Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Domahala Palace at Deorhi Banaili-Champanagar

The Palace at Deorhi Garh-Banaili

Mithila Folk Songs

Around the seventies of the last century, Lalit Narayan Misra, the then Railway Minister of India and a true son of Mithila, created history by discovering, patronizing and promoting one facet of the hidden cultural heritage of Mithila. He brought to the notice of the world, the exclusive style of traditional Mithila paintings, which came to be recognized as Madhubani school of Paintings. Today this school of Art is well recognized all around the world.
Mithila has a very rich cultural Heritage. Most of it is still lying unnoticed. My present work is related to one among the many unexplored regions within the vast cultural heritage of Mithila.
Since the time of the great Maithil poet Vidyapati, this region was enriched with excellent poetry which was sung by the elite as well as the common people, round the year and especially on various auspicious occasions. Naturally, good music accompanied good poetry. Lilting tunes were created. Like Indian classical Ragas, exclusive tunes were kept aside for every season or occasion.
These songs were passed from mouth to mouth, like the Vedas, from mother to daughter, down the generations. The tunes have quivered but have not been altered much. However, they create an illusion, of being bereft of any systematic beat or Taal.
Taking initial encouragement from my late mother, who was a fine singer of these age-old tunes, I took to learning more and more of Maithili geet. Soon this developed into a full fledged research into maithili folk and Maanglik Music. Extensive training in Indian classical vocal music, which I had taken earlier, came to be very useful, as I discovered, much to my delight that these vintage songs had been created in specific beats or Taal. Most of these beats or Taal were, and still are, being used in intricate renderings of classical music. It only goes to prove the level of sophistication that had been achieved by the maithils, in their day to day music, centuries ago.It is my effort to make a detailed research of these melodies and to present them to the world, in their original form, organized with their respective taal. This mission accompanied, one will come face to face with our rich musical legacies.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

