Language management

A. State and Social

16.1. Language planning:

(a) Problems:

Tradition policy of British rule and national interest clashing with each other created serious problem in language management in the early years of the last century. They first advocated Sanskrit, then the recent English and at last they advocated the regional languages. Sanskrit was rejected outright. The conflict between the rest is yet a problem worldwide. Maithili was out of purview till early years of the last century when the Maithili speaking community raised the voice for giving the status of a regional language to Maithili. This added a new problem to the language management in this community.

(b) Policy:

The language policy of the state government is as follows:

Hindi – Medium of education, administration and mass contact in capacity of the State language, Official language, Language of law and Regional language.

Urdu – Second official language.

English – (optional) medium of higher education, administration of justice, and outside communication.

Maithili, Bhojpuri and Magahi - only in secondary education as a subject in capacity of lokbhasa or Regional dialects.

In private mass media, Hindi dominates and is encroaching upon the area of English. Maithili and Bhojpuri have just registered their presence.

16.2. History of planning:

In 1905, Government formed the National Council of Education, which decided that the vernacular should be the medium of education. In pursuance of this policy, Hindi was introduced as the medium of education ignoring Maithili, on the advice of Bhudeb Mukherji, the then Inspector of schools, nourishing the wrong notion that Maithili is only a vulgar form of Hindi. The struggle for installing Maithili on its usurped throne started outright. Under the leadership of Chanda Jha, Parameshvar Jha and others, some organizations planned the strategy for promoting Maithili. The first fruit of this movement was the recognition of Maithili as an independent language for its M.A. examination in 1919. Other universities in Bihar coming up in succession followed suit. Now Maithili is taught as a subject in secondary and higher secondary education. Thus the planning succeeded to some extent in the domain of education except the medium of primary education.

The language management under the state government does not concern Maithili as in Government’s view it is not a language, but only a vulgar form of Hindi. The onus of planning for Maithili is, therefore, on the people who are now busy with the planning to enrich and enable Maithili for getting due place in the remaining domains.

16.3. Process of planning:

The corpus planning of Maithili was initiated in 1878, by George Abraham Grierson with the host of local Sanskrit scholars namely Pt. Babujan Jha, Hail Jha, Chanda Jha, M.M.Paramesvar Jha and others. He was the first to write a grammar of Maithili. He collected good number of words and acquainted the world with the language and literature of Mithila. In the early 20th century Pt. Dinabandhu Jha wrote the first Maithili grammar and compiled the first Maithili dictionary and pioneered the standardization. These efforts were the first phase of the process of planning. The corpus thus produced paved the way for status planning.

16.4. Standardization:

Standardization is needed for the use of the language among the different dialect groups conveniently without hesitation or dubiousness. Linguists and litterateurs decide the standard forms of languages and Government diffuse the same through the network of primary education. Bangla and Marathi are the best examples of this process. Maithili could not get such opportunity as the state government has been keeping itself aloof from Maithili.

The standardization however, started in Maithili in 1881, when George Abraham Grierson (1881 c) wrote the first grammar of Maithili with the help of some local pandits. Among native (local) scholars, Pt. Dinabandhu Jha took the lead by writing a grammar in Maithili of its standard form.

During the thirties of the last century, Ramanath Jha took up the standardization work seriously and methodically considering the tradition and the opinions obtained from a number of linguists, writers and scholars. Surprisingly, the standard form of Maithili that emerged was almost the same as described and prescribed by Dinabhandhu Jha in his grammar. A lot of literature in quarterly Sahitya Partra (193801940) and elsewhere followed this standard, which was nicknamed Ramanathi shaili by his critiques.

In 1961, when Maithili monthly Mithila Mihir restarted from Patna, it devised its own standard simplifying and modernizing to some extent the spelling system of Sahityapatra.

With the establishment of Maithili Academy at Patna in 1975, the standard was fixed and the same was followed meticulously. But practically it followed Mithila Mihir.

