|Regions with significant populations|
|• Hinduism 100% •|
|Related ethnic groups|
|• Kotwar • Bind • Sahariya|
The Panika are a Hindu caste found in the state 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 Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Chhatisgarh. The Kotwar Panika were the traditional watchmen of the south east Uttar Pradesh, the community is one of many tribal communities that have now been incorporated into the Hindu caste system. But they comes under Scheduled Caste in [U.P.], Scheduled Tribe in [Madhya Pradesh] and Other Backward Classes- (OBC) in [Chhatisgarh state]. In U.P. they are now found mainly in the districts of Sonbhadra and Mirzapur. In Madhya Pradesh most population is found in Sidhi, Shahdol, Singrauli, Chhatarour, Mandala, Datia, Panna and Tikamgarh, 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 Madhya Pradesh and uttar Pradeh while [Bagat] is found in Chhatisgarh. The Kabirpanthi 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. However, it is said that this characteristic has disappeared over the last thirty years. The Kotwar are an endogamous sub-group of Panika who were employed as village watchmen. 
Their habitat was a hilly undulating terrain which is extremely forested but at present they like to live in villages and cities. They speak Hindi and mostly having [General] status while in Rural [Scheduled Tribe] status. The Panika are divided into a number of exogamous clans known as kuris, of which the following are the main ones: Birgat, Chikongia, Gaigor, Kumaria, Korwa, Maria,Tandiya, Panaria, Parwar, Rathia, Sarima, Parewa, Kulhariya, Janta Thari,Sanwara, Phungi,Ragara, Karaita, Gon, Kothi, Bajara, Chhura, Rawra,Dudh Kounra and Sonwani. They use surnames like Pankia, Pankha and Panika. Some Panika people also write their surnames like - Sutwanshi, Shyamle, Dewangan, Pawar, Pandewa, Mourya, Goun, Verma, Suman, Panadiya etc.. Like other Hindu castes, they are strictly endogamous.
The Panika are now a community of small and medium sized 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 village watchmen / Kotwar. At present the education of Panika society has been increased. Most of them are Govt. employees like- Teacher, Patwari, Cleark, Forester, Police,Krishi Upaj Mandi Nirikshak, 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. Some having Maruti, Jeeps, Bolero, Safari, Trucks, Dumpers, Tactors also. Still that the over all level of them remains low. Mostly their major population is in villages, in cities their population is very less. The Panika are Hindu and have a number of tribal deities 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