Heroes of Indian Art and Craft: Padma Shree Awardees 2024
The maiden attempts and the sleepless nights,
To create a masterpiece which caught every sight,
Who are THEY who achieved this feat ?
The colors of unwavering determination and resilience diluted their fear,
The strokes, the carvings were crystal clear,
Who are THEY who designed these beautiful arts? 
Their palette narrated tales of emotions poured,
The resultant opus had many adored,
Who are THEY who carried on ?
Cleared for a selection,
For being something beyond perfection,
Who are THEY who rose above the odds ?
They are none other than the recipients of Padma Shree 2024
They are who enriched our arts and heritage!

The Padma Shri, also spelt as Padma Shree, is the fourth-highest civilian award of the Republic of India, after the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan.

This year, the Padma Shree Award was conferred upon 110 individuals. Among them, 47 were honored in the Arts category, and within this group, 14 individuals were recognized for their expertise in various traditional arts and crafts of India. 

Let's explore the remarkable journeys of these 14 heroes and gain insights into the Traditional Arts and Crafts they passionately practice!

1. Shri Ghulam Nabi Dar

Jammu and Kashmir

Wood Carving



Hailing from the Paradise on Earth; Srinagar, Ghulam Nabi Dar, a 72-year-old craftsman, has devoted six decades of his life to his craft, learning it from his mentor, Nooruddin Tiku.

Despite enduring poverty and hardships, he persevered and has emerged as one of the few remaining masters in his field. Through his unwavering passion, dedication, and hard work, Dar has not only preserved the dying art form but has also made the world aware of India's rich woodcraft heritage.

After his relentless efforts and hard work, he received  a State Award in 1984. Subsequently, in the 1990s, he got an opportunity to work in Baghdad. Furthermore, his exceptional talent was honored with the National Award in 1995-96.

2. Naseem Bano

Uttar Pradesh

Chikankari Embroidery



Coming from the land of Nawabs, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, the 62-year old Nasim Bano has been doing embroidery since she was 13 years old.  She learnt the art of embroidery from her father. She is the only woman who practices this unique embroidery. Due to the precision of the embroidery on the fabric, the design appears identical from either side. As a result of this remarkable skill, she was bestowed with the Padma Shri award for this unique art and embroidery. 

She also imparts training in this embroidery technique, not only within the country but also overseas, offering training to girls and women from various countries including Germany and France, among others. Her contributions were recognized with the State Award in 1985 by the former Chief Minister, followed by an honor from the then President R. Venkatraman in 1988. Additionally, she received the Shilp Guru Award from the Vice-President in 2019.

3. Takdira Begum

West Bengal

Kantha Stitch Embroidery



Hailing from Bolpur, West Bengal, aged over 60 years, Takdira Begum has dedicated nearly three decades to mastering the art of Kantha stitch. Her journey began with learning sewing during her school days, which has since become both her livelihood and passion. Her love for the craft is so much that she finds solace in constantly engaging with it. The tradition of Kantha stitch runs deep within her family, with every member actively participating in its practice.

Aside from honing her skills, Takdira has also been instrumental in imparting her knowledge to other women. In recognition of her contributions, she was awarded the National Award for Promotion and Development of the Kantha Stitch Industry in 1996. Almost a decade later, in 2009, she was bestowed with the prestigious Shilpa Guru Award. 

4. Shri Ashok Kumar Biswas


Tikuli Painting



Hailing from Bihar, Ashok Kumar Vishwas is recognized as the Bhishma Pitamah of Tikuli Kala, credited with the revival of this ancient Mauryan art form over the past fifty years. Tikuli art faced the threat of extinction, but through his dedicated efforts, it is now experiencing a resurgence in Bihar.

Since 1993, Vishwas has traversed from Deegha to Danapur, imparting training in Tikuli art to villages. His instruction has reached over eight thousand women, revitalizing the craft within communities. Additionally, he has popularized the art both at national and international levels by showcasing his work in more than a hundred exhibitions across five countries.

5. Smriti Rekha Chakma


Textile Weaving



Hailing from Tripura and now aged 63, Smriti Rekha Chakma is a renowned Chakma Loinloom Shawl weaver whose journey began in her childhood as she watched her grandmother operate the lion loom, one of the oldest weaving machines using traditional Naga methods. Fondly referred to as "Chakma's Rekha," she has dedicated her life to the craft, skillfully transforming eco-friendly, vegetable-dyed cotton threads into exquisite traditional designs.

Beyond her artistic endeavors, Chakma has founded "Ujeia Jadha," a socio-cultural organization focused on empowering rural women through weaving training. With this initiative, she aims to preserve and promote the traditional techniques. Not only does she carry forward this rich legacy herself, but she also imparts her knowledge to the younger generation.

Her commitment and talent earned her the National Award for weaving using natural colors in 2000.

6. Shri Jordan Lepcha


Bamboo Hat Maker



Hailing from Sikkim, Jordan Lepcha, a 50-year-old artisan, specializes in crafting bamboo hats adorned with narratives of historical events and family values. He has been practicing this for the past 25 years. Jordan has dedicated himself to preserving the ancient art of weaving traditional Lepcha hats, known as 'Sumok Thyaktuk', and bamboo craftsmanship. He is amongst  a few handful of artisans skilled in this intricate practice.

Using only locally sourced natural materials, Jordan crafts hats that serve as symbols of identity for the Lepcha tribe. These hats are worn during significant occasions and formal gatherings.

Sharing his expertise generously, Jordan has taught over 150 youths from various parts of Sikkim, empowering them to sustain themselves through the creation of their bamboo craft items. 

