The city of Kashi or Varanasi inhabited on the banks of river Varuna and Assi still upholds its antiquity and flawless tradition of learning along with its deliberate assimilation to modernism. With possessing unique characteristics, it would be sheer devoid to judge this city with unanimous propositions instead the real visualization could be best materialized only with the intricate patterns which the city holding since the inception of civilization.
The city Kashi remained consistent in maintaining its fine tag as the center of excellence for Sanskrit, Vedic and ancient education; besides in modern times the city relentlessly upbeat the tradition of learning along very fine fusion with modern stream of education.
In this manner city had distinction to attract scholars and knowledge seekers from across the world which still getting momentum due to initiative taken by the great reformers like Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya in the early twentieth century. Establishment of great resourceful institution like Banaras Hindu University in 1916 further kept the edge of this city intact as great center of education.
Nexus between Kashi and Mithila primarily arose for imparting of scholastic ties because having many replications in characteristics including the supremacy of Sanskrit education at both the places. Further these traditional ties placed stronger with the initiation of Maithili language and literature movement from here; inclusion of Maithili in the curriculum of Banaras Hindu University was a historic move by the Mahamana Malaviya.
Such honour to Maithili could be materialized because of very intense participation by the contemporary maithil students; notably as Kanchi Nath Jha ‘Kiran, Murlidhar Jha etc. Co-incidently the first magazine in Maithili (Mithila Mod, 1934) was also published from Kashi under the editing of Murlidhar Jha, later Kanchi Nath Jha had served it for a long time. So, the rambling of Maithili languages and literature towards the organized modern usage in both the academics and journalism was started from the land of Kashi.
Institutionalization of Maithili language and literature in modern context was indeed the most prolific contribution of Banaras Hindu University to this very ancient and enriched language. Truly every honest effort made in this land reaches to the goal in well ordered pace which finally converge with its cosmic cultural tradition; Indeed Kashi is replete with great tradition.
Many great works of Maithil stalwarts like Prof Harimohan Jha and Baidya Nath Mishra ‘Yatri (Nagarjun) was emerged from the plot of this city. ‘Yatri’ had even studied Sanskrit in Kashi and later drawn dozens of his finest poem both in Maithili and Hindi from here, likewise Prof Harimohan Jha had written his magnum opus work ‘Kanyadan’ and its sequel ‘Duragman’ with heavy inferences from the city life of Kashi in early twentieth century.
Next in this series is a politician and author Chaturanan Mishra who drafted a very lucid and problem haunting novel ‘Kala’ which is based on the child widowhood and misfortune of survivor in the absence of widow remarriage system in Mithila. He profusely tried to corner and oust the ill thinking regarding this haunting malady; novel end s with very progressive end.
Plot of this novel comprehensively highlighted the plight of Hindu widows whose segregation and reclusive live was believed as destiny in contemporary orthodox social order, further the inhumanisation of their lives in city Kashi used to legitimized on religious ground; but the real plight of these widows from Mithila and across the country were much horrible above those parochial logic.
Thanks to modern reformism now these practices is getting very thin today and these change could be seen be sensed by passing through the adjacent areas of Ghats; widow house Darbhanga Sewa Griha is today stood like a mute expectator about its exploitative and heart ranching past.
Mithila shared an impractical and unusual short of relationship with Kashi in this regard which were indeed not justifiable from any corner.
Anyway Maithils had been equally contributing to this city in very profound manner; role of Sir Ganganath Jha was legendary in the foundation and development of Banras Hindu University that role later carried forwarded by his worthy son And later the vice chancellor of this prestigious university. In later phage Venishankar Jha and Chandrashekhar Jha had served highest honour of this acclaimed institution.
In the foundation of B.H.U, the royal family of Darbhanga was very active with material assistance; his portray in Bharat Kala Museum of university still reminds his generous contribution. Apart from these hundreds of faculties and thousands of students from Mithila had strengthened these ties to very high level of emotional bond and sharing.
Scholars like Prof Manoranjan Jha (Department of Political Science) had explicitly forwarded the scholaric spirits of this great institution (B.H.U); his vehement counter of Elton Mayo’s subversive work on India (Mother India. 1920’s) reflected the glorious past of this university.
An another Scholar from Mithila Subhadra Jha who held the post of librarian in B.H.U but his real charisma was lie in his meticulous expertise over the Sanskrit, Pali and German languages; his work got warm accolades in academic and literary circle.Threads of relationship between Mithila and Kashi are woven in multifaceted terms; remaining the oldest cultural platform of Banaras Hindu University, Mithila Manch has been witnessing the consistent growing of the university’s cosmic culture.
As a matter of fact Kashi has place for all the culture and ideas which it absorb and preserve with its greater profile. Indeed this city has possessing eternal concern of humanity in very true spiritual sense which doesn’t necessarily bounded with the religious identity.
In its broadness Kashi has established same deep ties from across the country… so the city still seems most livable and out of suffocation. Being alumni of Banaras Hindu University memories are still vivid in my mind about my proud Alma mater … may be I will remain spell bounded with its charm forever.
Atul Kumar Thakur
New Delhi, 6th July 2009