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𑂥𑂔𑂹𑂔𑂱𑂍𑂰, बज्जिका
RegionBihar of India and Terai (Madhesh Province) of Nepal
Native speakers
12 million[citation needed], Total 793,416 speakers in Nepal (2011)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottologwest2380  Western Maithili

Bajjika (𑂥𑂔𑂹𑂔𑂱𑂍𑂰/बज्जिका) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in parts of eastern India and Nepal. It is classified as Northern Bihari[1][2][3] and also known as Tirhutiya.[4] It is sociolinguistically considered as a dialect of the Maithili language[5] and is spoken in the north-western districts of the Bihar state of India, and the adjacent areas in Nepal.

Territory and speakers[edit]

Bajjika, also known as Tirhutiya, is spoken in the north-western part of Bihar, a region popularly known as Tirhut. In Bihar, it is mainly spoken in Vaishali, Samastipur, Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur and Sheohar districts. It was predominantly spoken in the Champaran districts while Bhojpuri-speakers currently comprise the majority of the districts. Currently, only portions of East Champaran have a significant population of Bajjika speakers. It is also spoken in parts of Darbhanga adjoining Begusarai, Muzaffarpur and Samastipur districts.[6] The Bajjika speaking areas roughly coincide with Tirhut division; Tirhuti is another name for the Maithili language.

Researcher Abhishek Kashyap (2013), based on the 2001 census data, estimated that there were 20 million Bajjika speakers in Bihar (including around 11.46 illiterate adults).[7]

Bajjika is also spoken by a major population in Nepal, where it had 237,947 speakers according to the country's 2001 census, and 793,416 speakers in 2011.[8] Main districts where Bajjika is spoken as mother tongue are Sarlahi & Rautahat.

Relationship to Maithili[edit]

Bajjika has been classified as a dialect of Maithili,.[9][10] Whether Bajjika is classified as a dialect of Maithili depends on whether 'Maithili' is understood as the term for the specific standard Maithili dialect spoken in northern Bihar, or as the name for the whole language as the group of all related dialects together. When the proponents of the Maithili language in Bihar demanded use of Maithili-medium primary education in the early 20th century, the Angika and Bajjika-speaking people did not support them, and instead favoured Hindi-medium education.[11] The discussions around Bajjika's status as a minority language emerged in the 1950s.[6] In the 1960s and the 1970s, when the Maithili speakers demanded a separate Mithila state, the Angika and Bajjika speakers made counter-demands for recognition of their languages.[12]

Maithili proponents believe that the Government of Bihar and the pro-Hindi Bihar Rashtrabhasha Parishad promoted Angika and Bajjika as distinct languages to weaken the Maithili language movement. [11] People from mainly Maithil Brahmins and Karan Kayasthas castes supported the Maithili movement in the days when it was to be subsumed as a dialect of Hindi / Bengali, hence anti-Maithili factions branded the Maithili Language as a Brahminical language while inciting various other castes in the Mithila region to project Angika and Bajjika as their mother tongues, attempting to break away from the Maithili-based regional identity.[13]

Films in Bajjika[edit]

Lakshmi Elthin Hammar Angna (2009) was the first formal feature film in Bajjika. Sajan Aiha Doli le ke came after that.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Western Maithili". Glottolog.
  2. ^ "LSI Vol-5 part-2". dsal. p. 106.
  3. ^ "LSI Vol-5 part-2". dsal. p. 14. Western Maithili
  4. ^ "Bajjika of Maithili (mai)". Multitree.
  5. ^ Ethnologue: Maithili
  6. ^ a b Abhishek Kashyap 2014, p. 1.
  7. ^ Abhishek Kashyap 2014, pp. 1–2.
  8. ^ Abhishek Kashyap 2014, p. 2.
  9. ^ MultiTree
  10. ^ Ethnologue
  11. ^ a b Mithilesh Kumar Jha 2017, p. 163.
  12. ^ Kathleen Kuiper 2010, p. 57.
  13. ^ Manish Kumar Thakur 2002, p. 208.
  14. ^ "Bhojpuri artist to make first Bajjika film". The Times of India. 17 August 2009. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]