(Last Updated on : 31/10/2012)
Bhojpuri serves as a regional language, spoken in sections of north-central and eastern India. It is spoken in the western part of Bihar, the north-western part of Jharkhand and the Purvanchal region of Uttar Pradesh, as well as in neighbouring region of southern plains of Nepal. Bhojpuri as a language is also spoken in Guyana, Suriname, Fiji, Trinidad and Tobago and Mauritius. As for the decision of the Indian domain, including the government of India, while observing census had disagreed and had deemed Bhojpuri to be a dialect of Hindi. However, presently, the government of India has contrived to grant Bhojpuri a 'statutory' status as a national scheduled language. Bhojpuri goes into halves when sharing vocabulary with Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu and other Indo-Aryan languages of northern India. Bhojpuri and several intimately related languages, including Maithili and Magadhi, are together known as the 'Bihari languages'. They are part of the Eastern Zone group of Indo-Aryan languages, which also includes Bengali and Oriya. As such, Bhojpuri literature bears an uncanny amalgamation of these various ancient lineages and their derived languages, unifying many literatures from its adjoining states.
There exist numerous dialects of Bhojpuri, encompassing three or four in eastern Uttar Pradesh single-handedly. The scholar and a multilingual persona Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan actually had composed some works in Bhojpuri. There have existed other composers, who have penned in the language to take Bhojpuri literature to further unbelievable heights, but the number is rather small as compared to the number of speakers. The nationalist writer and scholar Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, had belonged to the Bhojpur region of Uttar Pradesh.
Bhojpuri's 'gradually gathering' impact upon Indian literature is evident in that it had turned into one of the founding groundworks of the maturation of the official language of Independent India, Hindi, in the past century. Bhartendu Harishchandra, who is hugely venerated as the 'father of literary Hindi', was profoundly influenced by the tone and style of Bhojpuri in his native region. Further maturation and germination of Hindi was taken up by high-flying laureates such as Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi and Munshi Premchand from the Bhojpuri speaking region. The trailblazing Dr. Krishna Dev Upadhyaya from Ballia district virtually had committed sixty years in researching and cataloguing Bhojpuri literature in the form of folklore. Dr. H S Upadhyaya had authored the book Relationships of Hindu Family as portrayed in Bhojpuri folksongs (1996). Together, they have catalogued more than thousands of Bhojpuri folksongs, riddles and proverbs from the umpteen districts, Purvanchal Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chotta Nagpur districts near West Bengal. Bhojpuri literature has always persisted to be contemporary in fashion, style and mode. The literature had served as more of a body of folklore with folk music and poems persisting throughout. Literature in Bhojpuri in written format had begun in the early twentieth century.
During the rule of British Empire in India, then known as the 'Northern Frontier Province Language,' Bhojpuri language had adopted a patriotic tone and after Independence it turned into a ''language of the community'. During the later periods, following the dispirited and depressed economic development of the Bhojpuri speaking region, the literature in Bhojpuri was more tilted and inclined towards the humanitarian sentiments and conflicts and crusades of life. In the modern day era, Bhojpuri literature, folklore, art and culture is marked by the stellar presence of writers, poets, politicians and actors that have lent it an innovative and novel dimension, a kind of 'revivification'. Notable contributors to this trend consist of Anand Sandhidoot, Pandey Kapil, Ashok Dwivedi, Bhikari Thakur, and others in India.
The Bhojpuri-speaking region has been historically served with its rich and affluent tradition of creating leaders for building post-independence India, just like the celebrated and respected first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad. Bhojpuri literature was also instrumental in possessing further more personas, following the first President, as in several eminent politicians and humanitarians like Dr. Krishna Dev Upadhyaya, who never did fall short of 'intellectual prominence', which is evident in its literary masterworks. Bhikhari Thakur, acknowledged as the 'Shakespeare of Bhojpuri', has also dished out theatre plays, including the classics of Bidesiya. The trailblazer Dr. Krishna Dev Upadhyaya from Ballia district devoted 60 years to researching and cataloging Bhojpuri folklore. Dr. H. S. Upadhyaya wrote the book Relationships of Hindu family as depicted in Bhojpuri folksongs (1996). Together they have catalogued thousands of Bhojpuri folksongs, riddles and proverbs from the
In the present era, Bhojpuri literature is marked by the company and attendance of writers and poets like Anand Sandhidoot, Pandeya Kapil and Ashok Dwivedi, Editor of the popular Bhojpuri magazine Paati (Ballia), Onkareshwar Pandey (writer and Editor of world's first Bhojpuri news weekly, from Delhi) and performed bulks of work in complying with the Bhojpuri culture and language and documenting the bonded and apprenticed labourers' arrival on the island. Manoj Bhawuk had shot himself into prominence for his literary work in Bhojpuri Tasveer Zindagi ke and for his contributions in the maturation and evolvement of Bhojpuri Literature. In the United States, Sailesh Mishra, another present day Bhojpuri campaigner, poet and writer has been acknowledged and respected as the founder of Bhojpuri Association of North America (BANA) in 2005 and for his contributions in boosting and pushing Bhojpuri language and culture traversing the globe. Sailesh Mishra is also popularly admired as the Creator of Bhojpuri Express Network (BEN), for unifying the online Bhojpuri community on the Internet. Beyond such names, an avid Bhojpuri evangelist, Avinash Tripathi had established Bhojpuri Association of India (BHAI) in 2008 to symbolise the voice of Bhojpuri all through the world. Newly linked up and major part of this Bhojpuri literature and its advancement is the Bhojpuri Sahitya Sammelan magazine, with Arunesh Niran as its editor and Dr. Uday Prakash Pandey serving as co-editor. These people had been endeavouring to reinvent the glory of reinvoking the links of Bhojpuri of Mauritius and India. There are similar such more efforts to benefit the deserved value for Bhojpuri.