New Article-Panjee-Prabandh and the Caste-system among the Maithil –Brahmins

It all started in the year 1326 A.D.(Shaka 1248) when it was felt, by one and all that it was absolutely necessary to save the contemporary society of Mithila or Tirhut from immigrants who came from all directions and tried to mingle with the natives by claiming to have similar caste status.
Stronger implementation of laws related to preserving of genetic purity was also the need of the hour. So the Elite men of contemporary Tirhut or Mithila decided to start the compilation of a directory of all the eminent men along with a description of their marriages. This compilation was called Panjee-Prabandh[1].
This Panjee-Prabandh was started for the benefit of all the higher sections of the society namely- Brahmins, Rajputs and Kayasthas. But the Rajputs gradually moved out of it owing to their frequent marriage relations outside Tirhut and only the eminent Brahmins and Kayasthas (Karn Kayasthas) continued to make use of the this system of compilation and registration which came to be known as Harisingh Deviya Panjee Prabandh, in remembrance of the King (Harisingh Dev) who had initiated it.
Marriage has been one of the oldest social institutions among all the civilizations of the world and every society has its own laws to govern this institution. Among the Hindus, marriage has been incorporated as one of the ten Sanskaar, which every believer is expected to go through since conception in one’s mother’s womb till one’s death. Purity of blood and lineage was ensured through regulations related to the institution of marriage.
Following the initiation of the Panjee-Prabandh, a particular family was deputed to investigate, or look for details of lineage of eminent men. They were called Panjikaars or Registrars of marriage. Every Brahmin tried to trace his lineage, back to as many generations, as was known to him[2], with details of marriages into other families, and every personal distinction of a forefather. This list was submitted to the Panjikaar, who entered the given information into a register, after verifying it for correctness, thus giving shape to a directory.
Though, qualifications like personal education, intellect and social behavior were looked for, in a person or his lineage, before placing him in a specific strata, such men who could give details of their 16 blood bloodlines[3] or Kul, and had married within the prescribed limits were called Avadaat, meaning pure by birth. A good Brahmin was allowed to marry a girl who was—
Not of the same Gotra,
More than 6 generations away from any ancestor on the paternal side and more than 5 generations away from any ancestor on the maternal side,
Not an offspring of any grandfather, paternal or maternal.
Not a Sapinda of one’s mother, and
Not an offspring of the brother of one’s step-mother.
Consequent to the varsity of the lists entered in the directory, similar families were placed in specific categories or strata.
Five divisions of Brahmins were formed. They were Aeyaant, Baaraant, Maddhyamaa, Bhrashtaa, and Atibhrashtaa. The first three categories consisted of 34 groups of Brahmins (or 34 mool [4]as they were called). The above-mentioned categories or strata were based on the number of good marriages within a family, personal distinction, and abstinence from marriage within the prohibited bloodline.
Mool, is actually, the name of the common ancient abode or origin of a group of Brahmins. People of each Mool or group, mostly, had a common family and forefather. They originally lived at one place, and in subsequent generations, drifted towards other places. Mool was the name of the common ancestral abode of ancient times and the Mool-Graam was the branch, i.e. the common ancestral abode of less ancient times. When we say that one’s Mool is Sodarpuriye-sarisab, we mean that Sodarpur is the Mool and Sarisab is the Mool-Graam. Similarly when we say that one’s Mool is Alayebaar-Baar, we mean that Alayee is the Mool and Baar is the Mool-Graam. This person’s oldest abode was at Alayee but during later years his ancestors shifted and stayed at Baar. Therefore Baar is a branch of Alayee.
With passage of time many branches and sub-branches of the same Mool cropped up and were all entered in the registers of the Panjikaars.[5]
In the beginning the Panjee (Register) was only a record book which contained genealogical details of every family and certified that the marriages were made outside the prohibited sphere. It did not meddle with the caste-status of a Mool due to intermarriages with families of lower strata. As long as one married a person of pure Brahmin bloodline his own status was not affected. But with time, several changes took place within the Harisingh deviya Panjee-Prabandh which altered the original purpose of the system itself.
With passage of time, every new branch or sub-branch of a Mool, now depicted, not only the change of abode but also started suggesting the demotion of the said branch of a mool for having married into a family that was of a lower strata or was a social offender in any way. Mostly led by their inert nomadic nature, the Brahmins would seldom stick to one village as their permanent home and would move to a new place after every few generations, and this occurrence would mostly coincide with a marriage made with a person of a different caste or social status than one’s own.
Eg. The Baigni sub-branch of the Alayaibaar-Baar came into existence when Dharmadhikarnik Gadadhar Jha of the above-mentioned Mool married a girl from Kaligaam mool (This mool was not within the first 34 Mools) and his children out of this marriage shifted to a new abode at Baigni. Thus his descendents were registered in the Panjee as Alayebaar Baigni.
Consequently several branches and sub-branches of a Mool belonging to the above mentioned three strata became insignificant in the eyes of the Panjikaars and other masters of the society. Having made marriages within the lower strata, they had lost their high status. Once, having become insignificant, they were rarely kept for registration in the Panjee.
Now, on one hand, the social status of a learned Brahmin was elevated or maintained when he, inter-related (in marriage) with other learned Brahmin families of high repute. On the other hand there was a marked deterioration in his caste status when he married low, or committed a social offence.
Thus, with time the universal purpose of the Harisingh Deviya system was curtailed. It was reduced to the status of a record–keeper of the elevated 34 mools. The Shaakhaa-Panjee which forms a major portion of the Panjee-Prabandh has very little to do with the remaining 130 (approximate) mools except that it was compelled to mention their genealogical charts as and when they happened to make marriage relations with the superior 34. However, a separate Mool Panjee was maintained by the local Panjikaars to keep the genealogical details of the remaining 130 mools. It may be noted that approximately 164 Mools[6] exist even today.
As time passed and the learned Brahmin society became distinctly divided on grounds of high and low marriages, (a system which sought basis from the categorizations made at the beginning of the Panjee-prabandh, namely-Aeyaant, Baaraant Madhhyamaa, Bhrastaa and Ati-bhrashtaa), five categories were formed. They were- Shrotriya, Yogya, Panjeebaddh, Vanshadhar and Jaiwaar.
Here, let us first know about the word ‘Shrotriya’, not only as a definite section of the Maithil Brahmin society, as is generally understood by the word, but the actual meaning of the term. According to Smriti, the highest manifestation of Brahminism was called “Shrotriya”.

