BHUBANESWAR: Four persons from Odisha - Gopinath Swain, Binod Maharana, Bhagabat Pradhan and Binod Kumar Pasayat - have been selected for the prestigious Padma Shri awards for 2024. The highest civilian awards were announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday.
Hailing from Govindapur village in Sheragada block of Ganjam, 105-year-old Gopinath has been performing Krishna Leela for over nine decades now. “This is a recognition of my devotion towards Krishna Leela. I have been performing and teaching for close to 90 years now. Even at this age, I can perform for 12 hours continuously,” said Gopinath.
Stating that there has been a decline in interest among people for Krishna Leela, the centenarian hoped that the prestigious Padma Award would help develop the interest among more youngsters to learn the art form. He trains around 40 students now across Ganjam.
Likewise, 85-year-old Bhagabat Pradhan from Kumbhari village in Bargarh has dedicated over five decades of his life to preserve and popularise Sabda Nrutya. A former teacher, Bhagabat is ecstatic about being chosen for Padma Shri. “Who doesn’t feel good getting an honour this big? I feel like my years of dedication towards Sabda Nrutya, which I have earned by leaving behind my home and my job as a teacher has finally borne fruit. I am glad that the government recognised my contribution towards this form of art and honoured me with such an award,” he said.
Shilpi Guru Binod Kumar Maharana is a master painter and Pattachitra artist based in Bhubaneswar. Born in 1945, Maharana is a recipient of National Award (All India Handicrafts Board, New Delhi in 1974), Viswakarma Citation in 1983 and the State Lalit Kala Akademi, 1983. “I have received a lot of appreciation throughout my journey as a traditional painter but this one is special,” said Maharana who had also won the Dharmapada award in 2019. He was chosen for the Padma Shri for his contribution to preserving the Pattachitra art form.
Binod Kumar Pasayat of Sambalpur town wears many hats. A renowned lyricist, playwright and poet, he is the writer of several plays and songs in Sambalpuri language and a barber by vocation. Counted among the eminent litterateurs of western Odisha, 88-year-old Pasayat has been writing for the last seven decades.
Born in Balangir, he shifted to Sambalpur to pursue his interest in writing while operating a barber shop in the town. “Only recently I gave up my profession as a barber due to failing health but I continue to write. I am very happy to be chosen for Padma Shri,” said Pasayat, who has also written several songs for All India Radio.
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for recognising the extraordinary achievements of Gopinath Swain, Binod Maharana, Bhagabat Pradhan and Binod Kumar Pasayat.
Congratulating the four winners, he said Odisha is proud to have them. “It has been the tradition of the Modi government to bring to the limelight and honour Odisha’s hidden talents,” he said.