Yet the standardization and fixation of uniform spelling is a formidable problem of Maithili. The younger generation seems too liberal, rather self willed or anarchist in this matter. They prefer the form as heard in the speech of lower level mass, heralding it as Dalit vad in language.

The domain in Maithili is yet limited to literature, education and the lips of the people. So the process of standardization of language may take place in other domain only when this language is allowed to enter there.

16.5. Modernization:

Some of the journals and periodicals are appreciably modernizing Maithili in course of dealing sectors of modern life. This is being done in purely practical way. Academic approach is yet a desideratum.

16.6. Script reform:

Maithili has adopted Devanagari and is enjoying the benefit of the reform of that script done outside and Tirhuta, the script is struggling for its survival

16.7. Language movement:

Movement for Maithili is quite different from other language movements. Since its very beginning, i.e., from the second decade of the 20th century, the movement for Maithili has been quite peaceful (from the public platform of Maithil Mahasabha established in 1910). The movement is at the same time slow and steady, without any participation of political leaders, led and supported mostly by scholars, writers, thinkers and social workers and it is mostly stationed out of Mithila. The means of the movement mainly consists of delegations, representations, signature campaign, resolutions passed by hundreds of cultural organizations scattered from Mumbai to Gowhati and from Kolkata to Kathmandoo and the like. The movement began with simple demand of introducing Maithili in education. The movement gradually got its several demands fulfilled. In 1967, Bihar Public Service Commission included Maithili as a subject in its competitive examination. In 1956, Sahitya Akademi accepted Maithili as a literary language, and at last in 2004 Government of India included Maithili in the eighth schedule of Indian Constitution as a major Indian language.

The movement of the type described above is going on for recognition of Maithili as a regional language by the state government, and withdrawal of the state governments order removing Maithili from the competitive examination curriculum of Bihar Public Service Commission.

The regrettable aspect of this movement is the failure to mobilize the people to utilize the opportunity brought about by this movement.

16.8. Effects of planning:

Effect on the whole cannot be said commensurate with the effort taken in planning. Solid infrastructure created so far is satisfactory. Standardization of language is achieved. Corpus is ready with the publication of dictionaries, grammars and histories of literature. Doors are open for the use of this language in primary education, competitive examination of Union Public Service Commission, and in Panchayats and other local bodies. The number, circulation and quality of periodicals are rising. A band of devoted writers are busy with producing literature. Publication of books is satisfactorily progressing in number as well as in quality.

16.9. Agencies of planning:

(a) Government agencies –

		(i)	Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi. 
		(ii)	Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore.
		(iii)	Maithili Academy, Patna. 

(b) Government – aided Institution –


(c) NGOs

		(i)	Chetana Samiti, Patna.
		(ii)	Karnagosthi, Kolkata.
		(iii)	Vaidehi Samiti, Derbhanga.
		(iv)	Maithili Sahitya Sammelan, Allahabad.
		(v)	Sankalpalok, Supaul. 
		(vi)	Maithili Sahitya Parisad, Darbhanga.
		(vii)	Jakhan –Takhan, Darbhanga.
		(viii)All India Mithila sangh, Kolkata; and many others. 

(d) Individuals:

As non-governmental organizations are mostly economically weak, the credit of achievements goes mainly to the individuals devoted to the cause of their mother tongue. Often they devise some organization for the prestige, publish their works at their own cost under the banner of some dummy publishing house.

16.10. Individual: Code switching and Borrowing:

Unlike developed languages, Maithili is yet fragile enough to allow code shifting and code switching. The agency of such changes consists only of individuals. Maithili writers have, successively, been more and more liberal in moulding their language. Maithili literature prior to independence was overridden with tatsama workers. Now purely tadbhava and indigenous words and naturalized foreign words dominate the texemes. Code shifting was a taboo for traditionalists, but it is no more so now. The wall between standard and colloquial forms of language is gradually disappearing.


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