|Region in Asia|
|• Total||40 million|
Mithila (IAST: mithilā), also known as Tirhut and Tirabhukti, is a geographical and cultural region located in the Indian state of Bihar. This region is bounded by the Mahananda River in the east, the Ganges in the south, the Gandaki River in the west and by the foothills of the Himalayas in the north. It extends into the southeastern Terai of Nepal.
The name Mithila is commonly used to refer to the Videha Kingdom, as well as to the modern-day territories that fall within the ancient boundaries of Videha. In the 18th century, when Mithila was still ruled by the Raj Darbhanga, the British Raj annexed the region without recognizing it as a princely state. Today, Mithila comprises the Champaran, Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Samastipur, Saharsa and Purnia districts.
The name Mithila is derived after mythical King 'Miti' which in Dhatki language means "Soil". He was supposed to have been created from the body of his father King Nimi. He established the capital of his kingdom at Mithilapuri and hence the region came to be called Mithila. Since he was born out of body of his father, he took the title Janaka. After this, the Kings of Mithila were called Janaka.
Another name of the region was Tirabhukti meaning "bound by rivers". This was later abbreviated to Tirhut.
Mithila first gained prominence after being settled by Indo-Aryan peoples who established the Videha kingdom. During the late Vedic period (c. 1100-500 BCE), Videha became one of the major political and cultural centers of South Asia, along with Kuru and Pañcāla. The Kings of the Videha Kingdom where called Janakas.
From the 11th century to the 20th century, Mithila was ruled by various indigenous dynasties. The first of these were the Karnatas who were of Parmar Rajput origin, the Oinwar dynasty who were Maithil Brahmins and the Khandavalas of Raj Darbhanga who were also Maithil Brahmins. It was during this period that the capital of Mithila was shifted to Darbhanga.
Mithila is distinct geographical region with natural boundaries like rivers and hills. It is largely a flat and fertile alluvial plain criss-crossed by numerous rivers which originate from the Himalayas. The flat plains and fertile land have meant that Mithila has a rich variety of biotic resources; however, frequent floods have restricted the people from taking advantage of these.
Rivers and floods
Mithila has seven major rivers, Mahananda, Gandak, Kosi, Bagmati, Kamala, Balan, and the Budhi Gandak. They flow from the Himalaya mountains in the north to the Ganges river in the south. These rivers regularly flood, depositing silt onto the farmlands and sometimes causing death or hardship.
Maithili language speakers are referred to as Maithils and they are an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group. There are an estimated 35 million Maithils in India alone. The vast majority of them are Hindu but there is a small Muslim minority.
Notable people from Mithila region
The following are notable residents (past and present) of Mithila region.
- Vidyapati , also known by the sobriquet Maithil Kavi Kokil (the poet cuckoo of Maithili) was a Maithili poet and a Sanskrit writer. He was born in the village Bisfi in Madhubani district of Mithila region of present-day Bihar, India.
- Phanishwar Nath 'Renu' was one of the most successful and influential writers of modern Hindi literature in the post-Premchand era. He is the author of Maila Anchal, which after Premchand's Godaan, is regarded as the most significant Hindi novel. He was born in present-day Araria district of Mithila region of Bihar, India. By origine he was bengali and his real name was Fanindranath Mukhopadhaya.
- Ram Vilas Paswan is an Indian politician, from Mithila region of Bihar, India and the current Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. Paswan is also the president of the Lok Janshakti Party, eight time Lok Sabha member and former Rajya Sabha MP.
- Syed Shahnawaz Hussain is an Indian Politician and the current Spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party and a former Union Cabinet Minister. He was born in Supaul in the Mithila region of Bihar, India.
- Lalit Narayan Mishra - Former union Railway Minister of India.
- Jagannath Mishra - Former Chief Minister of Bihar.
- Udit Narayan - Bollywood playback singer
- Mridula Sinha - Governor of Goa
- Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, The first President of Nepal was born in Dhanusa District of Mithila region in Nepal. He was elected in July 2008 and was the country's first President. He previously served as Minister of Health and as General Secretary of the Nepali Congress party.
- Parmanand Jha was born in the Darbhanga District of Mithila region of India but settled in Nepal. He is the current Vice President of Nepal and a former Supreme Court judge.
- Madhav Kumar Nepal, was born in the Saptari District of Mithila region of Nepal. He is a Nepali politician who was Prime Minister of Nepal from 25 May 2009 until 6 February 2011. Nepal announced his resignation as Prime Minister on 30 June 2010. He was previously the General Secretary of Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) for 15 years.
Madhubani painting/Mithila painting was traditionally created by the women of the Brahman, Dusadh and Kayastha communities in Mithila region in India and it is named after Madhubani district of Bihar which is where it originated. This painting as a form of wall art was practiced widely throughout the region; the more recent development of painting on paper and canvas originated among the villages around Madhubani, and it is these latter developments that may correctly be referred to as Madhubani art.
There is an ongoing movement in the Maithili speaking region of Bihar for a separate Indian state of Mithila. What will be the capital of the state has yet to be decided however Darbhanga is the most likely candidate. Other potential capitals include Muzaffarpur, Purnia and Begusarai.
Recently, that was also a movement in the Maithili speaking areas of Nepal for a separate state which ended only after promulgation of Constitution of Nepal 2015 guaranteed it in form of province two and transforming the country into Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal with total seven provinces. Also the First President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal was Maithili speaking personnel Dr. Ram Baran Yadav from Janakpur, which lies in province two, a Mithila state of Nepal.
According to Jain Agamas, 21st Tirthankara Naminatha was born in Mithila to King Vijaya and Queen Vapra. Mithila was ruled by King Vijaya of Ikshvaku dynasty and after him, by Lord Naminatha.
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|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Mithila.|