Bihar elections are round the corner. All political parties are busy striking the right balance with the caste matrix trying to reach out to more and more caste factions. On the same lines, the national and local news media keep analyzing the election outcomes of these parties keeping caste structure at the centre. This is how elections in Bihar have been since independence, the real issues sit on the backbench as usual and it seems as if discussion on those would only happen during the next century. Some of the issues that need immediate attention are floods, migration, unemployment, education and many more.
Among all the demands, there is one which has remained unnoticed- it is the demand and need for a separate Mithila state comprised of Maithili speaking people comprising more than 40 million almost one-third of Bihar.
The demand arose shortly after Bihar state came into existence after separating from Bengal Province in the year 1912, but during late 1930s the demand was prominently put forward by Maithil Mahasabha With support of Raj Darbhanga, Lakshman Jha eminent leader of Maithili movement in his book ”Mithila: A Union Republic, 1952” writes:
“Taken as a linguistic, geographical and cultural unit, or considered on the extent of its territory or the strength of its population,Mithila has a claim to statehood. In consideration of the suffering of its people at the hands of the Congress rulers from Magadh and Bhojpur this claim to statehood is an urgent necessity”
There were several campaigns Initiated afterwards in 1996 a mass contact campaign was notable
after all these efforts the demand lacks popular support and political will, Tendency to act only during emergency is a fact of our decision makers, we see violent protests and agitations leads to outcry in the country gains prominence This movement so far has been an broader outreach and vocal demand by several groups.
If we look at this region with keeping history in the center Mithila was a separate and autonomous state till 20th century from 11th to 20th century Mithila was ruled by various indigenous dynasties the ”Karnatas” oiniwar Dynasty and Khandwala Dynasty a.k.a Raj Darbhanga.
After all Demand and needs The demand of Maithili being added to The Eighth Schedule to the constitution was accepted in 2002 , the demand now only boils down to single point of a separate Mithila state.
The demand also can be called legitimate as the real problems of region were largely ignored , it is only during elections slew of promises put forward to sweep real issues .
New AIIMS an airport and other promises are only electoral stunts , over more than 40 million population, the region can be called worst affected by flood every year on an average 80% of the area of the region sink lakhs of people getting displaced causing never ending poverty chain since 1979 when government started sharing data of death of people due to flood the number stands more than 5000.
Migration due to lack of infrastructure related to education, employment is highest among all parts of the country , if a recent study by Institute of population studies (IIPS) is to be believed more than half of the households in Bihar is exposed to migration
The state stands with worst at 7 colleges per lakh student National average being 28.7 per lakh , Mithila stands most left out regions with over 40 million population it does not have any institutes of national importance like IITs or IIMs
The region got its separate Identity, Culture, Art , Language ,division of states on linguistic Basis is a fact in India if we consider eighth schedule almost all languages are represented by separate states only some languages where speakers are scattered does not have a separate state , Why a region with their own language people resides in 10-12 districts of Bihar and population of more than 40 million is left out?
Smaller states bring local priorities in focus , it helps protecting the culture which is very necessary for mithila where even after having a indigenous language Hindi is imposed causing Maithili shrinking in the region. With a smaller area to govern the decision makers reach to people becomes easier.
We have seen several examples in the past smaller states separated out of bigger one with political stability delivered good governance, efficiency in social schemes. Chhattisgarh, Telangana, and now Jharkhand sets the example