Lalitha Das : A Profile

Posted: April 12, 2011 in Non-Fiction
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Lalitha Das founder of BCKAIf there is one word to describe 75-yr-old Lalitha Das it would be ‘dynamic’. This  unassuming lady barely sits still. When she is not solving the resident’s problems as the President of the Apartment Association, she is busy organizing events for BCKA or managing Ashwasan activities. Age has not slowed down Mrs. Das physically or mentally. “I live every moment productively. I cannot sit around doing nothing,” she says.

As founder President of Bangalore Club for Kathakali and the Arts (BCKA), for the last two years she has pioneered an organization by bringing together people who are interested in sustaining art and traditional dances in India. “Kathakali is in my blood,” says Mrs. Das who comes from an illustrious family of artists, poets and writers.

 Her father R. Narayana Panicker was the first person who got the Kendriya Sahitya Academy award in 1955, for writing on the history of Malayalam literature (Bhasha Sahitya Charitram). She is also a voracious reader and an excellent Bridge player. Her daughter Meena (Das) Narayan made a documentary on Padmashree Kalamandalam Gopi. (She won the Kerala State Award for her documentary)

 K.C. Keshava Pillay her grandfather was a poet laureate of Travancore royal asthan. He was a composer of Carnatic music and a writer. With all this art and creativity running in the blood it was not surprising she started the BCKA. Vimala Rangachar introduced Vyjayanthimala Bali to Mrs. Das, who performed for free for BCKA. Captain Krishnan Nair of Leela Palace is a patron who donated 2 lakhs Rs during the award night gala in which Padmashree Kalamandalam Gopi and Kottakal Nanda Kumar were felicitated. “The main purpose of our club is to help Kathakali artists and other artists, she said”

 Chenda player Ayamkudi Kuttapamarar is undergoing treatment for cancer and is being helped by BCKA. Late Kottakal Shivraman who was once famous for his lead role as female Kathakali performer and 90 year old make up man Appunni Tharagan have been recipients of BCKA’s contributions. Now a monthly pension is planned for the Kathakali artists.

 BCKA is planning a big event in September hoping to rope in Shankar Mahadevan for a fund raising event that will benefit artists. With 120 members the club is growing with several patrons encouraging their goal.  BCKA has also donated to the students of deaf and dumb school of Trivandrum and to orphanages in Ananthashram in Bangalore. On May 28th BCKA is organizing an all women Kathakali troupe from Triponithara who will perform at the Seva Sadan, Malleshwaram.

 Lalitha Das is also VP of Senior Citizens Club and organization for State and Central Government retirees in Cox Town with 150 members. Their activity includes feeding the poor for Onam and Christmas. Ashwasan a voluntary service organization started 14 years ago has tied with ‘Asha Jeevan’ helping patients with Alzheimers and dementia.  They sponsor five slums with 8 units all over Bangalore. Food is provided to the slums from the ‘Titan’ group of companies.   Every year garage sales are held to benefit the poor. The people in the slum are taught to make paper bags which are sold to pharmacies by them.

 Das is also the Joint Secretary of the Federation of Karnataka Senior Citizens with 120 organizations as members.

Lalitha Das tirelessly dedicates her time, energy and efforts to sustain these organizations and deserves a standing ovation for keeping the traditional arts of Kerala alive, through her organization


Tel: 80 23341583

  1. namitasunder says:

    really inspiring Suja, I stand in awe ……..


  2. purnima says:

    I continue to be inspired by her boundless energy and never say die attitude..She is truly an inspiration…May god bless her with good health and positivity always.

  3. Namita thank you much for stopping by here.

    Purnima, I agree with what you say. She is an inspiring person who follows her passions with a gusto that is unmatched. Thank you for stopping by on my pages.