Bihari Literature.—In all three dialects there are numerous folk-epics transmitted by word of mouth. Several have been published at various times in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal and in the Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft. The only dialect which has any Literature. real literature is Maithili. The earliest writer of whom we have any record is Vidyapati Ṭhakkura (Bidyapati Thakur), who lived at the court of Rājā Śiva Siṁha of Sugaonā in Tirhut in the 15th century. He was a voluminous Sanskrit writer, but his fame rests chiefly on his dainty lyrics in Maithili dealing with the loves of Rādhā and Krishna. These have exercised an important influence on the religious history of eastern India. They were adopted and enthusiastically recited by the reformer Caitanya (16th century), and through him became the home-poetry of the Bengali-speaking Lower Provinces. Their language was transformed (we can hardly say translated) into Bengali, and in that shape they have had numerous imitators. A collection of poems by the old Master-singer in their Maithili dress has been published by the present writer in his Chrestomathy of that language. The most admired of Vidyapati’s successors is Manbōdh Jhā, who died in 1788. He composed a Haribans, or poetical life of Krishna, which has great popularity. Many dramas have been composed in Mithila. The fashion is to write the body of the work in Sanskrit and Prakrit, but the songs in Maithili. Two dramas, the Pārijāta-haraṇa and the Rukmiṇī-pariṇaya, are attributed to Vidyāpati. Among modern writers in the dialect, we may mention Harṣanātha, an elegant lyric poet and author of a drama entitled Uṣā-haraṇa, and Candra Jhā, whose version of the Rāmayāṇa and translation of Vidyāpati’s Sanskrit Puruṣa-parīkṣā are deservedly popular.
Authorities.—The Linguistic Survey of India, vol. v. part ii. (Calcutta, 1903), gives a complete conspectus of Bihari in all its dialects and sub-dialects. See also G. A. Grierson, Seven Grammars of the Dialects and Sub-dialects of the Bihárí Language, parts i. to viii. (Calcutta, 1883-1887—these deal with every form of Bihari except standard Maithili); and S. H. Kellogg, A Grammar of the Hindí Language, in which are treated High Hindí ... also the Colloquial Dialects of ... Bhojpur, Magadha, Maithila, &c. (2nd ed., London, 1893).
For Maithili, see G. A. Grierson, An Introduction to the Maithilí Language of North Bihár, containing a Grammar, Chrestomathy and Vocabulary; part i. Grammar (Calcutta, 1881; 2nd ed., 1909); part ii. Chrestomathy and Vocabulary (Calcutta, 1882). For Vidyāpati Ṭhakkura, see J. Beames, “The Early Vaishnava Poets of Bengal,” in Indian Antiquary, ii. (1873), pp. 37 ff.; the same, “On the Age and Country of Vidyapati,” ibid. iv. (1875), pp. 299 ff.; anon, article in the Baṇga Darśana, vol. iv. (1282 B.S.), pp. 75 ff.; Sāradācarana Maitra, Introduction to Vidyāpatir Padāvalī (2nd ed., Calcutta, 1285 B.S.); G. A. Grierson, Chrestomathy, as above; “Vidyāpati and his Contemporaries,” Indian Antiquary, vol. xiv. (1885), pp. 182 ff.; “On some Mediaeval Kings of Mithilâ,” ibid. vol. xxviii. (1899), pp. 57 ff.
For Bhojpuri, see J. Beames, “Notes on the Bhojpurí Dialect of Hindí spoken in Western Bihár,” in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. iii. N.S., 1868, pp. 483 ff.; A. F. R. Hoernle, A Grammar of the Eastern Hindí compared with the other Gaudian Languages (here “Eastern Hindí” means “Western Bhojpurī”), (London, 1880); J. R. Reid, Report on the Settlement Operations in the District of Azamgarh (Allahabad, 1881—contains in appendices full grammar and vocabulary of Western Bhojpurí).
No special works have been written about Magahi.
BIHĀRĪ-LĀL, a name famous in Hindustani literature as the author of the Sat-saī, a collection of approximately seven hundred distichs, which is perhaps the most celebrated Hindi work of poetic art, as distinguished from narrative and simpler styles. The language is the form of Hindi called Braj-bhāshā, spoken in the country about Mathura, where the poet lived. The couplets are inspired by the Krishna side of Vishnu-worship, and the majority of them take the shape of amorous utterances of Rādhā, the chief of the Gōpīs or cowherd maidens of Braj, and her divine lover, the son of Vasudēva. Each couplet is independent and complete in itself, and is a triumph of skill in compression of language, felicity of description, and rhetorical artifice. The distichs, in their collected form, are arranged, not in any sequence of narrative or dialogue, but according to the technical classification of the sentiments which they convey as set forth in the treatises on Indian rhetoric.
