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The Political and Cultural Heritage of Mithila

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Item Code: HAP331
Author: Radhakrishna Choudhary
Publisher: Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University, Bihar
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9789383647071
Pages: 414
Other Details 10x7.5 inch
Weight 1.01 kg
Book Description
About the Author

Late Prof. Radhakrishna Choudhary (15th Feb 1924- 15th Mar 1985) was professor in the department of Ancient Indian History, G. D. College, Begusarai. He was associated with several research institutions in India and abroad such as Indian History Congress, All India Oriental Congress, Annals of the Bhandarkar Research Institute, Bihar Research Society, Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Sahitya Academy etc. He was the founder members of K. P. Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna. Late Prof. R. Choudhary was a prolific writer, thinker and proponent of novel and inspirational ideas for coming generation of research scholars and historians.

Among over a dozen of his books related to ancient Indian history and culture he wrote more than 150 research articles published in national as well as international journals.


Maharajadhiraja Kameshwar Singh Kalyani Foundation was established by Maharaniadhirani Kam Sundari Devi at Darbhanga. One of the core objectives of Kalyani Foundation is to work for the promotion of socio-cultural and educational activities. To achieve this objective, the board of trustees of the Foundation led by late Prof. Hetukar Jha (1944-2017) decided to start the Kameshwar Singh Bihar Heritage Series of publication. The idea was to bring out old records, documents and books of historical significance which are either unpublished, out of print or not accessible to the community of scholars working on Bihar in particular and the society in general.

The book published here "The Political and Cultural Heritage of Mithila" was written by late Prof. Radhakrishna Choudhary, a historian of great repute. Unfortunately, due to his sad demise, the manuscript remained unpublished for decades. Few years ago, his sons (Prasnna Choudhary and Pranav Choudhary) came across this manuscript in the personal library of Prof. Choudhary. Sri. Pranav Choudhury was kind enough to provide the typed copy of the book to the Foundation through Sri. Manas Bihari Verma (Member of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation). This posthumous book is an attempt to provide a comprehensive history of the region of Mithila, north Bihar. The Board of Trustees of Maharajadhiraja Kameshwar Singh Kalyani Foundation decided to publish the book this year. I am thankful to the members of the family of late Prof. Choudhary for providing us this great opportunity.

The Foundation is immensely grateful to Sadan Jha (Associate Professor, Centre for Social Studied, Surat) who meticulously edited this book on our request. We also received cooperation from Prof. Krishna Kumar Mandal (Department of History, T.M.B.University, Bhagalpur), Mithilesh Kumar Jha (Department of Political Science, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati) and Mitra Nath Jha on several occasions, for which we are in debt to them. The Foundation shall remain obliged to Amit kumar who prepared cover design and Shardendu Chaudhary of Shekhar Prakashan for undertaking the job of printing this book.


The poetic and the philosophical, here, exceed the historical and the documentary. Sugata, an epithet of Buddha (lit. the well-Gone one) is going in the direction of the Mithila. By no imagination, this is to say that the poetic is not part of the historical. In fact, I celebrate precisely this coming together of the two in this verse by a theri named Vasetthi from what has been hailed as the first anthology of women's literature in the world. These udâna or the 'inspired utterances' (as the sixth century Buddhist commentator recognised these poems) bring joy and euphoria to me when I too see the Buddha going toward Mithila. However, more than the figure of the Buddha, it is the direction toward a landscape called Mithila that take precedence in my celebration. It is this space of Mithila that connects the past of theri Vasetthi with myself. In that sense, in the poem, the Buddha's movement toward Mithila creates a visual pathway and initiates us to think about Mithila as the one that is stretched before us like a historical canvas. Like the Sugata who is afraid of no one and nothing', the discipline of history is the guide in this journey. And, when it comes down to the history of Mithila, who could be better guide than Radhakrishna Choudhary.

Radhakrishna Choudhary (1924-1985) is the most prolific among historians of Mithila. Posthumously published, the book presented here, is a testimony of his vast reach and diligent approach to the history of this region. Mobilising a massive and a wide range of historical registers (this includes sources as diverse as Chinese travellers account, PrakrtaPainglam, writings of Vidyapati, daily of Mulla Taqia, Persian MSS Basatinuluns manuscripts from Nepal, Vyawasthapatra (judgements, contracts and deeds from Mithila), numismatic evidences and archaeological discoveries), the writer presents a history of Mithila which covers the pre-colonial period in its entirety.

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