7. Shri Binod Maharana





Hailing from Bhubaneswar, Odisha, Binod Maharana, aged 79, is an Odisha Pattachitra Artist.  His path to becoming a Pattachitra artist began in 8th grade when financial constraints led him to devote himself to his family's ancestral profession. He learnt the art under the guidance of his grandfather, Markanda Charan Maharana.

Maharana's contributions to the promotion of Odisha's artistry are immeasurable. He has been honored with numerous prestigious awards, including the National Award from the All India Handicrafts Board in New Delhi in 1974, the Viswakarma Citation in 1983, the State Lalit Kala Akademi Award in 1983, and the Dharmapada Award in 2019.

8. Shanti Devi Paswan & Shri Shivan Paswan


Godna Painting



Hailing from Bihar, this husband-wife duo from the Dusadh community defied social stigma to achieve global recognition as Godna painters. Their caste's tradition prohibited the creation of paintings depicting gods and goddesses. By integrating characters from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and other traditional stories into Godna art, Shivan challenged these conventions. 

Despite facing financial constraints, Shivan persisted in his artistry, imparting his skills to young individuals. Through dedication and hard work, he elevated his craft to national and international levels.

Shanti Devi, once discriminated against for her caste and denied drinking water in her village, showcased her talent on the global stage at the G20 Summit in India. Renowned globally, their artwork has gained recognition in countries such as the United States, Japan, and Hong Kong. In an effort to preserve this heritage, the couple has trained over 20,000 women, with their journey continuing.

9. Shri Machihan Sasa


Longpi Pottery



Coming from Ukhrul, Manipur and aged 74, Machi-han Sasa has dedicated over five decades to the promotion and preservation of the ancient art of Longpi pottery. It is a rare form of pottery that uses black serpentine stone and brown clay without a wheel.

His journey began with the All-India Handicraft Week held in Ukhrul in 1979, marking his debut exhibition. Subsequently, he participated in various district and state-level programs, earning recognition for his creative pottery designs. Machi-han also conducted the Apprentice Training Scheme under the Ministry of Textiles in New Delhi, mentoring over 300 individuals. His contributions have been honored with numerous awards, including the State and National awards, and the prestigious Shilp Guru Award in 2008.

His sole aspiration remains to empower unemployed youths by providing comprehensive training infrastructure for as long as his strength allows.

10. Shri Godawari Singh

Uttar Pradesh

Toy Making



Hailing from the holy city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Godavari Singh, an 84-year-old wooden toy artisan, has been crafting wooden toys in Varanasi for nearly six decades. Revered as the 'Master of Toys', he comes from a lineage of toy makers spanning five generations, with all his family members actively engaged in the craft.

In 2005, Godavari Singh assisted Uttar Pradesh in the Republic Day parade, where the display ranked third. During this event, the then President APJ Abdul Kalam commended and honored him for his exceptional craftsmanship.

11. Shri Nepal Chandra Sutradhar (Posthumous)

West Bengal

Chau Mask



Nepal Chandra Sutradhar hailed from Purulia, West Bengal, and was a third-generation Chhau mask maker with over 50 years of experience in the craft. At the tender age of 8, he began learning the art of mask making from his grandfather. In addition to his mastery of mask-making, he also excelled as a Chhau dancer.

Around the age of twenty, Nepal embarked on his path, teaching students in the village and establishing a workshop during the three-month Chhau season. He dedicated his time to crafting, performing, and passing on his skills to his children, grandchildren, and other young villagers for as long as he could.

Nepal trained over 70 Chhau dance groups. His talents took him to various countries, including the USA, Scotland, Spain, and New Zealand, where he was invited to exhibit his work. He also received the Kalamani Puraskar from the Haryana government at the Surajkund Fair.

12. Babu Ram Yadav

Uttar Pradesh

Brass Craft



Residing in the narrow lanes of Moradabad, Babu Ram Yadav, a 74-year-old artist, has been meticulously crafting brass utensils since 1962 under the guidance of his mentor, Amar Singh. This art form demands precision and intricacy.

Having exhibited his creations at 40 global exhibitions, Yadav also generously offers free training to over 1000 aspiring artisans. His dedication and skill were recognized when he received the State Award in 1985, followed by the National Award in 1992. He also received the prestigious Shilp Guru award in 2014.  

13. Shri Khalil Ahamad

Uttar Pradesh




Rising from the land of Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, 75-year-old Khalil has been connected to this art for three generations. His entire family is involved in making Durries.

Khalil was honored with the National Award in 2000 by the then President APJ Abdul Kalam. In 2007, he was honored with a prestigious award by the Ministry of Textiles for being a master craftsman. His laurels are not only limited to India but have also spread to Japan. The honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his trip to Japan, gifted the Durrie made by him to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

14. Sri Velu Ananda Chari





 Hailing from Telangana, Ananda Chari is a skilled sculptor trained in temple architecture and sculptural work at the TTD Silpa Kalasala. His remarkable contribution to temple construction across the Telugu states has won him laurels internationally. 

By seamlessly blending traditional techniques with modern engineering and technology, he played a pivotal role in the renovation of the Yadadri Lakshmi Narasimha temple, adhering to the principles of Agama Shastra. An embodiment of dedication and passion, he was awarded a gold medal in 1987 for his outstanding achievements.

 How many of us were truly familiar with each of the art forms listed above?

Every piece of art or craft mentioned requires immense dedication and patience to create. Yet, the artists pursue their work passionately, driven by their desire to preserve these crafts and share them with the world. However, what purpose does it serve if even we, as Indians, are not aware of them? The true victory for these artists lies in increasing awareness of these art forms, garnering appreciation, and enriching our cultural heritage. Let's join hands in spreading awareness and contributing as much as we can so that people of all ages, from elders to children, become acquainted with these crafts and their artists.




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