|Regions with significant populations|
|• Hinduism 100% •|
|Related ethnic groups|
|• Kotwar • Bind • Sahariya|
The Panika are a Hindu caste found in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Chhatisgarh in India. They are also known as Panka. The Kotwar sub-group of the Panika have now separated from the parent community.
According to their traditions, the name Panika is from the Hindi term for a hand fan, pankha. The community was historically involved in the manufacturing of fans, and hence acquired the name Panka which was later corrupted to Panika. Their tradition was Music and they were fully involved in [Dance Party and music] during ceremonies like- Marriage,Barahon etc. They were also involved in Ramleela party. Panika caste is mostly found in Chhatisgarh, Odisha,Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and parts of Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand . The community is one of many tribal communities that have now been incorporated into the Hindu caste system. But they comes under General Category despite being an indegenous tribe/caste of India. In U.P. they are now found mainly in the districts of Sonbhadra and Mirzapur. In Madhya Pradesh most population is found in Mandala, Dindori,Balaghat, Shahdol and some are also found in Rewa district. The Panika tribe is divided into two broad groups: the Kabirpanthi Bagat (the largest group) and the Sakat. The [Sakat] is found in Odisha, Chhattisgarh while [Bagat] is found in Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. The Panikas also follow the teachings of a man named Saint Kabir. They avoid liquor, meat, and other "unclean" practices; therefore, they consider themselves purer and more advanced than the Sakta. The Sakta, who are addicted to liquor and eat meat freely, are more tribal in nature.
The Panika were once known among the tribes for their honesty,commitment and bravety.
Their habitat was a hilly undulating terrain of Southern Odisha, Chhatisgarh, berar region of Maharashtra and northeast Andhra Pradesh which was extremely forested which forced them to migrate other parts but at present they like to live in villages and cities. They speak Chhatisgarhi, Hindi, Oriya, Gondi, Teluguand mostly having [General] status .The Panika are divided into a number of exogamous clans known as kuris/gotras, of which the following are the main ones: Birgat, Chikongia, Gaigor, Gwal, Kumaria, Korwa, Khandayati,Tandiya, Manikpuri, Parwar, Rathia, Sarima, Sureshwor,Parewa, Panari,Kullaru,Kondavelu,Kanteti, Janta Thari,Sanwara,Samantray, Phungi,Ragara, Karaita, Gon, Kothkundu,Bajara, Chhura,Koldip, Rawra,Judh Kounra and Sonwani. They Some Panika people also write their surnames like - Sutwanshi, Shyamle, Dewangan, Pawar,Panda, Panariya, Pandewa, Mourya, Goun,Gayakwad, Varma, Suman,Manikpure.
The Panika are now a community of large and medium sized land owners and farmers. A few Panika have also been involved with weaving, producing course country cloth known as darap, dumaria, charas and blangna. The Panika were originally employed as "Nagara Jodhha" or "Kota Yodhhu" in kingdoms of Odisha,Chhatisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. At present Panika society enjoys high literacy rate . Most of them are Govt. employees like- Teacher, Patwari, Cleark, Forester, Police, NTPC / Coal Mines Employees, VFA, Male / Female (Nurse). A small number of Panika are now Gezetted officer like- [Deputy Collector, Civil Judge, Statics Officer, Tehsildar, Engineer, Doctor etc.] A small number are businessmen also, but some people are very power full in Business and Politics also. Mostly their major population is in villages, in cities their population is very less. The Panika are Hindu and share a number of deities with other kshatriya communities of Odisha and Kodavas like Dulha Deo, Maharani Devi, and Seetla Devi.
- People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Three edited by A Hasan & J C Das page 1108 to 1113 Manohar Publications