|Region||Bihar of India and Terai of Nepal|
|12 million, Total 793,416 speakers in Nepal (2011)|
|Tirhuta, Kaithi, Devanagari|
Bajjika is a language spoken in eastern India and Nepal, considered by some, including the Ethnologue, to be a dialect of the Maithili language. It is spoken in the north-western districts of the Bihar state of India, and the adjacent areas in Nepal.
Territory and speakers
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, some eastern parts of East Champaran and Saran district, Sheohar districts. It is also spoken in a part of the Darbhanga district adjoining Muzaffarpur and Samastipur districts. Bajjika is spoken in the area between east bank of Narayani river to west bank of Bagmati river. The Bajjika speaking areas roughly coincide with Tirhut division.
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).
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. Main districts where Bajjika is spoken as mothertongue are Sarlahi & Rautahat.
Relationship to Maithili
Bajjika has been classified as a dialect of Maithili, but its speakers now assert its status as a distinct language. Whether Bajjika is classified as a dialect of Maithili depends on whether 'Maithili' is understood as the term for the specific standard Maithili dialect spoken in northern Bihar, or as the name for the whole language as the group of all related dialects together. 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. The discussions around Bajjika's status as a minority language emerged in the 1950s. 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. In the following years, the Bajjika community saw a growth in linguistic awareness, and local movements demanding an autonomous status for Bajjika arose.
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. 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. The exponents of Bajjika have unsuccessfully demanded an official language status for Bajjika from the federal and the state governments.
Films in Bajjika
Lakshmi Elthin Hammar Angna (2009) was the first formal feature film in Bajjika. Sajan Aiha Doli le ke came after that.
- Ethnologue: Maithili
- Abhishek Kashyap 2014, p. 1.
- Abhishek Kashyap 2014, pp. 1-2.
- Abhishek Kashyap 2014, p. 2.
- Mithilesh Kumar Jha 2017, p. 163.
- Kathleen Kuiper 2010, p. 57.
- Manish Kumar Thakur 2002, p. 208.
- Abhishek Kumar Kashyap 2016, p. 169.
- "Bhojpuri artist to make first Bajjika film". The Times of India. 17 August 2009. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013.
- Abhishek Kashyap (2014). "On the linguistic resources of Bajjika". In Vibha Chauhan (ed.). The People's Linguistic Survey of India. Vol. 6: The Languages of Bihar. Orient Blackswan.
- Abhishek Kumar Kashyap (2016). "The representation of gender in Bajjika grammar and discourse". In Julie Abbou; Fabienne H. Baider (eds.). Gender, Language and the Periphery: Grammatical and social gender from the margins. John Benjamins. ISBN 978-90-272-6683-5.
- Kathleen Kuiper, ed. (2010). The Culture of India. Rosen. ISBN 978-1-61530-149-2.
- Manish Kumar Thakur (2002). "The politics of minority languages: Some reflections on the Maithili language movement" (PDF). Journal of Social and Economic Development. 4 (2): 199–212.
- Mithilesh Kumar Jha (2017). Language Politics and Public Sphere in North India: Making of the Maithili Movement. Oxford University Press India. ISBN 978-0-19-909172-0.
- Kashyap, Abhishek Kumar. 2014. The Bajjika language and speech community. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 227: 209-224.
- Kashyap, Abhishek Kumar. 2012. The pragmatic principles of agreement in Bajjika verb. Journal of Pragmatics 44: 1668-1687.
- http://www.bajjika.in Archived 2020-11-02 at the Wayback Machine Official Website of Bajjika Vikash Manch