BKM provides a forum for cultural and social interaction of Tamil speaking people in Houston, TX, with special emphasis on fine arts, literature, language and performing arts. The organization seeks to promote goodwill, understanding and appreciation of the culture of India among all interested persons regardless of color, creed, race, religion, sex or national origin.
BKM is the First (oldest) Tamil non-profit organization in Texas and the Third oldest in North America. Since 1974, BKM has hosted several cultural events such as Pongal vizha, pattimandram, movie screening, classical vocal & instrumental music, light music, stand-up comedy, Tamil theater drama etc...
BKM promotes local talents as well as renowned artists from around the World. In addition, BKM is the first organization that started conducting classes to teach Tamil language for children in our community. At present, we have branches in Pearland, Sugar Land, Cypress, Katy, and Houston.
In 2014, the City of Houston has commended Bharathi Kalai Manram for its commitment in raising cultural awareness in the community and the then Mayor, Annise D. Parker, has proclaimed August 30 as Bharathi Kalai Manram (BKM) Day in Houston, Texas.View BKM Bylaws Amended December 15h 2019
BKM provides a forum for cultural and social interaction with special emphasis on fine arts, literature & performing arts of Tamil speaking people from India.
Organization's mission is to provide a forum for cultural and social interaction of Tamil speaking people in Houston, TX, with special emphasis on fine arts, literature, language and performing arts.
An all-night session sometime in December 1973 in Hempstead with Alagarsamy, Sam Kannappan, A.V.Viswanathan, K.R.Thiagarajan, Lokasundaram and Ramanathan from Dallas resulted in a decision to launch an organization to meet the cultural needs of the Tamil community. Alagarsamy and Kannappan were asked to be helpful without being a part of the organization in any official capacity for 5 years. Five years later Alagarsamy became a member of BKM and its Secretary (and much later became its president as well). Sam Kannapan a pillar of our society and strong supporter of BKM did not want to become BKM President since he served as Editor for the Hindu Worship Society and then concentrated on building Meenakshi Temple. Kannappan put his heart and soul in organizing Sri Meenakshi Temple Society and served admirably as its Founder-Secretary from 1978 till the completion of the main temple in 1982.
Several names were suggested for the new organization – Tamil Cultural Association, Bharathi Kala Manram, Dhakshina Bharathiya Kala Mandir etc. Finally the name Bharathi Kala Manram was chosen based on some perceived cost benefits in arranging movies and programs. A few years later the current name Bharathi Kalai Manram became the popularly accepted name.
In the early years, MLK Auditorium, Baylor College Auditorium, Mercantile Bank etc provided the venues for various BKM programs Texas Southern, Prairie View A&M provided 16mm projectors for the movies. Families would bring home made snacks, coffee maker etc. More noteworthy is the fact that cultural programs (particularly movies) were attended by Telugus, Kannadigas and Malayalis, besides Tamilians. One or two Malayalam movies were also screened. There was a kind of healthy camaraderie among these groups that became the backbone of Sri Meenakshi Temple later.
The first set of elected officials of BKM (1974) A.V.Visvanathan (President), M.Balakrishnan (Secretary), V.R.Padmanabhan (Treasurer), S.Sivaraman and K.R.Thiagarajan (members)
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