“Janmanaa braahmano gyeyah sanskaaraad dwija-uchchyatay
Vidyayaa yaati vipratwam tribhih shrotriya uchchyatay”

Man, when born of pure Brahmin parents, is called a Brahmin. He attains the position of a Dwija after going through various Sanskaar or sanctifying rituals. Only after receiving proper and high education, he deserves the title of a Vipra. When a person has all the above three qualifications he attains the exalted position of a “Shrotriya”.
In the beginning only the meritorious, were adorned with the title and it was regarded as a personal decoration. In spite of being a member of the Aeyaant and Baaraant one would be addressed as Shrotriya only if he qualified for it and his son could keep his father’s title only on grounds of personal merit. But with the passage of time the above mentioned qualifications were limited to gratification of the first and second only i.e. Purity of blood and passing through a chain of Brahministic rituals. The third but the most important criterion of education and scholarly life was gradually forgotten. Now, one could retain his Shrotriyaship merely on the basis of birth and rituals. In this way the true meaning of the word was preferred to be forgotten by the ones who held the title and subsequently evolved as the highest class of Maithil Brahmin society.
So, when we say that Alayee(Alaybaar) or Darihara(Dariharae) is a Shrotriya Mool we mean that Alayee as well as Dariharae had already evolved as a Shrotriya division at the initiation of the Panjee-Prabandh, having fulfilled all the three requirements that have been mentioned and discussed above.

Shrotriya or Soit
After studying the classification of 34 Mools into the three sections namely Aeyaant, Baaraant and Madhyamaa, we find that the first 20 in Ayaant and Baaraant came to be held as Shrotriya or Soit. Only two Madhyamaa Mools named Surgane and Ekhare and one Atibhrashtaa Mool named Fanebaar was raised to Shrotriya-ship during later times, and all these three instances were affected through the influential interference of Royal families when they made marriage relations with the three Mools. Between the Aeyaant and Baaraant only Alayee and Baherarhi could not retain their high position and fell in rank.

Jogya or Jog
In the beginning, there was no classification called Yogya. This was created later, to mark such people among the Shrotriya (Aeyaant and Baaraant) who had married among the Panjeebadh or Madhyamaa. To further establish this point of view, a list of some of the top class Yogya families that were in full swing of status till 1925, is placed below.

Name of Mool----------------------------Village
Palibaar-Jamdauli- Saraiyaa, Betia
Sodarpuriye-Kanhauli- Mangrauni
Ghusaute-Nagwaar of Ram Thakur- Bhattsimair
Khowaare-Mahuaa- Ranitol
Tisaute-kuaa- Raanti
Maandar-jagaur- Kakraur
Budhwaare-Pariaam- Koilakh
Mandare-Singhauli- Jamsam
Ghusaute-Nagwaar- Samaul
Sarisabe-Khaangur- Chankaa
Palibaar-Mangrauni- Mangrauni

It can be noticed that all the above houses belonged to the top 20 Mools. There were several instances of marriage relations between the above mentioned houses and the Shrotriya, and these were acceptable to the higher-fold. Yogya also includes the three Madhyamaa mools of Baliase-Narsaam (of Salempur and Ranitol), Digho Sannahpur (of Singhwara) and Belauche-Sudai (of Banu Chhapra, Betia) which were elevated at a later stage.

Comprising of the 14 Madhyamaa Mools, the Panjeebadh were popularly addressed as Bhalmaanus. The Panjeebadh frequently intermarried with Yogya and aspired for the latter position. Such people who were adorned with a Paainj but were lower than the Shrotriya and Yogya were called Panjeebadh.

Similar to Yogya, another class came into gradual existence, consisting of Brahmins who were Shrotriya but had fallen low by marrying out of the 34 Mools. Although this demotion never took place during the earlier years of classification, it became a common feature during the later couple of centuries when a derogatory Mool-graam was attached to their Mool.
Kharore-gurdi –(Kharore being an Ayaant Mool and gurdi depicting the low marriage and change of abode. (Rangpura)
Maander-Kataiyaa – (Maander being an Ayaant Mool and Kataiyaa depicting the low marriage and change of abode. (Tetri in Bhagalpur)
Dariharae-Bargaon (Pilakhwar and Malapur near Gorakhpur)

