several accompanying items, constitutes lthe mid-day meal for most Hindu Biharis on Saturdays. The favourite dish among Biharis is litti-chokha. Litti is made up of sattu and chokha is made of smashed potatoes, tomatoes, and brinjals.
Chitba and Pitthow which are prepared basically from rice, are special foods of the Anga region. Tilba and Chewda of Katarni rice are also special preparations of Anga. Kadhi bari is a popular favorite and consists of fried soft dumplings made of besan (gram flour) that are cooked in a spicy gravy of yogurt. This dish goes very well with plain rice.
Bihar offers a large variety of sweet delicacies which, unlike those from Bengal, are mostly dry. These include Anarasa, Belgrami, Chena Murki, Motichoor ke Ladoo, Kala Jamun, Kesaria Peda, Khaja, Khurma, Khubi ki Lai, Laktho, Parwal ki Mithai, Pua & Mal Pua, Thekua, Murabba and Tilkut. Many of these originate in towns in the vicinity of Patna. Several other traditional salted snacks and savouries popular in Bihar are Chiwra, Dhuska, Litti, Makhana and Sattu.
There is a custom of eating Boiled Rice based lunch and Roti based dinner and breakfast. The food culture is both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. People from Mithilanchal enjoy both veg as well as non-veg dishes and cuisine of Mithilanchal area is unique in its own way.Machchak Jhor is a special fish curry made in mustard paste and is a preparation from Mithila. Maus is generally mutton or chicken or squails (tittar/battair) in a spicy gravy and is generally enjoyed with malpuas.Kankorak Chokha is a Mashed preparation of Crab (Kankor) after roasting the crab.Dokak Jhor generally are Oysters stew cooked with Onion gravy.
Chitba (a flour and sugar pancake) and Pitthow, which is prepared basically from rice, are special foods of the Anga region. Tilba and (choora) of Katarni rice are also special preparations of Anga.
Kadhi bari is a popular favorite and consists of fried soft dumplings made of besan (gram flour) that are cooked in a spicy gravy of yogurt and besan. This dish goes very well with plain rice. People also enjoy eating Chura or Chiwda (beaten rice) with yogurt and sugar. Arikanchanak Tarkari is a preparation of Marinated sun dried Colocasia leaves, steamed and cooked in mustard gravy and is a famous maithil dish,Daail-Jhinguni (Fried Ribbed Gourd cooked with Lentil and cereals), Ramruch is a besan based dish unique to Mithila region,Goidila (a sauce prepared from green peas & flavourings) and is generally had with rice or rotis.
The service style of the cuisine has little similarity with that of “Tabal d’ hote” (Table of the Host) of French, yet different being all preparations served together in a platter and consumed at once. Since there is no course wise meal practice therefore there is no well defined Gastronomique practice too, and hence people give equal importance to all kind of preparations and take pleasure in enjoying each delicacy to the fullest. Unlike others Maithils enjoy both the quality and quantity of the food and this is the characteristics that differentiates the cuisine and people from others. The best manifestation of this seen in any Traditional Maithil wedding (considered to be a very classical marriage ceremony ever in any culture.) Maithils always give immense priority to milk products in their food which could perfectly be measured with this old saying “ Aadi Ghee aur Ant Dahi, oyi Bhojan k Bhojan kahi” (A meal is the Meal that starts with Ghee and ends with Yogurt). The meal practice in mithilanchal is as common as the normal food habit of people which is Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. People also like enjoying some tit bits during evening with a cup of tea. The best breakfast time favorite is “Chura – Dahi” (beaten rice with a thick coating of creamy curd) the table condiments used is salt, green chillies and homemade pickles, a spicy mixed vegetable item could also be served along with this item as a side dish. During summer the same Chura is consumed with best quality mango pulp, and the dish is called “Chura Aam” . “Poori – Aloo dum” is another breakfast item that people like having along with a sweet dish “Jalebi” (roundels of deep fried fermented flour batter dipped in sugar syrup). Apart from that there are several other items like Chini wala Roti, Chilha (pan cake made out of flour batter), Suzi k halwa (porridge prepared from semolina), etc. which is preferred for the breakfast. For evening snacks a range of Bhujas