Kerala Association of Dallas Retrospection
The vision and commitment of a few dedicated families rooted down the Kerala Association of Dallas. Under the leadership of Dr. Narayana Panickar as the president and Mr. Abrhama Mathew as the Secretary, Kerala Association started its activities. First meeting to discuss about the Kerala Association was encouraged by more than 20 families with their physical presence and moral support. Kerala Association, as a legal organization launched its activities in 1976.
Kairali: Living on the other side of the hemisphere of Kerala and seeing the Malayalam alphabets was a satisfaction. From the initial days itself, Kerala Association started publishing, mailing and hand delivering the current Magazine Kairali. Printing was quiet difficult at that time hence hand written copies were circulated among families and members, at least once in every three months. Showing Malayalam movies was one of the major social occasions for the community. An auditorium in the Parkland hospital (UT Health Science Centre) was used for showing the movies. Apart from Movies, Onam and Christmas were the main events of the year. Association also started coordinating Picnic activities from the first year of its inception.
Association successfully conducted a music concert by Padmasree Jesudas.
Decision to publish Kairali the publication of the Association in every month. Except in 1987 for two months, the publication has gone to the members' homes every month without fail. Paper cuttings and hand written articles were put together by the editor to publish these Magazines. Association successfully coordinated the 10th Anniversary with world famous Scientist Dr. George Sudarshan as the Chief Guest. A special evening called Kerala Night was coordinated to encourage the local talents and has become one of the main events in later years. A star nite by Late Sri Prem Nazir was hosted by the Association which turned out to be a grand success. The function was hosted the Dallas Convention Centre and attracted a big crowd. The program was financially successful and the net amount was used to purchase a Sound System for the Association. Kerala Association made its affiliation with FOKANA (Federation of Kerala Associations in North America) in the same year.
Association started a Mobile library. The librarian started carrying books to main function places and members were utilizing the opportunity to check out books. The year 1988 witnessed lots of new activities. Activities to promote Youth and their leadership started in 1988. Programs like Education Scholarship, Essay, Speech, Seminars, Debate etc. started for the youth in the same year. Medical Camp for serving the elderly and visiting parents with their health care needs were also started in the same year. Literary conference for promoting the writers and poets in America started in the same year. The cooking class teaching the women members of Kerala Association was conducted in 1988 as a part of the women activities.
Association purchased a Malayalam Type writer to type and publish the 'Kairali' in a uniform format. Stitching class for the benefit of the house wives and women members of the Kerala Association was introduced in the same year. The star nite by Mohan Lal and team was hosted by the Kerala Association. Association has always taken a stand to host any star nite program coming from Kerala.
Kerala Association makes the historical and memorable decision to acquire an office and a Library and Reading room. Association coordinated a fund raising for the Library and purchased more than 7000 books and started subscribing periodicals and newspapers from Kerala. Library started functioning seven days a week. The Library was inaugurated by the FOKANA Founder President Dr. M Anirudhan. FOKANA former president, Mr. Thomas Kizhoor and the current president of the time Dr. Parthasarathy Pillai were present during the Inauguration. During week days the office, library and reading room were open from 6:30 p.m. till 8:30 p.m. and during Sunday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Malayalam newspapers, weekly, magazine etc were of great attraction for the members in the early nineties.
Malayalam classes to teach the young generation was inaugurated in the same year. FOKANA President of the time, Dr. Parthasarathy Pillai inaugurated the class. Kerala Association started conducting competitions in various arts forms in Kerala style. These 'Kalolstavam' became very attractive in coming years.