This category was held in high esteem by the Jaiwaar because of having a male lineage from the Aeyaant and Baaraant.
In spite of being placed higher than the Jaiwaar the early birds were not as fortunate as those who followed their footsteps, during later years and were exempted from the dishonor of a derogatory Mool-graam. During the last couple of centuries such occurrences became so frequent because of the newly initiated Bikowaa system, ( to be dealt with later and separately) that the Panjikaars started to ignore the necessity of adorning such Vanshdhars with a derogatory Mool-graam. Thus the later offenders were exempted of dishonour and continued to keep their original Mool and Mool-Graam. There are several Brahmins of Shrotriya and Yogya Mool in the old districts of Purnea and Saharsa who hold the position of a Vanshdhar but are exempted of the derogatory Mool-gram.
Kharore-Bhaur families in Raghunathpur, Ramai and Madanpur (Purnea)
Kujilwar-Bhakhrauli families in Kaajhi and Chikni (Purnea)

There were very few instances where a Vanshdhar was awarded with a Paainj and was thus elevated to the rank of a Panjeebadh.
Eg. Hariambe-Aahil of Bishnupur in Purnea

Lastly came the Jaiwaar,[7] whose Mool was lower than the first 34 and were initially recorded as Bhrastaa and Ati-bhrastaa at the initiation of the Panjee-Prabandh and were barely mentioned in groups such as la-da-fha-dha meaning Lagurdah, Dahibhat, Fanandah (fanebaar) and Dhanauj. Out of these Fanebaar was promoted to the status of a Panjeebadh and later to that of Shrotriya when Maharaja Kameshwar Singh of Darbhanga Raj married a daughter from the house of Fanebaar.
After the establishment of the system of ‘Paainj,’ it was generally accepted that a person without any ‘Paainj’ was a Jaiwaar. Some of them were:-
Name of Mool Name of Village
Nikutwaar Chunapur
Tapanpuriye Mangrauni
Thariyaa Sonsaa
Alariye Nehraa
Katebaar Madanpur

This has already been seen that with every new branch or sub-branch of a Mool a change of abode was depicted. This also started suggesting, at a later period, the demotion of the said branch of a Mool for having married into the lower strata. With the passage of time even this system proved to be incomplete, especially when sub-divisions based on high and low marriages needed to be depicted within the same branch of a Mool. Here is where the system of Paainj or Laukit came into existence.
Now when a person, within the sphere of the Paainj- System married into a family which was either a social offender in some way or lower in status than its own, his position fell to the level of his marriage. Although a derogatory Mool-gram was not added to his Mool due to the growing rate of such occurrences, nevertheless, he would be looked upon as an offender or would be ousted from his own society of higher birth. When in future, he or his descendents, succeeded in procuring matches from higher bred families, and keep up the higher trend, his family would be given a Paainj or a title, which announced that, though having fallen, they had now risen once again and shall be accepted as high born. However, the Paainj never gave back the initial high position, from where one had fallen, but reserved for the family, a place in between the former and the latter. Several Paainj came into existence and were placed in different strata or sreni according to their merit. By the end of the century every Brahmin belonging to the Shrotriya, Yogya and Panjeebadh section was adorned with some paainj or the other. None could boast of an absolutely pure bloodline and the last Avadaat (of pure blood), one Dasrath Jha (Daase) lived more than two centuries ago.
In the beginning a Shrotriya’s Paainj (or Laukit as they preferred to call it) was distinctly different from the Paainj of Jogya and Panjeebadh. But frequent inter-marriages compelled the Shrotriya to accept the non-Shrotriya Paainj Within their otherwise conservative fold. Peculiarity of the Paainj system, where the children inherited the lower of the two Paainj held by the parents, led to gradual extinction of the higher Paainj and their position being taken by the lower ones.
Eg. The house of Banaili which had fallen from Shrotriyaship during the second half of the 14th century was elevated during the last quarter of the 19th century and a Paainj called Parmanand chaudhary Paainj was awarded to the house. It was placed in the second Sreni of the Paainj of the Non-Shrotriyas and was placed above Mahadev Jha Paainj and Kamalnayan pathak Paainj. But due to the downward movement of the Paainj System Raja Kirtyanand Singh of Banaili could not retain his Paainj for his children. His wife held Mahadev Jha Paainj which was lower than his own. Thus all his children were adorned with the Paainj called Mahadev Jha Paainj. [8]
The Chronicles of Sanaatan Dharma lay down a very strict and difficult code of conduct for the Brahmins. A good Brahmin was directed to obey and maintain a six fold path for good conduct and continuous intellectual upliftment. These were-
Adhyayan = Learning
Adhyaapan = Teaching
yajan = performing yagya
Yaajan = performing yagya for others
Daan = giving alms
Parigraha = receiving alms
The Brahmins had learnt and knew that only complete abstinence from any kind of savings in cash or kind would keep them away from worldly luxuries, and thus maintain their commitment to the six fold path. They clung to this key. Every privilege and duty set aside for a Khshatriya (Administration and war), Vaishya (agriculture and trade) and Sudra (Menial works) was strictly prohibited for a Brahmin, failing to do which; they were socially punished and chastised by their fellow Brahmins.
It was primarily, due to the rigorous practice of the above-mentioned code of conduct that the Shrotriya or Soit being the highest manifestation of Brahmanism were basically poor people. They lived under the patronage or monetary support of the Rajas and Maharajas. These learned Shrotriya were received well at the Durbar where every new scholarly work was acclaimed and recognized according to its merit. The scholar would be showered with reverence and sometimes a literary title. These would be accompanied with lavish presents, in cash and kind or both. At times these gifts in forms of land and money would be so sumptuous that it would suffice the financial requirements of the scholar for his life time or even more.
Besides Thakkurs and Chaudharies who also, gave patronage to the learned man, but only within their means, there were some royal houses within Mithila, under whose patronage, the scholars found recognition and bread.
These were: -
The Pahasara and sauriya dynasty of Purnea.
The Khandwala dynasty of Darbhanga
The Banaili Dynasty of Purnea.
The Rajaur or Maldwar dynasty of Dinajpur.
The Oinwaars of Sugauna who were the descendents of the former rulers of Tirhut.