are consumed like Chura ka Bhuja (beaten rice shallow fried with sliced onion, chopped green chillies and green peas), Makai ke Lawa (Pop corns), Masalgar Murhi (Rice pops mixed with chopped green chillies, Onion, coriander leaf, salt and few drops of mustard oil) etc. Maithils are also a big time sweet lovers. Varieties of Kheer and other sweet item is prepared as a dessert course.one of the famous among them is Makhanaak Kheer (a sweet dish prepared with Lotus seed, Milk and Dry nuts). Malpua is another popular sweet item, which is much different from the malpua prepared in north India, both are prepared from the flour batter only but in north India after deep frying malpua is dipped in sugar syrup while in Mithilanchal the batter itself is sweetened and it is a dry preparation which could be stored for 2–3 days. There are also sweet preservatives made out of fruit pulps like Ammath (layered mango pulp sundried and cut into small chunks), Kumhar ke murabba, Papita ke murabba, Dhatrikak murabba etc. The introduction about Mithila Cuisine would remain incomplete without a reference on Paan (betel leaves). According to an old saying Paan, Maach and Makhan (betel leaves, fish and lotus seed) is not found even in the paradise, so one should enjoy these things on earth only so not to regret later. A sweet betel leaf is flavoured with Sweet fennel, cardamom, clove, rose petals, sugar crystal etc. which is taken after completion of the meal in order to make it complete. Fishes cooked in a spicy mustard gravy known as "MACHAK JHOR" is a special preparation in the Mithila region. Cuisine of the Mithila region matches a lot with Bengali Cuisine and generally imbibes the usage of Mustard oil and the five spices known as the "Paanch Phoron". Roll is a typical Bihari non-vegetarian dish. These are popular and go by the generic name Roll Bihari in and around Lexington Avenue (South) in New York City.
There is a strong influence from Mughalai cuisine in eastern uttar pradesh and western bihar which resulted in development of bhojpuri cuisine with Bihari flavor are also part of Bihar's unique confluence of cultures. Famous food items include Biharee Kabab, Shami Kabab, Nargisi Kufte, Shabdeg, Yakhnee Biryanee, Motton Biryani, Shaljum Gosht, Baqer Khani, Kuleecha, Naan Rootee, Sawee ka Zarda, Qemamee Sawee, Gajar ka Halwa, Ande ka Zfrani Halwa etc.
Gautam Buddha attained Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, a town located in the modern day district of Gaya. Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th and the last Tirthankara of Jainism, was born in Vaishali around the 6th century BC.
A typical Bihari household would begin the day with religious devotion. The blowing of a conch shell heralds the dawn of a new day while somewhere in the distance; a Hindu priest intones the ancient incantations. The low-pitched chanting of a Buddhist monk or the tolling of a church bell reminds people to pay their salutations to god.
In Bihar, every aspect of life is suffused with religious significance and its manifestations abound in every corner of the state. While shrines are located everywhere – at the foot of trees, roadsides, etc., religious symbols or images of deities can be found in the most obscure or the most public places. From the dashboard of a dilapidated taxi to the plush office of a top executive, holy symbols or idols have their place.
Hinduism being the main religion of the state, most of the festivals stem from it. There are many variations on the festival theme. While some are celebrated all over the state, others are observed only in certain areas. But Bihar being so diverse, different regions and religions have something to celebrate at sometime or the other during the year. So festivals take place round the year.
On arrival in any part of this state, a tourist finds around him evidence of the extent to which religion enters into the daily life of the people. The calendar is strewn with festivals and fairs of different communities living together. Many of these are officially recognized by the days on which they take place being proclaimed as Government holidays.
Dariya Sahib, was a saint (who was born in Shahabad in the 18th century) influenced by Kabirdas and Dharamdas, united the Hindu and Muslim communities. Dariya Sahib, like many other Bhakti saints, is known as Dariyadas. He was listed by Brahm Sankar Misra as one of India's greatest saints. Many of his followers believe that he is the reincarnation of Kabir.