Little is known of the author beyond what he himself tells us. He was born in Gwalior, spent his boyhood in Bundēlkhand, and on his marriage settled in his father-in-law’s household in Mathurā. His father was named Kēsab Rāy; he was a twiceborn (Dwija) by caste, which is generally understood to mean that he was a Brāhman, though some assert that he belonged to the mixed caste, now called Rāy, sprung from the offspring of a Brāhman father by a Kshatriya mother. A couplet in the Sat-saī states that it was completed in A.D. 1662. It is certain that his patron, whom he calls Jai Shāh, was the Rājā of Āmbēr or Jaipur, known as Mīrzā Jai Singh, who ruled from 1617 to 1667 during the reigns of the emperors Jahāngīr, Shāh Jahān and Aurangzēb. A couplet (No. 705) appears to refer to an event which occurred in 1665, and in which Rājā Jai Singh was concerned. For this prince the couplets were composed, and for each dōhā the poet is said to have received a gold piece worth sixteen rupees.
The collection very soon became celebrated. As the couplets are independent one of another, and were put together fortuitously as composed, many different recensions exist; but the standard is that settled by an assembly of poets under the direction of Prince A‘zam Shāh, the third son of the emperor Aurangzēb (1653-1707), and hence called the A‘zam-shāhī; it comprises 726 couplets. The estimation in which the work is held may be measured by the number of commentators who have devoted themselves to its elucidation, of whom Dr Grierson mentions seventeen. Two of them were Musalmans, and two other commentaries were composed for Musalmān patrons. The collection has also twice been translated into Sanskrit.
The best-known commentary is that of Lallū-jī-Lāl, entitled the Lāla-chandrikā. The author was employed by Dr Gilchrist in the College of Fort William, where he finished his commentary in 1818. A critical edition of it has been published by Dr G. A. Grierson (Calcutta, government of India Press, 1896).
(C. J. L.)
BIJAPUR, an ancient city and modern district of British India in the southern division of Bombay. It is a station on the Southern Mahratta railway, 60 m. S. of Sholapur. The ancient city was supplied with water by an elaborate underground system of reservoirs and aqueducts, which has been restored in part as a famine relief work. The population in. 1901 was 23,811. The city used to be the extensive, splendid and opulent capital of an independent sovereignty of the same name, but now retains only the vestiges of its former grandeur. It is still, however, the most picturesque collection of ruins in India. The city of Bijapur owed its greatness to Yusuf Adil Shah, the founder of the independent state of Bijapur. It consists of three distinct portions—the citadel, the fort and the remains of the city. The citadel, built by Yusuf Adil Shah, a mile in circuit, is of great strength, well built of the most massive materials, and encompassed by a ditch 100 yds. wide, formerly supplied with water, but now nearly filled up with rubbish, so that its original depth cannot be discovered. Within the citadel are the remains of Hindu temples, which prove that Bijapur was an important town in pre-Mahommedan times. The fort, which was completed by Ali Adil Shah in 1566, is surrounded by a wall 6 m. in circumference. This wall is from 30 to 50 ft. high, and is strengthened with ninety-six massive bastions of various designs. In addition there are ten others at the various gateways. The width is about 25 ft.; from bastion to bastion runs a battlemented curtained wall about 10 ft. high. The whole is surrounded by a deep moat 30 to 40 ft. broad. Inside these walls the Bijapur kings bade defiance to all comers. Outside the walls are the remains of a vast city, now for the most part in ruins, but the innumerable tombs, mosques, caravanserais and other edifices, which have resisted the havoc of time, afford abundant evidence of the ancient splendour of the place. Among its many buildings three are specially worthy of mention. The Gol Gunbaz, or tomb of Sultan Mahommed Adil Shah, which was built 1626-1656, is one of the most interesting buildings in the world. It is a square building, 135 ft. each way, which is surmounted by a great circular dome 198 ft. high. The inside area (18,360 ft.) is greater than the Pantheon at Rome (15,833 sq. ft.). When first built the dome was covered by gold leaf, and the outer walls were adorned with stucco work picked out in gold and blue, but to-day there are very few traces of this