During the 1st quarter of the 19th century, due to the socio-political ambitions of Raja Madhav Singh of Darbhanga, the Shrotriyas were compelled to dwell within a fixed sphere called Soitpura. But before this bondage was imposed, most of them lived freely in eastern Mithila. There dwellings were scattered within the old districts of Purnea and Saharsa which was called Pubaair-paar (eastern side). Some of them were:-

Village-Khokha – Naroune
Village-Rasaarh- Ekhare
Village-Chanaka- Palibaar-Mahisi and Khowaare
Village-Amouni- Khandwala
Village-Farkiya- Karmahe
Village-Gunmanti- Sodarpuriye-Sarisab and Khowaare
Village-Basaiti- Darihare-Ratauli and Khoware-Simarbar
Village-Pahsara- Surgane
Village-Jagaili- Hariambe
Village-Mahisi- Palibaar-Mahisi
Village-Singhaul- Mandare-Singhauli
Village-Rajauraa Mandare-Rajauraa
Village-Harkhaa Budhware-Gangauraa
Village-Padmapur Kharore-Behat
Village-Tearpaar Sodarpuriye-sarisab

Soon after his accession, Madhav Singh also became the social head of Tirhut. Through political utilization of his supremacy over social affairs, Madhav Singh decided to curb forever, not only the rising power of other ruling houses but also the literary influence of the learned Shrotriyas. Under the leadership of Madhav Singh, the entire social set-up was reconstructed in such a way, that the time-old Harisingh Deviya was tarnished forever. It was made mandatory only for the Shrotriyas to take permission (Parmaangi) from Madhav Singh before finalizing every marriage. With the institution of Parmaangi, he severed all connections of the Shrotriyas with the rest of the society. The maintenance of purity was not regarded to be as important for the Yogyas, and Panjibadhs, who otherwise were a definite part of the system. Dualism flourished.
Madhav Singh began establishing a monopoly over the Shrotriyas by confining them within a fixed sphere of land as well as patronage. The learned but poor Shrotriyas were the biggest sufferers because they were left with the rulers of Darbhanga as their only patron and landlord. Thus the Shrotriyas were now compelled to live a closed life. With their access denied to other Royal houses, they now depended completely on the rulers of Darbhanga.
In this way, the Zamindars of Darbhanga Raj, after Madhav Singh, continued to make quite a good use of Harisingh Deviya and the learned Shrotriyas were led into a downhill journey, by the end of which they realized that they had lost almost all, that made them a Shrotriya in the first place. This society of learned intellectuals, which spent most of its time in debates on Dharma, Indian Philosophy, the Vedas and the Upanishads, deteriorated to such an extent that their new pastime, was confined to fighting over each other’s position in the society on the grounds of mere birth and marriages. Now they took sadistic pleasure in ridiculing another Fellow-Shrotriya who, due to a lower position, had to face tough social humiliation on the occasion of every social event. Even the good adjective “Shrotriya” was distorted to a mere “Soit”.
The entire Soit society was engulfed in rituals of various kinds, most of them made only with the purpose of establishing one’s social position above another[9].
The rate of literacy fell to a bare minimum and a time came when the so called lower born Yogya, Panjeebaddh, Vanshdhar and Jaiwaar, who were free from the clutches of the Maharaja, came up with educated and learned men, generation after generation, and surprised the Soits with their intellect.
The actions of the Maharajas of Darbhanga had always harmed the pride and integrity of the Soits. Time and again they compelled the Soits to alter their norms by elevating to Shrotriyadom, every family they chose to marry in. The practice of paying a small sum of 4 Annas per day to every Soit who stayed as a Royal guest at Darbhanga turned almost the entire community into a bunch of lethargic individuals who wasted away their literary talents and took to gradual disintegration. The intentions of the Maharaja may have been sincere and pure but the damage done to the Shrotriya community, as a whole was so clear and pronounced that it could be felt by one and all.
The Soit (Shrotriya) and Jog (yogya) maintained their integrity by practicing utmost strictness in intermingling through marriage. The repeated attempts of several royal families like Banaili and Maldwar to intermingle with the Soits and Jog sent a clear message of recognition of their genetic superiority which reminded them again and again, that their superior bloodline was much in demand and needed to be saved and preserved.