Chhath, also called Dala Chhath – is an ancient and major festival in Bihar, and is celebrated twice a year: once in the summers, called the Chaiti Chhath, and once around a week after Deepawali, called the Kartik Chhath. The latter is more popular because winters are the usual festive season in North India, and Chhath being an arduous observance requiring the worshippers to fast without water for more than 24 hours, is easier to do in the Indian winters. Chhath is the worship of the Sun God. Wherever people from Bihar have migrated, they have taken with them the tradition of Chhath. This is a ritual bathing festival that follows a period of abstenance and ritual segregation of the worshiper from the main household for two days. On the eve of Chhath, houses are scrupulously cleaned and so are the surroundings. The ritual bathing and worship of the Sun God takes place, performed twice: once in the evening and once on the crack of the dawn, usually on the banks of a flowing river, or a common large water body. The occasion is almost a carnival, and besides every worshipper, usually women, who are mostly the main ladies of the household, there are numerous participants and onlookers, all willing to help and receive the blessings of the worshiper. Ritual rendition of regional folk songs, carried on through oral transmission from mothers and mothers-in-law to daughters and daughters-in-law, are sung on this occasion for several days on the go. These songs are a great mirror of the culture, social structure, mythology and history of Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh. Chhath being celebrated at the crack of the dawn is a beautiful, elating spiritual experience connecting the modern Indian to his ancient cultural roots. Chhath is believed to be started by Karna, the king of Anga Desh (modern Bhagalpur region of Bihar). Among ritual observances, the month long Shravani Mela held along a 108 kilometre route linking the towns of Sultanganj and Deoghar (now in Jharkhand state) is of great significance. Shravani Mela is organised every year in the Hindu month of Shravan, that is the lunar month of July–August. Pilgrims, known as Kanwarias, wear saffron coloured clothes and collect water from a sacred Ghat (river bank) at Sultanganj, walking the 108 km stretch barefooted to the town of Deoghar to bathe a sacred Shiva-Linga. The observance draws thousands of people to the town of Deoghar from all over India.
Teej and Chitragupta Puja are other local festivals celebrated with fervor in Bihar. Bihula-Bishari Puja is celebrated in the Anga region of Bihar. The Sonepur cattle fair is a month long event starting approximately half a month after Deepawali and is considered the largest cattle fair in Asia. It is held at the conflunce of river Ganges & Gandak in the town of Sonepur. The constraints of the changing times and new laws governing the sale of animals and prohibiting the trafficking in exotic birds and beasts have eroded the once-upon-a-time magic of the fair.
Apart from Chhath, all major festivals of India are celebrated in Bihar, such as Makar Sankranti, Saraswati Puja, Holi, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha (often called Eid-ul-Zuha in the Indian Subcontinent), Muharram, Ram Navami, Rath yatra, Rakshabandhan, Maha Shivaratri, Durga Puja, Diwali, Laxmi Puja, Christmas, Mahavir Jayanti, Buddha Purnima, Chitragupta Puja, and several other local festivals as well.
Pitri Paksha Mela
It is a 15-day fair held on the bank of River Falgu at Gaya during Pitru Paksha every year. Pilgrims from all corners of the country visit Gaya for offering Pinda to their Ancestors. According to Bihar Tourism Department estimates, some 5,00,000 to 75,00,000 pilgrims arrive in the Gaya city during the Pitri Paksha Mela every year.
Hindustan Times, Dainik Jagran, Navbharat Times, Aj and Prabhat Khabar are some of the popular Hindi news papers of Bihar. E-papers, Bihar Times and Patna Daily have become very popular among the educated Biharis, specially the non-resident Biharis. Jaibihar is a similar e-paper, which has been recently started. National English dailies like The Times of India and The Economic Times are read in urban regions.
Television and radio
Several national and international television channels are popular in Bihar. DD Bihar, Sahara Bihar and ETV Bihar-Jharkhand are the television channels dedicated to Bihar. Recently couple of dedicated Bhojpuri channel, Mahuaa TV and Purva TV has been launched.
