Maithili Speech Community

Speech Community

14.1. Identity group:

In absence of census, field survey and research, proportion of identity group and functional group cannot be ascertained. It is however certain that more than 90% of the population belongs to identity group.

14.2. Function group:

For the reasons stated above, it is difficult to demarcate the functional group in the Maithili speech community. The Maithili community, being economically and industrially backward, comprises nothing to attract outsiders. Yet some tradesmen from Punjab, Sindh, Bengal, Rajasthan and other places have settled in growing townships. Another type of persons in this group consists of the employees of the Government, public sector and private enterprises and the like posted in Mithila. Their state wise and language wise distribution is difficult in absence of any research works. They come here like migratory birds and rarely settle here.

The men of this group are least concerned with Maithili as all of them are conversant with Hindi. Likewise entire Maithili community has become conversant with Hindi. Nevertheless for FG on social level it is necessary to know local language. Rajasthanis and Bengalis show due respect to Maithili, but others seem to be reluctant.

14.3. Diaspora:

Homesickness of Maithils was proverbial. But that tendency is not totally vanished. Since the last fifty years, persons not only of extra ordinary merit but also of unskilled labour class have been leaving their hearth and home devoid of employment scope. Maithili Diasporas outside the country are mostly in USA and Nepal. Within the country they are scattered mainly in Patna, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Ranchi, where colonies dominated by Maithils are generally named as Vidyapatinagar, Mithila colony, Janakpuri and the like. Large settlements of Maithili labourers have recently sprung up in rural areas mostly in Punjab and Haryana states.

14.4. Ethnic composition of IG and FG:

Identity group is comprised of three races: Aryans, Kols (Astroloids) and kirats (Mangoloids). The last two population is only marginal and they are inhabited in the north eastern and southern fringe areas respectively. The whole identity group is divided into several castes, namely (in order of greater number) Yadav, Brahman, Rajput, Dusanth, Koiri, Chamar, Shekh, Bhumihar, Kurami, Malah, Jolha, Teli, Kanu, Nonia, Dhanuk, Musahar, Tanti, Kaith, Kamar, Hajam, Dom, Dhunia, Kumhar, Dhobi, Kalbar, Keot, Sonar, Amat, Kahar, Khalbe, Kujra, Sudi, Pathan, and Haluai etc.

Among the above castes, Muschar is to some extent migrant and all the rest are sedentary by nature. In FG group, saotars or Santhals in old Burmea and Bhagatpur districts are of Migrant nature.

14.5. Language contact:

Maithili at present has three official languages in Bihar: English, Hindi and Urdu. Naturally Maithili is in close contact with these languages and code mixing is (mingling with the words and phrases from these languages) inevitably increasing. Even avoidable code mixing is rampant in the face of lamenting old guardians. See flap A.

In Nepal, Tarai Maithili has been in close contact with Nepali (Gorkhali), lace and in the past also with Newari. More often switching to English is seen as serious academic discourse, especially in science and technology.

14.6. Convergence, Borrowing and Diffusion:

Maithili may be said to be convergent with Sanskrit on lexicon and phonology. It is attested by the fact that words taken from Sanskrit do not seem to be foreign, and that Maithili rejects all such consonants as they are not found in Sanskrit.

In borrowing, Maithili is indebted to Persian, Arabic, Portuguese, English, Mundary, Hindi, Nepali and the like.

The diffusion of Maithili is not noticed so far.

14.7. Social structure:

Maithili speaking community, or in short Maithili community, is a compact one. The people live together, work together in their day-to-day business helping and depending on each other. The maithili harmony and brotherhood in the face of the structural differences are descried below.

The community is divided broadly in two levels: lower class and upper class. The lower class (in political terms depressed class or dalit varg) is subdivided into two levels: scheduled castes and other lower castes.

Disparity in economic and educational level also divides the community generally corresponding to the above stratification.

Caste divide, so notorious in politics is socially confined to marriage and some other rites, in the organization for monitoring the social code of conduct of a particular caste.

The community, on the basis of religion and culture, is sharply divided into two factions: Hindus and Muslims. The process of assimilation seen in the past, suddenly stopped in the wake of minority consciousness. Muslims generally keep up a distance from the fellow Hindus not only in the sphere of religion and culture but in language as well. Their attitude may be likened to that of functional group.

14.8. Institutionalization:

The institutions of birth, first shaving, marriage and funeral are common to the entire community. Birthday celebration is also being institutionalized in well-to-do families, in all castes. The first rice feeding or (annaprashan) and initiation (upanayan) are found only in upper castes, especially in Brahmins.

14.9. Identity, Status, Loyalty and Attitude of FG:

The functional group in Maithili mainly consists of Sikhs, Sindhis, Rajasthanis & Bengalese. They all are preserving their identity and are loyal to their tradition and kinship. They command due respect by dint of their economic superiority in the poor Maithil society. In attitude, they are money minded and least concerned with the local politics.

14.10. Language and power:

Maithili speaking community lacks cohesion in respect of language. A section of educated enlightened class is in favour of replacing Hindi with Maithili in all regional affairs. Major part of the community being illiterate is indifferent on this issue. A politically powerful section resists the replacement either willingly or for fear of the whip of the national high command. The ambitious section of the community is determined to throw away all other languages in all spheres in favour of English. The scene of languages clashing with each other as like this is common in many parts of the world. It is prompted by the sociopolitical economy. Such class of languages often creates differentiation and cohesion in the speech community.


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