On one side, Soit and Jog men wanted to keep their purer bloodline intact, by marrying within their own social fold and having children by them. On the other hand, many among them could not resist the temptation of wealth and property that awaited them at the doorstep of a Panjeebadh, Vanshdhar and Jaiwaar. This led to the unusual growth of polygamy among the high-borns.
When a Soit boy married a Panjeebadh, Vanshdhar or Jaiwaar girl, he was called a Bikowaa and was not allowed to interact with his own society. He, therefore, preferred to stay with his wife’s family. Although, led by blood and nostalgia, he continued, for some time, to make short and secret visits to his home in Tirhut,. But he never dared to take his wife to his home, lest she be insulted and turned out by his parents. In most of these Bikowaa cases, negotiations were made with the father of the bride-groom, who was more than ready to marry his son to the girl for financial gains but could not openly accept this for fear of being ousted from his own society. Therefore a sum of money payable to the groom’s party was finalized, and the boy was brought to the bride’s house and summarily married. The bride-groom’s father would make propaganda that the boy had been lifted by the men of the bride’s family.
There were several instances where Soit or Jog Men became a Bikowaa at a professional level. Arjun Jha a Jog of Palibaar-Mangrauni Mool took forty wives while another Sur Jha, a Soit of Narone Sulhani Mool had to be contented with only sixteen. Thegh Thakur of Ghusaute-Nagwar mool of Bhatsimair married ten times but Gobardhan Jha a soit of Khowaarae-Simaribaar of Sarisab could find only seven.
But when a bride from the Soit or Jog community was wedded to a Panjeebadh or Jaiwaar boy, she would seldom return to her parents, even for a casual visit. Most of these Brides were completely cut off from their motherland for the rest of their lives. Such relationships, though rare, was condemned by the higher-fold and the immediate family members of the bride were ousted from their society after being cursed with the insulting title of Beti-bechchaa, meaning the seller of Daughter.
In spite of the continuous, efforts made to achieve a higher position within the society of the high born Brahmins of Mithila, most of these Panjee-badh Vanshdhar and Jaiwar families failed to reach the level it aspired for. We find very few instances where a Panjeebadh Vanshdhar or Jaiwaar was elevated to the rank of a Soit or Jog, without making marriage alliances with the family of the Maharaja of Darbhanga.
Eg-The house of Rajaur or Maldwar of Karmahe-Naruaar was elevated to the rank of Shrotriya during the second quarter of the 20th century.
By the end of Mid-20th century, the Era of Soit and Jog supremacy faced a gradual decline in Mithila. The new generation among the Panjeebadh and Jaiwaar decided to put an end to the long tradition of facing any further humiliation at the hands of the so called High-born. They realized that their daughters were very dear to them and could not be given away to any poor, uneducated and twice-married man simply because he happened to boast of high birth. They could easily foresee the independence of India and turned their heads towards the new generation of promising youngsters who were taking up respectable jobs under the Indian Government. These Brahmin boys offered a more glamorous and respectable life to the new generation of educated girls, in comparison to the Soit and Jog who were still under the clutches of false vanity and Pride.
The Last Maharaja of Darbhanga died in October 1962 and within a few years the Parmaangi system withered away. Being free from any political interference, the higher-born developed a natural tolerance towards the other Brahmins and the age-old custom, where a social offender was ousted from society, came to an end.
Now, the free Soits, realizing what all they had lost in the course of one and a half century, decided to throw off the satanic spell, and move towards the restoration of their genetic intellects and literary talents. Though the task was not easy, it was not before long that they started to tread on the road of education and employment, filled with new confidence and self-respect.
Even today, most of the Soits prefer to interact within their own community, and many among the Jog and Panjeebadh are equally choosy. But on the whole, the entire Maithil-Brahmin society has become more accommodating, especially because of the increasing instances of Inter-caste marriages, where the high-born Brahmin parents are being compelled by the new generation to interact with the other Hindu castes as well as Indian Religions.

