Preserve Mithila Culture

Janakpur located on southern plains of country represents ancient civilisation and enlightenment tradition. Known as Bideh or Mithila, the Vedic city has given birth to famous kings, sages and scholars. Rajarshi (philosopher king) Janak, sages Astabakra, Yajnavalkya, Gargi, Maitraeyi and Anusuya had played their vital role in spreading values of knowledge, wisdom, peace and justice in the ancient time when the world had witnessed the dawn of agriculture age. Yajnavalkya was one of the earliest philosophers in recorded history and has been mentioned in Upanishad. Astabakra’s philosophy and teaching is very inspiring as it sheds light on the human nature, soul, existence, harmony and liberation. Power and popularity of female philosophers such as Gargi and Maitrayi give a clear indication that Eastern world was rich and advanced compared to the West when it comes to gender parity, an issue that widely permeates political, social and academic arenas these days. The ideas of king Janak are highly relevant in the present time. He stipulates that power should not supersede knowledge and the rulers must be wise, learned and people-centric. It is now common consensus that governance system must be guided by the general will and no arbitrary rule is accepted by the people. The Western philosophers took this idea millennia after king Janak espoused and applied it in the ancient state of Bideh. Moreover, Janakpur is the birthplace of Goddess Sita. She has been a source of inspiration for all Nepali women. Sita embodies strong character, compassion, sacrifice, integrity and aestheticism. These all make Mithila culture unique and emulating. It promotes the feelings of ‘Basudhaiva Kutumbakam (co-existence of all)

On the occasion of Janaki Nawami the other day, President Bidya Devi Bhandari invoked Mithila’s ancient glorious history and urged all to embrace it for the betterment of family, society and nation as a whole. Addressing a function in Janakpur, President Bhandari noted that the Janaki festival, the special celebrations of the Mithila region, would help further consolidate the socio-cultural relations, national unity and integrity. She said the Janaki Temple stood as the epitome of the unique Maithili art, history, architecture and culture. However, the ancient Vedic town lost its great tradition of knowledge and critical discourse over the centuries. As a result, ignorance, poverty, superstition, backwardness and disparity began to rule the roost. In the pious land of Sita, many women have been subject to atrocities, domestic violence and exploitation. Evil dowry tradition commodified many women to the extent they have to lose their life. In view of the plight of Mithila women, the President had launched a campaign entitled ‘Beti Bachau, Beti Padhau’ (Save daughter, educate daughter’) last year at the initiative of State 2 government. This drive has been very effective to its mission. In addition to preserving culture and enlightenment tradition of Janakpur, it is necessary to boost its infrastructure development with focus on agriculture production. Conservation of Chure area is the key to ensure ecology and water resources of Mithila. Janaki Nawami, the birthday of Sita, offers a moment to make a resolve for the enhancement of great Vedic civilisation and culture.  

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