Origins of Kannada Koota New York Inc.
Learn About Our History
KANNADA KOOTA NEW YORK INC., is a non profitable charitable organization established to promote the language, art, heritage and culture of people from Karnataka State in India.
Established in the year 1974, the organization is promoting the Kannada language, its heritage and work for the growth especially in the Tri State areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The LBJ bill for Immigration Reform, following JF Kennedy paved the way for immigrants from all over the world in the mid sixties. Kannadigas were did not fall behind of the new opportunities and started to migrate. New York was their first choice and when they arrived started to settle down in communities of Lefrak City, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Flushing, Woodside, Jamaica, Forest Hills among other places within Queens. Early Kannadigas used to meet and greet in the Hindu Temple, housed in a dilapidated Church building as well as among friends houses as means to socialize within the small ethnic group that was. In the beginning of 1970, small music and kolata programs were held in India’s Independence Day sponsored by the Joint Committee of Indian Associations, (now known as Federation of India – FIA). Few Kannadigas even went to request the Indian Consulate Office in Manhattan to suggest place where they can continue their cultural heritage.
Every Kannadiga was very much interested to celebrate the Gowri and Ganesh Pooja, a symbol of our Kannada heritage and lack of a Hindu Temple was bothering very much. At this time, Vasudeva Murthy and Dr. Bhagya Murthy, very enthusiast Kannadigas invited few of the friends for the Ganesh Pooja at his house in Lefrak City in 1971 that began the seed for present Kannada Koota. The news spread like wild fire, catching every Kannadiga in the Queens areas and around, mainly through word of mouth. Vasu & Bhagya were pleasantly surprised at the huge gathering, accommodated everyone in their small apartment at the Ganesh Pooja (1971) and finally this lead to a meeting to start organization of Kannadigas in the following weeks. A committee was formed to send out information seeking a survey of interests of Kannadigas and the overwhelming response of “yes”, culminated forming Kannada Organization. The committee then named Kannada Koota New York to organize separately. In the initial stages, the Kannadigas were attending various functions similarly organized by Bharathi Society of America where programs were conducted in Tamil. Though Bharathi Society was disappointed at the start of the new organization, Kannadigas continued to persist in their plans to establish their own identity and organizational spirit.
Dr. Sreedevi Chandra Shekar and Dr. HK Chandra Shekar played a pivotal role as well as several kannadigas in start of the Kannada Koota New York, which found its root in 1972. On the Makara Sankranti day in 1972, the Kannada Koota was formed officially. In the year 1974, the name Kannada Koota New York Inc., was finally established with Articles of Association and obtained its Charitable Organization under 501(3) c in the year 1977. Dr. Sreedevi Chandra Shekar was the first President in 1972 and Vasudeva Murthy served as first Secretary in 1972. With efforts of dedicated Kannadigas including Dr. Vishwanath Banad, Mrs Satya Vishwanath, Dr. HKc’s, Krishnamurthy Venkataraman, (late) Gururaj Sirsi & Usha Sirsi, Dr. Anusuya Nagaraj and AR Nagaraj, Nalini and Gopal Kukke, Sampath Kumaran, V Subramanyam, Satyanarayan, Nagu Srinivas, Bharathi & GV Chandrasekhar and many others, Kannada Koota found its firmer roots. If we have left any names of early founders, we do apologize for any inadvertence and lack of information but not our intention. We also take this opportunity in narrating the origins, a tribute to all those who paved pivotal role in early seventies. By the late 1973, the constitution was formed and formalized in 1974 as stated before, including formalization of elections, procedures, programs etc. Though we have elaborate election processes, mostly the elections were by nominations, peaceful accord and general approval than bitter elections. That also speaks for the peace loving nature of Kannadigas. It is the heritage that we want to keep as peace loving, encourage each Kannadiga no matter in what field and establish as an organization of repute, dignity and integrity.
From the 1980’s many more developments have occurred in the past 30 years and in 2010, we standing behind a legacy of an organization that is 38 years old, hoping to achieve the objectives set by the founders as well as exploring new dimensions to support the Kannadigas in the New York area