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Hailed by the President, he still can't get a job!

Last updated on: September 9, 2010 09:11 IST

Hailed by the President, he still can't get a job!

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He weaves his dreams into sand sculptures on the exotic sea beaches of Puri. But international sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik, who will be the first to represent the country in the World Championship of Sand Sculpting, is still unemployed and looking for a job to support his family.

The 41-year-old has been invited to the World Championship of Sand Sculpting in Federal Way in Washington, United States, from September 13. But what many are unaware of is the sorry fact that Pattnaik is unemployed in his home state Orissa in spite of running from pillar to post to secure a job.

Text: PTI


Image: Patnaik, a sand artist, creates a sculpture of Goddess Durga in Puri
Photographs: Sanjib Mukherjee/Reuters
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"The government felicitates me on every occasion I win an award, but that is the end to it. My prayer for a job has not been met," rues the sand artist.

Pattnaik told PTI that his requests had fallen onto deaf ears in every quarter. The artist has represented the country in more than 40 international competitions and won 15 first prizes, including five consecutive titles in the eighth International Berlin Sand Sculpture championship on August 1.


Image: Patnaik gives finishing touches to a sand sculpture of Mumbai serial train blasts

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"The organisers announced in the meet that it was a world record and on my return, I got a felicitation letter from none other than President Pratibha Patil," Pattnaik said.

"Early this year, when she visited Puri, the President personally congratulated me on my achievements. But despite winning so many accolades, I am yet to be rewarded for my talent," the artist says with tears in his eyes.


Image: School children gather around a sand sculpture of the Indian national flag and Mahatma Gandhi

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"Even the culture department and the Orissa government failed to notice my achievements, as a result of which I am not employed," said Pattnaik, who is the sole bread earner of his family.

"Every time I approach the concerned authorities with my string of awards, I am assured this is the end to it", he said.


Image: Patnaik adds the final touches to a sand sculpture of executed former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein

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Pattnaik is also the first person from his state to be selected among the People of Year in 2009 along with national icons Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar and Lata Mangeshkar by the Limca book of records.

"Sand art is like a sport. Though temporary, it appeals to the heart," said Pattnaik, who is a self taught artist. He said to promote sand art in the country he started the Sudarsan Sand Art Institute more than a decade ago and now many of his students are carrying forward his mission to popularise sand art.


Image: A sand sculpture of 'a polar bear being crushed by a shoe' to mark World Environment Day

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The artist said he will try his level best to shine in the forthcoming world championship of sand sculpting in the United States.

"It will require a great effort and if I win, there will be a lot of promotion of sand sculpting. On the other hand, I also hope that it will bring some sympathy for me from the authorities to provide me a meaningful job and have a steady monthly income," he says.


Image: Patnaik adds the final touches to a sand sculpture of Osama bin Laden

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