Bihar has a robust cinema industry for the Bhojpuri language. There are also a small Maithili, Angika and Magadhifilm industry. First Bhojpuri Film was Ganga Jamuna released in 1961. "Lagi nahin chute ram" was the alltime superhit Bhojpuri film which was released against "Mugle Azam" but was a superhit in all the eastern and northern sector. Bollywood's Nadiya Ke Paar is among the most famous Bhojpuri language movie. The first Maithili movie was Kanyadan released in 1965, of which a significant portion was made in the Maithili language. Bhaiyaa a Magadhi film was released in 1961.Bhojpuri's history begins in 1962 with the well-received film Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo ("Mother Ganges, I will offer you a yellow sari"), which was directed by Kundan Kumar. Throughout the following decades, films were produced only in fits and starts. Films such as Bidesiya ("Foreigner," 1963, directed by S. N. Tripathi) and Ganga ("Ganges," 1965, directed by Kundan Kumar) were profitable and popular, but in general Bhojpuri films were not commonly produced in the 1960s and 1970s.
In the 1980s, enough Bhojpuri films were produced to tentatively make up an industry. Films such as Mai ("Mom," 1989, directed by Rajkumar Sharma) and Hamar Bhauji ("My Brother's Wife," 1983, directed by Kalpataru) continued to have at least sporadic success at the box office. However, this trend faded out by the end of the decade, and by 1990, the nascent industry seemed to be completely finished.
The industry took off again in 2001 with the super hit Saiyyan Hamar ("My Sweetheart," directed by Mohan Prasad), which shot the hero of that film, Ravi Kissan, to superstardom. This success was quickly followed by several other remarkably successful films, including Panditji Batai Na Biyah Kab Hoi ("Priest, tell me when I will marry," 2005, directed by Mohan Prasad) and Sasura Bada Paisa Wala ("My father-in-law, the rich guy," 2005). In a measure of the Bhojpuri film industry's rise, both of these did much better business in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar than mainstream Bollywood hits at the time, and both films, made on extremely tight budgets, earned back more than ten times their production costs. Sasura Bada Paisa Wala also introduced Manoj Tiwari, formerly a well-loved folk singer, to the wider audiences of Bhojpuri cinema. In 2008, he and Ravi Kissan are still the leading actors of Bhojpuri films, and their fees increase with their fame. The extremely rapid success of their films has led to dramatic increases in Bhojpuri cinema's visibility, and the industry now supports an awards show and a trade magazine, Bhojpuri City, which chronicles the production and release of what are now over one hundred films per year. Many of the major stars of mainstream Bollywood cinema, including Amitabh Bachchan, have also recently worked in Bhojpuri films.
Culture by region
Bhojpuri region, comprises the districts of Rohtas, Kaimur, Buxar and Bhojpur to the south of the Ganges; and, Saran, Siwan, Gopalganj, East Champaran and West Champaran to the north of the Ganges in the northern part of India. Bhojpuri is the mother-tongue of people of this area.
Magadh region, comprises the districts of Patna, Nalanda, Nawada, Gaya, Lakhisarai, Sheikhpura, Arwal, Aurangabad, and Jehanabad, in the Central Bihar region, are the nourishing ground of the ancient Magahi (Magadhi) culture in the eastern part of India. Magadhi is the mother-tongue of people of this area.
Mithila region broadly comprises the districts of Muzaffarpur, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Begusarai, Khagaria, Katihar, Madhepura, Saharsa, Supaul, Purnia, Araria, in the eastern part of India. Maithili is the mother-tongue of people of this area.
Apart from it in the foothill of Himalaya in the north-eastern part of Bihar in district Kishanganj the language spoken is Rajbangshi.
The relationship of Maithili community with Bhojpuri and Magahi communities – the immediate neighbors have been neither very pleasant nor very hostile. Maithili has been the only one among them which has been trying to constantly deny superimposition of Hindi over her identity. The other two have given up their claims and have resigned to accept the status of dialects of Hindi.
