Way to Mithila-IV
Though I had taken few coins from my niece adding to few in my bag for a Samastipur passenger ticket for Rs. 8, I had for the sake of having some change money had gone to a shop where I took a small soap and a packet of blade where a little girl in school dress was asking for half a kg of pulse in Hindi.While I was happy to see the little kid near the MRM College in a not so good but a school dress I though why she did not asked in Maithili. Whether it is development or not would be a question for discussion as that girl must be from the very poor house otherwise that tiny kid of 7-8 year would not have come to take pulse for family in that early morning.In that shop adjacent to MRM College was also at that time was handled by a girl. Women emancipation is coming up no doubt- about a decade back I had a long talk with Kamini, a young Maithili poetess in the same ground of the MRM College where she was studying in BA. She had given me a poetry too for the publication in the Maithili Sandesh which I lost and could not be publish.Only previous day I was watching seriously all the sign boards from Madhubani station to Darbhanga and could not find a single in Maithili to which I had thought would raise an issue in the meeting which in fact was not arranged yet I had told this to Sureshwar Babu and Chandrakant Babu. Particularly at station, bus stand there should be , "Darbhanga/ Madhubani/ …. Station par anhak swagat achhi…" and so in shops …"…et bhetat achhi..".What a shame that there was none such sign board on Madhubani-Darbhanga way barring probably one some portion of which must have been in Maithili describing Pan's taste near Muria and I recalled how a Maithili Muslim Seraz Akram had remarked when I had traced him from one of his mail from Arab that he was a Maithil and had casually asked whether he was from Tarsarai-Muria to which not only he had replied in affirmative he had asked, "Muria ka pan khaye hain daktar saheb.."I do not take pan and have hardly any habit of a typical Maithil(like I narrated do not take fish also because my father who went to Rajasthan in his early childhood became vegetarian and so my family continued at Forbesganj in a milieu of Marwaris my father remained life long).I had guessed for Tarsarai-Muria for Seraj Akram because I had crossed umpteen times that area and even at Ranchi there was a Muslim officer in MECON, Md. Hoda was also a member of our Maithili organization, Bharati there and he always used to talk with me in Maithli but Md. Rahmat, radiographer in my hospital there, a resident of Darbhanga always talked in Hindi despite my attempts for once or twice I too did not persuade.Jaykant Mishra used to say, "Whenever any Maithil meets a Muslim he starts talking in Hndi which is a bad habit."Let me reaffirm that none of the Muslim in Mithla has Hndi/Urdu his/her mother tongue. They are innate Maithils and speak Maithili. My villager Sallu , Suleman and Hafiz all used to speak with us in Maithil and Sallu used to wear dhoti only.Our relations were good though it was true that we did not eat food materials of their houses. Hafiz had even gone to Forbesganj and had stayed in our house where he was provided food and my father had also helped him in getting some job (my father used to provide food for few days to such incomers and usually they get some work in a few days and they use to come to sleep in our open one room/baithak of house which was common in those days and compare it with modern life where even relatives are not welcome in a house?).Let me analyze the problem of Maithili and Muslims a bit more though not connected with the travelogue.Besides my village, there was an all Muslim village Kharra where in my childhood I had gone several times when rice-pounding mill was opened there. There were many pucca buildings and the village could be said richer than our Samaul. Only few hundred meters of fields were in between the village and our village's western boundary a pond on the western bank of which a Shiv Mandir was made by Maharajadhiraj of Darbhanga, Laxmishwar Singh, as he was also married in my village(that temple was divested in 1934 earthquake- the big stone slabs I had seen in my childhood in 1960s also, and it was rejuvenated.Muslms of Kharra village used to come to take bath in our that pond as that village had no pond. They had a separate ghat but adjacent to the main ghat of Shiv Mandir. One can say that even 'water of pond is supposed to be touched-' pani chhuabait achhi' where buffalos and all other too animals were taking bath simultaneously. After all the pond and water is same but there is divide in our minds.I do not say that I am immune to it but a psychology grained in mind may take several generation to go.Probably out of fear Sallu's family decided to leave our village but they did not go to other village rather on the back of the Shiv Mandir they resettled selling land in main village of ours.My mother was highly respected by them and almost of their land was sold to my mother. Once I had gone to my village and knowing that they had also given Gharari to us I had in one evening went to Sallu's new house and had told him that I was not happy over that deal and he can take back the land and resettle to his ancestral place but he declined, "Nahi, et tarkari ke dekh-rekh karay me suvidha achhi."I would be still happy if he returns back though it is doubtful whether I would return to my village, however, I want that some school/library be made in the memory of my mother on that land, if I would have money and energy to do that(and also my mother used to provide some stones for Janani ghat which my sister had hinted to be made on priority).