Bharathi Kalai Manram(BKM) was formed in 1973. There were about 20 ~ 25 Indian Families, no temple, no Tamil videos, no Indian restaurants, only one grocery store. However Tamil community’s needs (welcoming new comers, helping sick patients from India, funeral arrangements, picnics, Tamil movies, etc) were handled by two extremely talented and public spirited individuals, S.Kannappan and Late Dr. Alagarsamy.
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)