By-Girijanand Sinha
[1] Alayee-Kul-Prakash and Maithil Brahmano ki Panjee Vyavastha by Pt. Ramanath Jha
[2] Such details, called Samuha-Lekhya were maintained by every Family of repute.
[3]Out of the 16 lines of descent, here are the first half consisting of 8 from the father’s side. Similar 8 lines from the mother constitute the other half.
1. Paternal grandfather of father’s paternal grandfather.
2. Maternal grandfather of father’s paternal grandfather.
3. Paternal grandfather of father’s paternal grandmother.
4. Maternal grandfather of father’s paternal grandmother.
5. Paternal grandfather of father’s maternal grandfather.
6. Maternal grandfather of father’s maternal grandfather.
7. Paternal grandfather of father’s maternal grandmother.
8. Maternal grandfather of father’s maternal grandmother.
[4]Aeyaant:-Kharorae(Khandwalaa),Khowaarae(Khowaal),Budhwaarae(Budhwaal), Madrae(Maander), Dariharae(Darihara), Ghusotae(ghusowt), Tisotae(tisowt), Naronae(Narown), Karmahae(Karmahaa), Babhaniyaamae(Babhaniaam), Sarisabae(Sarisab), Sodarpuriae(sodarpur)=13
Gangolibaar(Gangowli), Pagulbaar(Pabauli), Kujilbaar(Kujauli), Alaebaar(Alayee), Bahirbaar(Baheraarhi), Sakarbaar(Sankaraarhi), Palibaar(Paalee)=7
Dighbae(Deegho,Deerghosh), Belauchae(Belaunch), Ekharae(Ekharaa), Panichobhae(Panichobh), Baliasae(Baliaas), Jajibaarae(Jajiwaal), Takwaarae(Tankwaal), Paduae(Panduaa), Shakunae(Shakaunaa), Surganae(Surgan), Satlakhae(Satlakhaa), Uchitbaar(Uchiti), Biswaarae(Bisfi), Jaalae(Jallaki)=14

[5] Manuscripts- Panjee-Prabandh and its divisions like the Shaakaa-Panjee, Mool-Panjee, Dooshan-Panjee held in the possession of Panjikaar Vidyanand Jha of Purnea.
[6] By the list provided by Panjikaar Vidyanand Jha alias Mohan.
[7] It is believed that such Jaiwars who took to Agriculture (ploughing of the soil which was absolutely prohibited for a brahmin) were expelled from the very society of the Brahmins and came to be known as Bhumihaar (plougher of the soil). These Bhumihaars emerged as a separate caste in Bihar and Uttar-Pradesh but most of them still prefer to be addressed as Bhumihaar Brahmin.
[8] Alayee-kul-Prakash by Pt. Ramanath Jha
[9]1. The custom of fixing the number of men accompanying the bridegroom (Baaraat) according to the caste status of the bride 2.The custom of Sayapanchak etc.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Devighara (Durga Temple) Deorhi Banaili Champanagar