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Namboothiri Organisations Outside Kerala

The traditional values inherently eschewed by the community has prompted Namboothiris outside the State to form organised groups in order mainly to preserve such values and also to be socially active and dynamic - particularly in the larger cities and metropolis. In addition to regular meetings and celebrations, many of them have undertaken programmes to assist those in distress, provide educational scholarships, help in marriage alliance matters, and so on. The article gives a brief overview of some of these organisations, most of them using the century-old name "Yogakshema Sabha".


Bombay Yogakshema Sabha (BYS) is a charitable society registered under the Bombay Public Trust Act 1950 and the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act 1960.

Started in 1975 under the leadership of the late Kappiyoor Janardanan Namboodiri and the initiative of a few young Namboothiris as a consortium of Namboothiris to fill the vacuum borne out of isolation from their families back home, this organisation has opened up new vistas over the years.

Aims and Objectives

  1. To bring all the Namboothiris or people with similar background, culture and life styles under one group, to create a sense of belonging, self and mutual respect among them through interaction, and to develop a pleasant environment conducive for their children to grow up with the community's rich traditions, culture and values in life.
  2. To promote economic and general welfare of its members and of the public, in accordance with the principles of the co-operative movement, i.e., voluntary association, self-help and mutual help without any discrimination.

The Sabha has its registered office in Andheri, and an administrative office in Dombivli. It has an effective membership of 487, of which 160 are life members and the rest are ordinary members. There are about an even number of associate members comprising of immediate relatives of members, living in Mumbai.

Over the years, BYS had undertaken wide ranging programmes in the field of education, health-care and others of social relevance to benefit the common man without imposing any boundary conditions of caste, creed or religion.

Today, the Sabha is fully geared up to meeting the social, cultural, educational, medical and other emergent needs of its member families. The Sabha's mission is to promote total welfare of its members by providing maximum value addition in all the services and programmes in consonance with its name "Yoga" or community and "Kshema" or well-being.

The working of the Sabha for the two decades from its inception was mainly directed towards inculcating a sense of belonging and identity such as proudly wearing the sacred thread and identify oneself as a Namboothiri. This part of the work was totally successful.

In the 1990s, more and more young and vibrant people were drafted into the policy-making and organisational work of the Sabha. Their energy, vision and commitment brought about a sea-change in the activities. Innovative programmes by way of group efforts wherein the Sabha assumes the benign role of a loving "Kaaranavar" and a catalyst, were introduced.

In 1997, the Sabha set up a Welfare Fund by an initial corpus of Rs.5 lakhs to provide relief and solace to indigent sections of the community in particular and the society in general, especially after calamities like sudden demise of the sole breadwinner of the family. The Sabha offers financial assistance for a specific period until one of the family members is able to support. The corpus is sourced from members and the well wishers on a continuous basis, and every earning member donated at least Rs.1000/-.

The interest received from the welfare corpus is being distributed among the needy under the heads of Medical Aid, Educational Aid, Subsistence Aid and General Aid. General Aid category includes, among others, funds for cultural promotion, symposia, marriage of poor and destitue girls, employment, accommodation assistance, etc.

As a viable alternative for close interaction among the members, and also as part of its cultural promotional activities, the Sabha publishes a quarterly house journal.

The Sabha has established a separate financial body "BYS Co-operative Credit Society" as an autonomous body to mobilise small savings from members and deploy the resources by way of loans to members on nominal interest. As a supplementary source of finance, this credit society has been catering to the diverse needs of members. Today, loans upto Rs.25,000/- are being made to members for meeting their critical needs.

The Sabha has separate groups for meeting the different needs of its members, for which they are unable to find solutions on their own. Its marriage bureau, employment bureau, accommodation cell, catering cell, cultural cell, medical cell and educational cell are doing excellent service to the people of this metropolis.

Efforts are also under way for wider participation of the Sabha in the welfare activities of the community's similar organisations in Delhi, Bangalore, Kerala and other parts of the country and abroad.

Correspondence Address : Bombay Yogakshema Sabha (Regd.)
G-2, Ground Floor, Nav Haridarshan, Jaihind Colony,
G.Gupte Road, Dombivli (W), Thane Dt. - 421201,
Phone : (0251) 484123
Regd. Office : 18/6, Gopalkunj, Sindhi Colony, Jogeswari (E), Mumbai - 400060


Gayathri is a socio-cultural organisation founded in 1985. The main objective of Gayathri is to promote various social, artistic, cultural and literary activities. Though it had a humble beginning as a platform for the Malayali community, especially Namboothiris, in Delhi to come together, Gayathri has come of age and proved its worth now as a leading cultural organisation in the capital, organising unique programmes with the essential touch of Indian heritage, be it in art, literature or other cultural fields. The strength of this organisation is not only in the number of members - presently more than 500 (a great majority being Namboothiris) consisting of people from various walks of life - but also in the efforts being made in achieving the goals of social and cultural development among the people of Delhi. Its presence in Delhi has especially been felt among its Malayali community, but the efforts in recent years have been to reach out to the wider spectrum of society, regardless of disparities. The manpower of the Gayathri family, consisting of top government officials, media persons, lawyers, company and bank executives, etc. is fully dedicated to the dictum : "together, we live better", a motto getting increasingly valid in the present turbulent times.

The activities of Gayathri include celebration of major festivals like Onam, Thiruvaathira and Vishu, in the traditional way, replicating the enthusiasm seen in Kerala to create a nostalgic environment in the Capital City. Members and their children are encouraged to exhibit their talent in various fields such as dance, music, painting, etc. Moreover, the presentation of cultural programmes, combining the budding as well as established artists, forms part of the festivities. Film festivals, drama competitions and felicitations of great artists in these fields are also organised. Talented children in the Gayathri family are annually given awards for academic excellence as an encouragement to the younger generation.

Another major activity is the short-story / poetry competitions on all-India basis, to discover talented writers in Malayalam. This has been held every year during the past eight years, and the response has been overwhelming. With eminent writers as judges, and unbiased selection of works for awards, the competition is unique in the Malayalam literary field. Gayathri also felicitates eminent literary personalities during the annual literary awards function.

While spreading its wings it is also ensured that the inter-active nature of the member families is not lost. Gayathri is proud of the fabric of family get-together, giving opportunity to the members to engage in everything ranging from private chats to spiritual discourses.

Gayathri also indulges in welfare activities like blood-donation camps and financial assistance for medical emergency.

Gayathri brings out a literary Malayalam quarterly, "Pranavam" which is now in its 10th year of publication. Started as a small magazine for private circulation, "Pranavam" has now grown up to become a leading publication which retains the essential cultural elements. The wider circulation of Pranavam is now compelling the organisers to make it a monthly magazine, which we hope to achieve soon. The editorial board consists of talented persons headed by well-known Malayalam writer, Dr Akavoor Narayanan.

Address : Gayathri (Regd.), 140, Dhruva Apartments,
4, I P Extension, New Delhi - 110 092
Telephone: 011-2722901
E-mail :


A proposal was mooted by a few in May 1991 to bring together all members of the Namboothiri community living in Chennai (formerly Madras) city and its neighbourhood, so that they may get an opportunity to know each other. A beginning was made when 35 members had a get-together in October 1991 and decided to provide a permanent forum to assemble, understand and exchange views for the common interest of the members and the public at large. Two months later, the Madras Yogakshema Sabha was formally launched in December 1991.

Madras Yogakshema Sabha strives to formulate and implement programmes with the following main aims and objectives :

  1. to promote comradeship among the members and their families;
  2. to extend all possible help to the needy and deserving members of the Namboothiri community;
  3. to motivate children for greater accomplishments in their academic environments;
  4. to provide opportunity for performance of youthful talented artists;
  5. to assist the members to perform religious ceremonies in the city itself;
  6. to have a set up to create awareness of Namboothiri's culture among the members, particularly among the youth;
  7. to supply information about job opportunities to needy members;
  8. to receive and transmit information from / to members with regard to matrimonial alliances.
Address : The Secretary, Madras Yogakshema Sabha
"Ananda Bhavan", Plot No. 37, Kalaignar Karunanidhi Road
Kaveri Rangar Nagar, Saligramam, Chennai - 600 093
Phone : 044-3760336


Yogakshemam, Bangalore was formed by like-minded Namboothiris and registered as an Association in April 1995. The main objective of the Association is to provide a platform to know each other and to promote interaction between the members. The Association provides opportunities to present cultural, athletic and intellectual talents of the children and other family members. Annual get-together is arranged with cultural and sports events along with the traditional Namboothiri "Sadya" (feast). Yogakshemam often conducts picnics and cultural events like Kathakali, Ottan Thullal, Kathaaprasangam, Naatakam (drama), Chaakiaar Koothu, Paattukacheri (music concert), etc. It also provides educational assistance to the needy children of the members. The Association publishes a Members' Directory once in two years and an in-house periodical called "Infomatics" for the information of members.

Yogakshemam, Bangalore, has presently about 300 members on the roll. Although the Association is Bangalore-based, any Namboothiri is welcome to be a member. Life-membership and family membership are available.

Address : The Secretary, Yogakshemam, Bangalore
147, 10th Cross, 1st Block, BEL Layout, Vidyaranyapura, Bangalore - 560 097
Phone : 080-8380743

| Article No:24.11 | Last update of this article:14th November 2001 |
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