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Mithila, Maithili, Mithilanchal - The Soul of Maithils by Santosh Kumar Jha

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Genealogical System

 
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Welcome To The Mithila Group - The Mithila Group Mein Apnek Swagat Achhi.:- Santosh Kumar Jha
 

GENEALOGICAL SYSTEM

The "Seed Man" and the Patrilineage

Every major patrilineage, called mul by Maithil Brahmans, was founded by an "apical ancestor," the viji purusha, in the thirteenth century. These founding ancestors were settled in a particular village, which generally was the name given to the mul. In some cases the viji purusha founded more than one mul if his sons and grandsons at a critical juncture had resettled in a different village, as Brahmans sometimes did, when given land-gifts or called to a village as purohit to a major landowner. The association of a mul with a village, however, was critical.

The word mul literally means "roots of a tree." Roots are founded in the earth; territoriality is implicit in the very concept. The viji purusha, or the "seed man" who founded the mul, is a kind of eternal father of an eternal lineage, housed more or less permanently in a village.

The question is, is there an eternal mother?

 

The King and the Genealogies of Maithil Brahmans

In 1310, Raja Harisingh Deva ordered the creation of written genealogies for all the superior castes of the kingdom. This event was known as panji prabandha, the founding of the panji (genealogical) system.

Genealogists went to all the principal castes to write down each family’s ancestors for the last six generations. These were the relatives who had to be remembered in order to avoid incest. There were other reasons, as well: All the descendants from a common ancestor had to observe certain ritual restrictions, such as death tabus.

One of the original 13 Srotriya muls, Kharoraya Bhaur

The "apical ancestor," or the founding ancestor, of each family was called the viji purusha, or "seed man" of the lineage. The lineage itself was known as the mul.

Eight generations later , one of the descendants of Gangadhar Jha, whose name was Mahesh Thakur, became an important official under the Mughals. Mahesh Thakur was responsible for collecting revenues for a vast territory for forwarding to Akbar; a percentage of this fund he could keep for his own reward. He was thus on the way toward founding a new dynasty. At this point he and the Brahmans initiated a reorganization of the muls.

As a part of this reorganization, a caste-wide re-evaluation of the quality of all the branches which had emerged in the previous eight generations was undertaken by the genealogists. It was made effective as of the 12th generation. Each newly re-evaluated branch was called a gram, meaning "local branch" (literally, "village"). The newly identified sublineages were called mulgrams, and ranked as Srotriya, Yogya, or Bans (a "good family"). Unsurprisingly, the family of Mahesh Thakur, whose mulgram was called Kharoraya Bhaur, became Srotriyas. This became the royal line of Darbhanga Raj.

 

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In the case of the descendants of Gangadhar Jha, three main muls were distinguished and Kharoraya was subdivided into 36 mulgrams of varying ranks.

By mid-twentieth century, the 24th generation of Maithil Brahmans had been born. The last maharaja, Kameshwar Singh, died in 1962. By that year the government of independent India had abolished princely titles throughout the country. The loss of political power has resulted in serious decline in influence of the patrilineages.



Regards
Santosh Kumar Jha
Founder The Mithila Group
www.isantosh.com

 
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