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मैथिल/ মৈথিল
Linguistic and historical region
Maithil-speaking region of India
Maithil-speaking region of India
Mithila region of Nepal
Mithila region of Nepal
Location of Maithil
Total population
About 8 crore (2011)[citation needed]
Regions with significant populations
 India 7.2 crore[1]
   Nepal 50 million[2]
 Bangladesh Primarily Muslim migrants
Maithili and dialects Angika and Vajjika
Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, Buddhism and Jainism

A Maithil (Devnagri: मैथिल, Tirhuta: মৈথিল) is a native speaker of the Maithili language, and includes all natives of Mithila region of India and Nepal.


Maithils are natives of Terai of Nepal [3] and adjoining districts south of the Ganges near Bhagalpur and Monghyr, most of North Bihar. All castes living in Mithila and speaking Maithili are Maithils. Most of North Bihar (except for several western districts) centered near Darbhangā-Madhubani, some areas south of the Ganges (including Bhāgalpur and Munger) and the region from Rauthatta to Biratnagar in Nepal (centered near Janakpur, in southeastern Nepal) form modern Mithila. This area was known as the kingdom of Videha, with its capital at Janakpur, Nepal (or Mithilanagar). The kingdom appears in the Ramayana; according to it and other ancient texts, Janakpur is the birthplace of Nepali Princess Sita. Lord Gautama Buddha was born in Lumbini, Mithila region of Nepal. [4]


The Maithil diet that was originated in Capital of Mithila (Janakpur, Nepal) are widely eaten by people of Nepal and adjacent parts of Bihar, India includes grains, freshwater fish and goat meat. Panch phoron, mustard seeds and mustard oil are common ingredients in Maithil cuisine.

Boiled rice is customarily eaten with lunch, and roti with breakfast and dinner. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets are followed, and regional specialties exist. Machchak jhor is a fish curry prepared with mustard paste. Maus is mutton or chicken in a spicy sauce and is generally eaten with malapuas. Kankorak chokha is a puréed dish of roasted crab (kankor). Dokak jhor is an oyster stew with onions. Chitba (a flour-and-sugar pancake) and pitthow, tilba and choora (dishes made from Katarni rice) are specialties of the Anga region.

Kadhi bari—fried soft dumplings made of besan (graham flour), cooked in a spiced sauce of yogurt and besan—is a popular favorite with rice. Chura (or chiwda)—rice beaten with yogurt and sugar—is also enjoyed. Arikanchanak tarkari is a preparation of marinated, sun-dried colocasia leaves, steamed in a mustard sauce. Daail-jhinguni (fried ribbed gourd, cooked with lentils and grains), ramruch (a besan-based dish unique to the region) and goidila (a sauce made from green peas and flavourings, eaten with rice or roti) are other specialties.

All dishes in a meal are served together, instead of in courses. A traditional Maithil wedding meal emphasises dairy products, as illustrated by the saying “Aadhi Gheu aur Ant Dahi, oyi Bhojan k Bhojan kahi” ("A meal starts with ghee and ends with yogurt"). The daily diet consists of breakfast, lunch, dinner and an evening snack with tea. A popular breakfast is chura-dahi (beaten rice with creamy yogurt) seasoned with salt, green chillies and pickles; a spicy mixed-vegetable dish may also be served. During summer chura is eaten with mango pulp, and is known as chura aam. Poori-aloo dum is another breakfast dish enjoyed with jalebi (rounds of deep-fried, fermented flour batter dipped in a sugar syrup). Other breakfast dishes include chini wala roti, chilha (pancakes) and suzi k halwa (semolina porridge). Evening snacks include chura ka bhuja (rice sautéed with sliced onion, chopped green chillies and green peas) and masalgar murhi (puffed rice mixed with chopped green chillies, onion, coriander leaves, salt and mustard oil). Varieties of kheer and other sweet dishes are prepared for dessert. One of the best-known is makhanaak kheer (with lotus seeds, milk and nuts). Malpua is another popular sweet of Nepali Maithil, differing slightly from the malpua of Indian Maithil. Preserved fruits include ammath (layered mango pulp, sun-dried and cut into small pieces), kumhar ka murabba, papita ka murabba and dhatrikak murabba. Mithila cuisine is incomplete without paan (betel leaves). According to an old saying, paan, maach and makhan (betel leaves, fish and lotus seed) are not found in paradise; therefore, one should enjoy them on earth. A sweet betel leaf is flavoured with fennel, cardamom, clove, rose petals, sugar and other ingredients, and chewed after a meal.[5]

Cross-border regionalism[edit]

Maithil regionalism unites Maithils from both sides of the border between India and Nepal. Since they share a common history, language, culture and ethnicity, they feel part of one Mithila. Positive events on one side of the international border are celebrated on the other side, and negative events are mourned on both sides.[6]

Discrimination in India[edit]

Maithils in Indian side are officially known as Bihari.[citation needed] Discrimination against the Maithil community in India is not based on race, caste or color but on geography. The economic gap between the Mithila region and the other area of Bihar south of the Ganges is apparent.[7] The Mithila region is relatively undeveloped, and the government has no concrete plan to address the region's flood problems.[7] It is considered one of India's poorest regions, with a high rate of migration.

Janakpur bombing[edit]

On 26 April 2012, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) submitted a proposal for 11 federal units in Nepal in which Mithila was not mentioned. The proposal was opposed by local Nepali residents, officially known as Madhesi,[8] who submitted a memorandum to Mithila district headquarter in Janakpur requesting a Mithila federal unit in Nepal. A signature campaign was launched throughout the region in which local Nepali residents actively participated.[9] On 30 April, local Nepali Maithils were conducting a peaceful protest on Ramananda Chowk in Janakpur. About 10 am, the protest was bombed; five people were killed, three more died later and more than forty were injured.[10] Maithili film actress Anju Jha was one of those killed in the bombing; she had become popular in Mukhiyaa Jee several months earlier.

Later that day a little-known armed political group, Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (Democratic Terai Liberation Front), claimed responsibility to local media in a text message. Rajan Mukti was the primary suspect.[11] The blast in Janakpur and its victims angered local Nepali residents, who protested peacefully.

See also[edit]