by Ishwar M. Ail
It is 25 years since the passing away of Narayan Kartappa, well known as Narayana K, a leader of the Thiya community in Mumbai and all over the country.
Narayana K was the founder president of Bharatiya Thiya Samaj, Mangalore, a union of Thiyas owing allegiance to all the 18 Bhagawati temples of Thiya Community all over India and even abroad. Bharatiya Thiya Samaj has its regional (valaya) committees in Mumbai, Udupi, Kasargod, Manjeshwar, Bangalore and other places.
Narayana, hailing from Manjeshwar of Kasargod district, migrated to Mumbai in his early age. He worked in a textile mill in Mumbai to begin with. With hard work and also leadership quality, he rose step by step and with the help of his friends he founded his own textile industry under the name of Lois Silk Mills in Mumbai.
He became one of the directors after it was converted into a private limited company. His experience in the industry and his leadership qualities enabled him to be made a director of the Silk and Art Silk Mills' Association (SASMA), Mumbai in 1973 for a period 10 years. Then he continued as project committee member of SASMA. He was also the vice president of Art Silk Co-operative Limited, Mumbai.
Besides being a businessman, he also served as a community leader and a social worker who helped lots of needy persons, mainly in Dakshina Kannada and Kasargod district. Since 1950 he was actively involved in Thiya Samaj, Mumbai and from 1972 to 1979 he served as president of Thiya Samaj, Mumbai and then from 1985 to 1987 as the chairman of the board of trustees of the Thiya Samaj.
In 1977, with his initiative and leadeship, the Bharatiya Thiya Samaj came into existence and he served as president until his death on June 27, 1987. Earlier in 1977, a large number of people from DK and Kasargod district lost their houses and belongings due to heavy rain and flood. Immediately Narayan approached some of the business people in Mumbai and collected some funds, clothes, etc., and distributed them to the needy in these districts.
In the same year he organized the 1st conference of Bharatiya Thiya Samaj in Kanila Shri Bhagavati Kshetra premises at Manjeshwar. The meet was attended by thousands of Thiya community members and also many dignitaries from other communities from Mumbai and southern parts of India.
Besides being instrumental in the founding of the Bhagawati Bank in Mangalore, he also played a crucial role in shifting the office of Thiya Samaj, Mumbai from the Fort to its present own premises in Ghatkopar in 1986. The late Narayan was also the president of Kanila Shri Bhagavati Kshetra, Mumbai committee.
It was his dream to establish an educational institution, mainly for the benefit of the students of the community. In his memory, a committee was formed under the sponsorship of Thiya Samaj, Mumbai, “Shri Narayana K Memorial Samiti” consisting of members of Thiya Samaj, Mumbai, Bharatiya Thiya Samaj, Mumbai region, Sasihittlu Shri Bhagavati Thiya Sangha, Mumbai, Kanila Shri Bhagavati Kshetra, Mumbai Samiti and other members of Thiya Community in Mumbai.
This committee organized an entertainment programme in Shankukhananda Hall in September 1988 to a packed audience and collected several lakhs of rupees, which was invested to purchase a land in his memory in Mudipu near Mangalore.
Now lakhs of community people are waiting for the fulfilment of his dream and have a memorial in the name of the late Narayana Kartappa who is always remembered as a great leader of the Thiya community.