42 Years of KCA... The Highlights
The first Kannada Koota directory (typed by Sumithra Murthy) was published in 1975.
Sri B.V. Karanth was honored at a house reception on behalf of KCA in .
The First Kannada movie screened by KCA was Samskara in 1976.
The First Harikatha was performed by late Sant Keshavadas for KCA in .
Shri Venkatachalan became the resident priest to perform the Ganesha pooje in a very traditional manner for many years and is mainly responsible for popularizing the Satyanarayana pooje in the Kannada homes.
First “Sangama” was published in 1976 when Dr Srikantiah was president. The articles were hand written and Xerox copies were made, and bundled into book format with a nice cover page, artistically made by our own member. The Sangama also contained the names and addresses including the telephone numbers of the members and pretty soon became a handy reference guide to contact the members.
First Kannada drama ‘ Mysore lottery’ was enacted in 1974 (written and directed by Dr Shanthi Keshava).
The First Nataka performed by an outside group was Hayavadana in .
KCA has organized first Natakotsava and invited groups from outside S. California in 1993.
The First Bharata Natyam dance performance was by Viji Prakash in . That was also the year when we sponsored Viji Prakash’s arangetram. This function was well attended (nearly 800 people), due to the efforts of Dr Harini Venkatesh (now deceased), although we charged $2.00 admission fee. We made enough money from this event to buy Kannada Koota the first sound equipment.
The name Kannada Koota was changed to Karnataka Cultural Association when Dr Veerappa became president.
The First Vocal classical concert was performed by Gana Vidushi Smt. Shamala Bhave in . It has also organized many Sugama Sangeeta programs.
The First Yoga demonstration was performed by Sri Soneji.
Karnataka Cultural Association is very heavily involved in promoting cultural activities and has honored many visiting dignitaries, poets, writers, artists etc.
Starting Programs on time was strictly implemented and enforced from B.N. Nagaraj’s period in 2002.
KCA became registered, tax exempt organization due to the efforts of Vijaya Raghavan as president in .
The first Ganesha pooja was conducted at the La Palma Community Hall.
The first Samuhika Ganesha Pooje was started in 2002
With the passage of time, the Deepavali habba was converted to Makkala Dinacharane and this gave an opportunity to our kids to perform on the stage.
Kannada Koota became popular as a successful organization and was asked to participate in the major Indian community celebrations locally. The first joint Cultural program was held in Rio Hondo college auditorium in which, Kannada Koota participated with Telugu Association and The South Indian Cultural Association in .
Under the leadership of a visionary president Smt. Rajamani Narasimhan, KCA dreamt to have a Karnataka Bhavana. Generous donors who shared the vision and enthusiasm of the then KCA servants came forward and created a Building Fund.
It was late 1972 when Drs. K.A. Ranganath, Kolar Murthy and Krishnamurthy (now in Portland , Oregon) started Kannada Koota in Southern California. All three of them were recently married and their wives also joined in this pesky task. Through UCLA directory and telephone books they were able to gather about 30 Kannadiga sounding names with their telephone numbers (in those days most were listed!).
They arranged for a meeting on the last Saturday of April, 1973 at Ranganath’s apartment in Pasadena . 60 to 70 people showed up around 1:00 PM . After lunch, prepared by the three couples, the meeting started without any specific Agenda. Some of the assembled were opposed to starting an organization dedicated to Kannada people on the premise that Indians should not divide it between different States or Languages.
The objection was very soon over-ruled and Kannada Koota was born installing Dr Nagaraja Rao (now deceased)as first President. Annual dues were set at $3.00. The message of the pioneers and founding fathers was very simple - Bring the Kannada families together by celebrating some major festivals, which are unique to Karnataka.
Thus the idea of celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi, Deepavali, Sankaranti and Ugadi every year was agreed upon. To this was added the annual picnic to mark the beginning of every year.
In the first decade of its life, the membership was very small, about 25 to 30 families and very few children. About four programs were arranged, emphasizing, the ethnic festivals such as Deepavali, Ganesh Chathurthi, Yugadi, and programs that provided an opportunity for the families to get together and socialize. The Pooje was always followed by authentic home made food in the Karnataka tradition and this soon made the organization very famous and members of the other South Indian community started participating in the celebrations. These programs included small skits, drama, picnics etc.
At times special events such as dance recitals by visiting artists from India , screening Kannada films etc. were held. Since the children were very young, probably ranged from a couple of years to five years old, there were no programs that suited their needs.
Regardless of the name, the office bearers have done well in continuing the traditions and practices laid down by the founding fathers. Today, KCA is a very successful organization and has benefited the Kannada community, particularly the school and college going children. It has survived for more than thirty years and owes its success to its focus on the cultural activities. The organization, today, has all the modern technical tools at its command with a sophisticated sound system, computerized programs to maintain members’ rosters, Baraha and other Kannada software systems.
Our future lies in the hands of the children of the KCA-SC community. That is why KCA-SC is dedicated to creating many cultural events to enlighten all about Karnataka's Culture.
We invite you to help us spread patriotism and pride for Karnataka and India alike.
The executive board consisted of a President, Secretary, Treasurer, and a couple of Executive members. The term of the board was one year. The selection of the President and the rest of the Committee were very informal and very friendly. Generally the person who was interested in taking over the responsibilities used to volunteer to form the Committee or the members in general unanimously named a President and requested him / her to form the rest of the Committee.
The second decade was very much similar to the first decade, except that Mr. Vijaya Raghavan, then President, and his working Committee formed the By-laws of the association and voted by the general membership. He also was responsible in getting it registered as a Non-Profit Cultural Organization.
The programs arranged by the Board remained same as before. The membership fee those days was $10.00 per family and the Hall rental was about $30.00 per day (6 to 8 hours) including the sound system.
In the beginning, it was a loose knit organization and anybody who had interest to lead and coordinate all the required activities. In the latter part of this decade there was a great difficulty in coming up with Presidents.
As a result, members were persuaded to be a President, and form a working Committee. Mrs. Rajamani Narshiman, President from 1993 to 1996, initiated a project to collect money for the association building.
During her term she was responsible for collecting about nine to ten thousand dollars. Another important event that occurred was the by-laws were amended to Two years term limit for President and the Committee.
During the later part of the second decade and the beginning of the third decade our association went through a difficult situation. However, the programs continued to be similar to past decades, except for some minor changes.
Fortunately, in the fourth decade the
membership grew in numbers, members had a great interest in taking over the responsibilities of the organization and made it more professional and orderly. The By-laws of the organization were amended as required.
The Election of the board members started from 1996 and subsequent selection of the President and rest of the committee became more formal and orderly. Since then some of the major changes have taken place. Few changes that are worthy of mentioning are programs for children and youth.
In the last 37 years the numbers and wealth of members at KCA has seen explosive growth. Most people used to live in apartments back in the old days, now many live in mansions. They are also donating generously to good causes.
Our members now have enormous talent and our kids are participating in large numbers due to the efforts of parents. As always we are having lots of fun.