Biswanath Pattnaik

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Biswanath Pattnaik
Born (1916-11-11)11 November 1916
Kumarada, Ganjam
Died 29 May 2010(2010-05-29) (aged 93)
Known for Bhoodan movement, Constructive work for Tribal People
Parent(s) Father: Upendra Pattnaik

Biswanath Pattnaik was a legendary veteran Gandhian, Sarvodaya and Bhoodan leader. He won the Jamnalal Bajaj Award in 2008[1] for his selfless constructive work in tribal dominated areas of Kujendri and Baliguda, Odisha state, India.

Early life[edit]

Biswanath Pattnaik was born on 11 November 1916 in Kumarada, a village of then Ganjam district. Biswanath studied in his village school. His father, Upendra Pattnaik, died when he was a child while his grandfather, Ghanashyam Pattnaik, then looked after him. Later, he traveled to Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh where he studied up class 8 before dropping out. At the age of 17, he started his career as an informal teacher at his village school with a monthly salary of seven rupees. It was there that he was inspired by the Gandhian Sri Gopabandhu Choudhury, and started working as his assistant. Sri Choudhury sent him to Koraput to expand the Khadi movement. Sri Pattnaik arrived in Kujendri in 1940.

Constructive work[edit]

Sri Pattnaik joined the movement for the formation of a separate Utkal state. He started his work in Banabasi Seva Samiti[2] (founded by Sri Gopabandhu Choudhury in 1972) and took up issues like education and upliftment of the poor tribesmen. The Samiti started running several residential schools for the tribal children, orphanages and old age homes. He made Khadi so popular in Koraput that he was called Koraputia Gandhi.[3] His fight against untouchability continued. Under his leadership and the direction of Krupasindhu Hota, SC/ST people entered the Hindu temple at Kujendri. A close associate of Vinoba Bhave, Pattnaik was better known as "agnya" ('Sir' in Oriya) by the people around him. Later he joined the Quit India movement. He started the Bhoodan movement in the Koraput area[4][5][6] which turned out to be a major success.


Sri Pattnaik did not compete for any awards, yet he received the following amongst others:

  • Best Social Worker Award from Bharatiya adimajati sevak sangh, 1995
  • Justice Rajksishore Das Samman, 1996
  • Sarala Award, 2002
  • Rajiv Gandhi Sadvabana Award, 2003
  • Pradyumna Bala Sammana
  • Kondhamala Citizen Forum Felicitation Award
  • Jamnalal Bajaj Award, 2008[7]

Film maker Ajaya Bharadwaj has started making a documentary film on the work of Biswanath Pattnaik.


Shri Pattnaik died on 29 May 2010 at Baliguda, Kandhamal district, Odisha. He was 93.[8][9]


See also[edit]