(Many readers have pointed out for developmental work by the Amp and I feel if such work on personal level could be taken up at their respective village that would be a great thing rather than the AMP is taking up this or that village which primarily will remain functioning to organize Maithils everywhere.)Coming back to the linguistic problem of Maithil Muslims as I said we all should speak with them in Maithli and encourage them to break the inertia. Even George Grierson had specified their dilalect as 'Jolahi Maithili' and so I think there is 'jolhi Magahi', 'Jolhi Bhojpuri,'Jolhi Awadhi' etc. and in fact Urdu is an artificially imposed language on Muslims of India.During my padyatra in 1993, Dr. Shakil Ahmad, present MOS,GOI had said," Urdu's future is sealed as it is joined with Muslims as that of Sanskrit was sealed joining with Brahmins.."The fact of the matter is that Maithil Muslims speak Maithili only and country was already divided on the name of Urdu and would again face such a consequence if Urdu is made a vote-catching device by politicians(as was done by Dr. Jagannath Mishra declaring it initially second language of Mithila's some districts and then whole of Bihar including present Jharkhand which unfortunately BJP Govt. too continued despite my statement that Maithili is was Maithili's right as whole of Santhal Pargana was Maithili speaking).Maithili's present has been gloomy as it was joined with Maithil Brahmins while the fact is even Maithil kukur (dog) understands only Maithili(Atuh an ah)! Whether a dog come to you an experiment may be done by migrant Maithils!).Nobody says President Kalam speaks Urdu. He is a Tamil and speaks Tamil. Barring the Deccan settlers from north who would have brought dialects of Braj and Khari-boli (Hndi) from Agra and Delhi to Hyderabad and some similarities of Urdu was hence in the Telangana region of AP(and that is not in the Andhra region again where Muslims speak Telugu only). Kashmir's Muslims speak Kashmiri and so Punjab's Punjabi and what may be more appropriate example that Pakistan was divided as Bengalis chose their mother tongue.My submission is that Maithil Muslims should be taken in the fold of the Maithili organizations. Some like Acharya Nazim Rizvi, Manjar Suleman have already joined the movement and once I had requested Acharya Rizvi to call a Maithil Muslim Conference of the AMP which I would like to attend. He was the first to inform Dr. Kamalkant Jha, the day Maithili was adopted for the VIII Sceule by the Lok sabha!After all I could get a line in sign board in Maithili in Muslim Muria locality!Then that I had change money when I was out of that shop near the MRM College, in the morning around 7 AM, I looked for a rickshaw to save time to go to station. There was one rickshaw puller but he had to go to school at a fixed time for some children must be of the upper strata than the half-kg pulse buyer kid's. But the rickshaw puller suggested me to sit on the tanga going to station. I jumped in that and it was a hilarious experience after many years. Within a few minute of that journey I was amazed to know that there were 600(yes, six hundred) tangas still in Darbhanga though the condition of tongawalla is pathetic and Municipality provide them no shelter or other requisites bit they had to pay tax regularly. They are to run in a completion of rickshaw and autos.Tonga are now more in cinema I thought- who does not know Tongewalee of Shole, Hema Malini (with the cheek of whom Lalu was comparing roads of Bihar but she after visiting the roads had remarked those were compared to that of Om Puri) and on such road a journey on Tonga would have been preferred than over petrol or diesel run vehicle which are in fact causing spinal injuries as well cancer from the fumes).Anyway if Tongewallees replace Tongawalls I am sure the rickshaw/ auto rickshaw passengers would also be replaced to them.Whether they replace them or not I have been always saying why not he scientific advancement percolated to poor one- rickshaw pullers were replaced by another set of auto rickshaw pullers while only rickshaws should have been replaced by auto rickshaws in a true human science.Once I had asked Shymrudra Pathak , class fellow of my youngest brother at the Netahat and IIT, Delhi(who could bring Indian languages as a medium of entrance in the IITs like the UPSC after a protracted struggle) to invent a small machine which could obviate or lessen the burden of rickshaw puller to which he had agreed but had not advanced research in that direction and hence, rickshaw puller were forced to leave their seats for auto-rickshaw pullers.Even Shym Rudra's own admission was about to be cancelled for want of some paper but my father knowing that he was a son of a Maithil pandit from Sitamarhi had requested Principal of Netarhat school( who himself was a Sanskrit teacher) to grant him more time as he was also son of a Sanskrit Pandit(I had seen his letter, a postcard, later at IIT ,Delhi written to son Shyamrudra in Sanskrit) and it was granted and he could become a renowned scientist. So simple (as per Maithil traditions) he was that once his wife told me in the IIT Delhi hostel, "Bhaiya, Main sharm se dub jatee hun jab koi inhe, IIT ke student ko batata hai, bus no. 888 vahan jayegee…ath , ath, ath likha rahega.."She was a daughter of a DYSP and her ego was genuine but Shyamrudra was a made of other metal- once at Darbhanga when I was a medical student he had come and had requested me to wear Khadi to which I had said that maintenance of Khadi was difficult. He said with sorrow, "Bhaiya, aap bhee Khadi nahee pahnege." I could understand his pain and surely I was not 'Gandhi of Mithila,' and I have my own limitation but always a sentence written n the Khadi stall of Samastiput junction in my childhood, I recall, "Khadi vastra nahee, Vichar hai.'Today I would say not only it was correct in fact khadi was replaced by synthetics and millions of people became unemployed like that of those rickshaw pullers. Madhubani Khadi was nationally famous. It was source of livelihood to destitute, mothers of villages and it was fault of persons like me who could not listen to Shymrudra.. He is Shyamrudra and I am merely 'Shyam( the name with which my mother used to call me, given by one of her friend of my matrik Koilakh, Bhalo Sneha , 'Shyam Babu doctor was also famous name from that village of Dr. Bhav Nath Mishra whom later I saw as HOD of Medicine at the DMCH)..I became a doctor and a physician surely like him but could not serve my own people being in a big state of Bihar. Had my state would have been Mithila, I would not have joined at Ranchi or then as a consequence to far Karnataka.I may be called a home sick but would not that little girl in un-pressed school dress who asked for pulse in Hindi will do better speaking in Maithili (after all in IAS etc. higher number of candidates are now opting mother tongue for examination and are competing…If she is to take examination in English ( or even in Hindi) would not that friend of her would fetch higher mark for carrying him to school that rickshaw puller could not take me to station!Few days back Pamabhushan Dr. U. R. Ananthmurthy said me on phone that he was with us for preserving the mother tongue and would have gone to Kolkata for such a conference .It is not a matter of only preserving our tongue but also seeing that the light of development reaches to the last person's house which in case of Mithila would be better by Maithili than any other language.