NEW DELHI/PATNA: Maithili is a language of emotional bonding which has a soothing effect among listeners because of its phonetics and accent, noted a galaxy of speakers at a literary festival in New Delhi on Saturday.
The language has around 13.5 million native speakers in Bihar, Jharkhand and parts of Nepal along with its own script called 'Trihuta'.
Introducing the subject, renowned linguist and litterateur Dr Birbal Jha said, "Maithili is the sweetest indigenous dialect that was progressing well until 1990, when Lalu Prasad Yadav, the then Bihar Chief Minister from Bhojpuri speaking belt, attempted to do injustice to the language by scrapping the provision of Maithili as a subject in the examinations conducted by Bihar Public Service Commission."
Although it was restored by the court decades later, it was too late for lakhs of students whose future had been damaged.
Jha further said Maithili, the language of Goddess Sita, got a boost when the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led central government included it in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution.
"This inclusion paved the way for this language in the Union Public Service Commission, opening the floodgates of opportunities and prosperity," he said.
The panel discussion was part of the Mithila Literature Festival-2 organised by the Maithil Patrakar Group at the Press Club of India with the objective of showcasing and promoting the linguistic beauty and culture of the region, the part of Bihar where Lord Ram was married to Goddess Sita.
"The Maithili language has a bright future. The need of the hour is the translation of Maithili literature into English and other languages and vice versa," he stressed.
Jha requested other panellists to promote Maithili as one of the world's oldest languages. He also sought the promotion of Maithili through mass media, movies, plays and the creation of jobs for the younger generation.
Interestingly, the Delhi government had recently taken a decision to teach Maithili in its schools in view of the 4 million Maithili migrants in the national capital region.
The event was attended by Vijay Jha of the Akhil Bhartiya Maithil Sangh, chief convener Santosh Thakur, political analyst Alok Kumar, Pankaj Jha of ABP and Smita Jha, advisor to Prasar Bharti, among others.