It goes without saying that the relationship of Maithili and Hindi have been most complicated. While almost all Maithils have accepted Hindi as a language of formal occasions, the retention of Maithili for cultural, social, familial as well as literary purposes have also been more or less steady. The trend among the youngest generation to use Maithili in lesser and lesser occasions should be viewed in the context of the same thing happening among Hindi, Telugu or Marathi speakers who are tilting towards use of English rather than their mother tongue.
Vajjika region broadly comprises the districts of Muzaffarpur, Samastipur, Vaishali, Sitamarhi, Champaran and Sheohar, in the eastern part of India. Vajjika is the mother-tongue of people of this area.
- Pathak Prabhu Nath, Society and Culture in Early Bihar (C.A.D. 200 – 600), Commonwealth Publishers, 1988
- Basham A. L., The Wonder that was India, Picador, 1954, ISBN 0-330-43909-X
- Nambisan Vijay, Bihar in the eye of the beholder, Penguin Books, 2000, ISBN 978-0-14-029449-1
- Singh, Shankar Dayal, Bihar: Ek Sanstkritik Vaibhav (Hindi). Diamond Pocket Books. 1999. ISBN 8171822940.
- Chitta Ranjan Prasad Sinha, Early Sculpture of Bihar, Indological Book Corp., 1980
- Susan Lubin Huntington The Origin and Development of Sculpture in Bihar and Bengal, University of California, 1972
References and footnotes
- Jain Dhanesh, Cardona George, The Indo-Aryan Languages, pp500, "..the number of speakers of Bihari languages are difficult to indicate because of unreliable sources. In the urban region most educated speakers of the language name Hindi as their language because this is what they use in formal contexts and believe it to be the appropriate response because of unawareness. The uneducated and the rural population of the region return Hindi as the generic name for their language."
- History of Indian languages,"Bihari is actually the name of a group of three related languages—Bhojpuri, Maithili, and Magahi—spoken mainly in northeastern India in Bihar. Despite its large number of speakers, Bihari is not a constitutionally recognized language of India. Even in Bihar, Hindi is the language used for educational and official matters."
- Verma, Mahandra K. "Language Endangerment and Indian languages: An exploration and a critique". Linguistic Structure and Language Dynamics in South Asia.
- Brass Paul R., The Politics of India Since Independence, Cambridge University Press, pp. 183
- Didarganj Yakshi at Patna Museum
- Scott, David (May 1995). "Buddhism and Islam: Past to Present Encounters and Interfaith Lessons". Numen 42 (2).
- Encyclopædia Britannica (2008). Pagoda.
- Encyclopædia Britannica (2008). Torii
- Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System (2001). torii.
- Piercey & Scarborough (2008)
- Finger, Stanley (2001). Origins of Neuroscience: A History of Explorations Into Brain Function. US: Oxford University Press. 12. ISBN 0-19-514694-8.
- Moffett, M.; Fazio, M.; and Lawrence Wodehouse (2003). A World History of Architecture. McGraw-Hill Professional. 75. ISBN 0-07-141751-6.
- Livingston & Beach, page xxiii
- Mughal architecture. Encyclopædia Britannica (2008)
- Pathak Prabhu Nath,Society and Culture in Early Bihar, Commonwealth Publishers, 1988, pp. 140
- Juergensmeyer, P. 29 Radhasoami Reality:
- Atreya, P. 66 Darshana International
- "Gaya to host 2013 Pitri Paksha Mela from September 18". Retrieved 25 September 2013.
- Bhojpuri Channel Mahuaa TV Launched
- Bhojpuri Channel MAHUAA TV launched
- "Now, Bhojpuri beam 24x7". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). 23 February 2007.
- http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0054910/ Ganga Jamuna – First Bhojpuri language film
- http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0236358/ Kanyadan – First Maithili language film
- http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0236021/ Bhaiyaa – First Magadhi language film
- Tripathy, Ratnakar (2007) 'BHOJPURI CINEMA', South Asian Popular Culture, 5:2, 145 – 165
- "People". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). 14 April 2006.
- "Move over Bollywood, Here's Bhojpuri," BBC News Online: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/4512812.stm