The UPSC Civil Services Exam is divided into three phases – Prelims, Mains, and Interview. In the Mains exam, candidates must select one optional subject, which holds great importance in determining their ranking. Recent trends indicate that literature-based subjects have a high success rate in the IAS exam.

One of the optional literature subjects in the UPSC Civil Services Exam is Maithili, an official language of India included in the eighth schedule of the Constitution. Maithili is spoken in parts of northern Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, and some districts of West Bengal and Assam, as well as in Nepal, and boasts a rich and lengthy literary history.

The Maithili Literature option consists of two papers (Paper I and Paper II) in the UPSC Mains exam, each worth 250 marks for a total of 500 marks. This subject is best suited for those with a formal education in Maithili or those who speak it as their mother tongue. Aspiring candidates should familiarize themselves with the Maithili Literature syllabus and consult recommended books, which can be found in the linked article.

Maithili Optional Paper 1


(Answers must be written in Maithili)


History of Maithili Language

1. Place of Maithili in Indo-European Language family
2. Origin and development of Maithili language. (Sanskrit,Prakrit, Avhatt, Maithili)
3. Periodic division of Maithili Language. (Beginning,Middle era, Modern era).
4. Maithili and its different dialects.
5. Relationship between Maithili and other Eastern languages (Bengali, Asamese, Oriya)
6. Origin and Development of Tirhuta Script.
7. Pronouns and Verbs in Maithili Language.


History of Maithili Literature

1. Background of Maithili Literature (Religious, Economic, Social, Cultural).
2. Periodic division of Maithili literature.
3. Pre-Vidyapati Literature.
4. Vidyapati and his tradition.
5. Medieval Maithili Drama (Kirtaniya Natak, Ankia Nat, Maithili dramas written in Nepal).
6. Maithili Folk Literature (Folk Tales, Folk Drama, Folk Stories, Folk Songs).
7. Development of different literary forms in modern era :
(a) Prabandh-kavya
(b) Muktak-kavya
(c) Novel
(d) Short Story
(e) Drama
(f) Essay
(g) Criticism
(h) Memoirs
(i) Translation
8. Development of Maithili Magazines and Journals.

Maithili Optional Paper 2

(Answers must be written in Maithili)
The paper will require first-hand reading of the prescribed texts and will test the critical ability of the candidates.



1. Vidyapati Geet-Shati—Publisher : Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi (Lyrics— 1 to 50)
2. Govind Das Bhajanavali—Publisher : Maithili Acadamy, Patna (Lyrics— 1 to 25)
3. Krishnajanm—Manbodh
4. Mithilabhasha Ramayana—Chanda Jha (only SunderKand)
5. Rameshwar Charit Mithila Ramayan—Lal Das (only Bal-kand)
6. Keechak-Vadh—Tantra Nath Jha.
7. Datta-Vati—Surendra Jah ‘Suman’ (only 1st and 2nd Cantos).
8. Chitra-Yatri
9. Samakaleen Maithili Kavita—Publisher: Sahitaya Akademi, New Delhi.


10. Varna Ratnakar—Jyotirishwar (only 2nd Kallol)
11. Khattar Kakak Tarang—Hari Mohan Jha
12. Lorik—Vijaya Manipadma
13. Prithvi Putra—Lalit
14. Bhaphait Chahak Jinagi—Sudhanshu ‘Shekhar’ Choudhary
15. Kriti Rajkamlak—Publisher: Maithili Acadamy, Patna (First Ten Stories only)
16. Katha–Sangrah–Publisher: Maithili Acadamy, Patna.

UPSC Maithili Optional Syllabus PDF