Kasturi Kannada Sangha is a non-profit social, linguistic and cultural organization in Northeast Ohio, dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the culture and traditions of the language of Kannada, which has its origins in the state of Karnataka in southern India. The association is incorporated under the Non-profit Corporation Act of the State of Ohio, and strives to integrate, coordinate, network and unite the activities of all the Kannada speaking Indian diaspora in our region. It is a voluntary organization primarily run by donations and memberships from interested members of the public.
The idea of starting an organization comprising of Kannada speaking people in Cleveland was suggested by Shri Vasudeva Kamath. Shri Nag Manohar and Shri Dattatreya joined in the leadership. A group of 25 Kannadigas (Kannada speakers) gathered at a metro park in 1984 and celebrated the birth of our new organization.
According to Wikipedia "Kannada is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by the people of Karnataka in the southwestern region of India. Kannada is known as the queen of all languages.
Dravidian languages are a family of languages spoken by 220 million people, mainly in southern India and north-east Sri Lanka, with pockets elsewhere in South Asia."
Deepa Rao, is President elect 2022 of Kasturi Kannada Sangha Cleveland Ohio. The current president (2018-2021) is Mrs Pushpalatha Venkataraman.
The first committee decided to celebrate the three major festivals of Karnataka state of India: Yugadi, to welcome the New Year which falls in the month of April; Ganesha Pooja, to pay respects to the elephant headed deity to remove obstacles and promote learning, which comes in the month of September; and Deepavali, the festival of lights (November).
A summer picnic was also introduced to enjoy the rare sunshine in Cleveland with games, food, and fun. Kids and adults gather for the entire day, play games, have lunch and snacks together, celebrate birthdays and have a fun day outdoors.
During the Ganesha Pooja, we also observe Dasa Vaibhava, a celebration of the Kannada Vaishnavite (centered on the Hindu deity Vishnu) poetry and literature from the "Bhakti" (devotion) movement of Karnataka that took place during the 15th to 18th centuries. The young and the old participate in this event, presenting their musical talents in the south Indian genre of Carnatic classical music, thus enriching a rich tradition across the boundaries of geography and time. Traditional Indian dinner is served at all our events and are thoroughly enjoyed by all.
There are about 250-300 Kannadigas in the greater Cleveland Area.
For many years now, Kasturi members have been volunteering at local Food Banks, including in Cleveland and Akron. We also volunteer at the local Hindu temples, helping coordinate and prepare weekend lunches.
During the Covid-19, we have presented our calendar of cultural events using virtual technologies, thus keeping the chain of our traditions intact in our tight-knit community.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, Kasturi Kannada Sangha has been an active participant and contributor to the virtual world Kannada conferences coordinated by the 2 major North American conglomerates of Kannada associations, Navika and AKKA. We also participated in a Kannadiga worldwide event coordinated in the UK.
Kannada Shaale (an online school for the systematic instruction of the Kannada language) was a major initiative that was started this year through the Kannada Academy USA. Using a curriculum developed by Kannadigas in India and abroad, volunteer teachers instruct children and adults using a virtual platform across many continents.
We also joined forces with the Cleveland chapter of Sewa International, a Hindu faith-based humanitarian nonprofit organization with global reach, to coordinate the purchase and transport of oxygen cylinders to areas of India affected by Covid-19.
We contributed to "Jnana Deevige", a global initiative to procure and distribute laptops to students from under-resourced families in Karnataka.
During the height of the lockdown from the Covid-19 pandemic, we coordinated the distribution of groceries and other essential goods to students from India enrolled at Cleveland State University, so that they could continue their studies without interruption.
November is Kannada Language and Heritage Month and they received a proclamation from the City of Cleveland to honor that.
Proclamation for Kannada Language and Heritage Month
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