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Bajjika is a language spoken in eastern India and Nepal, considered by some, including the Ethnologue, to be a dialect of the Maithili language.[1] In Nepal, it has been accorded an independent language status with censuses recording it separately from Maithili[2][3] and thus is one of its national languages through the constitution of Nepal 2015.[4] It is spoken in the north-western districts of the Bihar state of India, and the adjacent areas in Nepal.

Bajjika
बज्जिका
RegionBihar of India and Terai of Nepal
Native speakers
12 million[citation needed], Total 793,416 speakers in Nepal (2011)
Tirhuta, Kaithi, Devanagari
Language codes
ISO 639-3
mai-baj
GlottologNone

Contents

Territory and speakersEdit

Bajjika is spoken in the north-western part of Bihar, in a region popularly known as Bajjikanchal. In Bihar, it is mainly spoken in the Samastipur, Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, West Champaran, East Champaran, Eastern part of Saran district, Sheohar districts. It is also spoken in a part of the Darbhanga district adjoining Muzaffarpur and Samastipur districts.[5] Bajjika is spoken in the area between east bank of Narayani river to west bank of Bagmati river.[citation needed]

Researcher Abhishek Kashyap (2013), based on the 2001 census data, estimated that there were 20 million Bajjika speakers in Bihar (including around 11.46 illiterate adults).[6]

Bajjika is also spoken by a major population in Nepal, where it had 237,947 speakers according to the country's 2001 census, and 793,416 speakers in 2011.[7] Main districts where Bajjika is spoken as mothertongue are Sarlahi & Rautahat.

Relationship to MaithiliEdit

Bajjika has been classified as a dialect of Maithili,[8][9] but its speakers now assert its status as a distinct language. When the proponents of the Maithili language in Bihar demanded use of Maithili-medium primary education in the early 20th century, the Angika and Bajjika-speaking people did not support them, and instead favoured Hindi-medium education.[10] The discussions around Bajjika's status as a minority language emerged in the 1950s.[5] In the 1960s and the 1970s, when the Maithili speakers demanded a separate Mithila state, the Angika and Bajjika speakers made counter-demands for recognition of their languages.[11] In the following years, the Bajjika community saw a growth in linguistic awareness, and local movements demanding an autonomous status for Bajjika arose.[7]

Maithili proponents believe that the Government of Bihar and the pro-Hindi Bihar Rashtrabhasha Parishad promoted Angika and Bajjika as distinct languages to weaken the Maithili language movement; many of them still consider Bajjika to be a dialect of Maithili.[10] People from mainly Maithil Brahmins and Karan Kayasthas castes have supported the Maithili movement, while people from various other castes in the Mithila region have projected Angika and Bajjika as their mother tongues, attempting to break away from the Maithili-based regional identity.[12] The exponents of Bajjika have unsuccessfully demanded an official language status for Bajjika from the federal and the state governments.[13]

Films in BajjikaEdit

Lakshmi Elthin Hammar Angna (2009) was the first formal feature film in Bajjika. Sajan Aiha Doli le ke came after that.[14]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Ethnologue: Maithili
  2. ^ National Population and Housing Census 2011
  3. ^ A Sociolinguistic Survey of Bajjika
  4. ^ The Constitution of Nepal
  5. ^ a b Abhishek Kashyap 2014, p. 1.
  6. ^ Abhishek Kashyap 2014, pp. 1-2.
  7. ^ a b Abhishek Kashyap 2014, p. 2.
  8. ^ MultiTree
  9. ^ Ethnologue
  10. ^ a b Mithilesh Kumar Jha 2017, p. 163.
  11. ^ Kathleen Kuiper 2010, p. 57.
  12. ^ Manish Kumar Thakur 2002, p. 208.
  13. ^ Abhishek Kumar Kashyap 2016, p. 169.
  14. ^ "Bhojpuri artist to make first Bajjika film". The Times Of India. 17 August 2009.

BibliographyEdit

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit