The Malayalee Association to-day (2014) has a history of 42 years’ of commendable activities enhancing Malayalee cultural life in the Chicago area. The Malayalee Association is the first secular social-cultural organization of Malayalees in north America, a nonprofit organization.
At a time when there were only about150 Malayalees in the Chicago area and no organized activities of any kind including all Malayalees, resulting from about six month’s deliberations and informal meetings, the Malayalee Association was formed with Prof. K.S. Anthony as its first president, Mr. T.P. Balakrishnan as vice president, Dr. Paul T. Cherian as secretary, and Mr. Thomas Idichandy as treasurer. The Association was formally inaugurated in a grand celebration on March 4th 1972.
While our various religious organizations separated Malayalees into several groups and developed cohesiveness and community interaction within specific religious groups, the Malayalee Association has remained the only secular organization that provided an open congenial assembling place for all Malayalees regardless of their differences to interact and exchange homely greetings. It is important that we make our second, third and subsequent generation young people realize the unique status and significance of a secular organization like the Malayalee Association always views any other similar organization with a fraternal attitude.
Those who are here in the Chicago area for more than 20 years feel a sort of respect for the Malayalee Association stemming from the knowledge about the origin and activities of this and other similar organizations. No doubt, the Malayalee Association during the last 42 years of its existence as a secular all-Malayalee organization has made substantial contribution to the cultural life of the Malayaleesin the Chicago area. In the last 42 years the Association has been governed by 28 different governing bodies periodically elected by the general body.
After the inauguration in 1972, for several years,new office bearers were elected every year; then the term of the board of directors was made 2 years as it is now. The all-inclusive spectrum of Malayalee leaders who guided the organization in the last 42 years proclaims the community-wide acceptance and respect the association has commanded.
In any meeting of the general body there will surely previous presidents present showing their continued interest in the proper running of the association and willing to assist in the proper conduct of election of the office bearers. In the last four years the association has organized a seniors’ forum and a womens’ forum which are well attended and appreciated by our community. As time goes on the Malayalee Association can enlarge its activities in different ways beneficial to the community. The association is financially very stable and has great potential to embark on new activities beneficial to the community in future.