“I strongly condemn the disrespect shown to Paag by way of throwing it away from the head of Darbhanga BJP candidate Gopaljee Thakur and leave it discourteously abandoned and trampled on the street of the city notwithstanding its cultural values and honour. Darbhanga, once the gateway of Bengal, was the capital of the erstwhile Mithila King Kameshwar Singh, who earned a reputation for his cultural ethos.’ said noted author and cultural activist Dr Birbal Jha, Chairman of Mithilalok Foundation working for socio-economic and cultural development.
Remarkably, the 'Save the Paag Campaign' was launched by Mithilalok Foundation years ago to press upon the government to acknowledge, pre-historic Paag, the cultural identity of the belt on the hand and awaken the masses to the need for cultural movement and safeguard the age-old tradition on the other. The movement saw a tremendous response as more than a crore of volunteers came forward and took to streets to register their support for the social cause.
Consequently, the NDA Government led by PM Narendra Modi in 2017 issued a postal stamp featuring Mithila Paag, cultural identity of the region in recognition of its value, public sentiments and demands made through the campaign.
However, when on 5th of April 2019, a procession was taken out to mark the filing of the pompous nomination of the BJP candidate Gopaljee Thakur replacing the sitting and rebellious BJP MP Kirti Azad from the Parliamentary seat, an urchin in the visibly heavy crowd shook off Paag on Thakur’s head to the ground and left it abandoned and trampled.
Interestingly, Kirti Azad, who is the first Maithil to don Paag to the parliament, has switched over to Congress to fight election from Dhanbad, seeking Rahul Gandhi’s hands to sail through his electoral boat in the ensuing general election 2019.
“Whosoever, taking the advantage of the crowd has brought such a wanton disgrace and dishonour to the Paag, a great token of respect bestowed in the region must be censured for his mischievous act.”, further said Dr Birbal, known as the ‘Youngest Living Legend of Mithila’ a title of honour given and mentioned in the book- Living Legends of Mithila authored by Vivekanand Jha.
In the Past, the honour of paag was received by former PM Atal Bihar Vajpayee, former Congress President Sonia Gandhi, PM Narendra Modi and many others.