Meet Master weaver and Padma Shri Gobardhan Panika

Bhubaneswar/Koraput: He was only 12-year-old when he left school and took up the family business of weaving to help his father and shoulder family responsibilities.

Soon with his hard work and dedication, he became a master craftsman and went on to win several awards. Yes, we are talking about Kotpad assembly constituency’s Gobardhan Panika, one of the five eminent persons from Odisha, who has been selected for the highest civilian award of the country, the Padma Shri. The names of the Padma awardees were earlier announced on the eve of Republic Day on Thursday.

More than 30 years have gone by since Panika adopted the family business but he continues to work with the same enthusiasm and dedication as he thinks there’s a lot more to achieve in life.

Panika had earlier won the  National Merit Award, Sant Kabir and other national awards for his immense contribution to weaving.

“The Padma Shri Award’s announcement was a surprise for me as I had never expected it. My family is also very happy. The award will encourage me to continue promoting this craft and weaving skills across the globe,” said an elated Panika.

“Panika deserved that. We are proud of him for all the laurels he has brought for Kotpad,” said Prahllad Mohanty, a local resident.

Congress MLA from Kotpad Chandra Sekhar Majhi also thanked the government for recognising the talent of Panika and recommending him for the Padma Award.

“Panika is someone who truly deserved the award. If the state and the central government lend a hand, more people from Kotpad can achieve such glory and scale new heights,” said Majhi.

Panika’s Works
His skilled technique and creativity draws inspiration from nature and the local flora and fauna.

His hand-woven textiles have tribal motifs along with flowers, animals, fish, starts and pyramids. He sets the loom for each piece of handloom making all his textiles turn out to be unique.

Panika weaves saree, shawl, towel and other products which are 100% cotton with natural thread fibers.