The Billawar Association, Mumbai : Genesis and Growth

Three golden teachings of Brahma Shree Narayana Guru are: ‘One Religion, One Caste, One God’, ‘Be Independent through Education’ and ‘Unite and Become Strong’. Inspired by these teachings, in the year 1932, a few philanthropic and dedicated individuals of the Billawa Community merged the following four different entities into one – The Billawar Association of Mumbai.

Shree Gokarnanatha Kshetra Samiti

Billawara Hitawardhaka Sangha

Barkur Billawa Charity

Billawa Youth League

The association’s initial goal was to make education accessible and affordable to the poor and the needy people who had migrated to Mumbai due to poverty and desperation. The concerted efforts of the association helped in establishing the Free Night High School in Fort in 1961, and the English and Kannada Day School in Padubelle, Karnataka. The association is also one of the sponsorer of popular Kannada Bhavan Society in Fort, Mumbai.

True to its spirit, the association continued to serve the people and initiated several beneficial programs like – Financial help, Adoption of Students, Scholarship and Merit Awards to encourage students to excel in their respective fields of education. Later, the association initiated many socio-economic programs like – Free Medical Check-up, Blood Donation Camps, Seminars and Workshops for the development of the youth.

The Association is first among the Tulu-Kannadiga Associations to obtain the O.B.C. status for Billawas. The By-laws of the Association is one of the most progressive and far-sighted designed to adapt to changing dynamics of the community.

Over the years, the Billawar Association has grown in strength making its mark in the metropolis of Mumbai and the nearby hill station, Lonavala.  The association established 22 local offices to cater to the growing initiatives and to achieve operational efficiency.


The Association’s goal is to make education accessible and affordable to the poor and needy people who are migrating to Mumbai due to poverty and desperation.

The concerted efforts of the association helped in establishing the Free Night High School in Fort, and the English and Kannada Day School in Padubelle, Karnataka.


The Billawar Association started activities from a solicitor’s office at Meadows Street, Fort under the Presidentship of Shri. M. Appanna. As the organisation grew, the various sub-committees channeled the activities of the association in different thrust areas. In 1974 the office was further shifted to the spacious new building called ‘Mohan Terrace’ at Mody Street. The present Billawa Bhavan, is a splendid institution in tune with the principles of Shree Narayan Guru, constructed at the cost of crores of rupees raised through donations and philanthropy. The Billawa Bhavan today is an edifice of inspiration for millions of the community members.

With increased activities The Association opened several Local offices at Chembur, Bhandup, Dombivili and Bhiwandi. Presently the Association has 22 local offices in Maharashtra.


The foundation stone of the Billawa Bhavan was laid on 6th December, 1992 by Revered Swamiji Sri. Sri. Shashwatikananda from Shivagiri, and the same day the inaguration of the diamond jubilee celebrations was done by Shri. B. Janardhan Poojary in the presence of the chief minister of Karnataka Shri.S.Bangarappa and Shri.Javed Khan – Minister, Govt. of Maharashtra.

The grand inauguration of the Billawa Bhavan on the 16th of April, 1995 in the presence of a gigantic congregation of over 60,000 community members is an unforgettable and beautiful memory, and it has been the fulfillment of a long cherished dream of millions of our people.  (Inaugurated by Shri.Seetaram Kesari)

The Billawa Bhavan, as it stands today with its attractive patterns & nucleus image, reflects the symbol of Unity of the vast Billawa Community of this great city of Mumbai. It is indeed a fascinating and eye catching edifice.

The extended BILLAWA BHAVAN in its present form, a dream project of our then president turned into a pleasant reality on 16th April 2006. The Billawa Bhavan was inaugurated in an impressive ceremony attended by large number of dignitaries and an equally large number of billawas. The function was graced by Shri. Vilasrao Deshmukh – Chief Minister of Maharashtra & Shri. B. Janardhana Poojary – MP & ex-Dy. Finance minister of the Govt. Of India.

The Billawa Bhavan is a unique 6 storeyed building – standing tall gracefully in the heart of the city. Association’s all activities are centered here. It has a wonderful state-of-the-art auditorium, 2 large halls & a conference room.


The Association is first among the Tulu-Kannadiga Associations to obtain the O.B.C. status for Billawas. The By-laws of the Association is one of the most progressive and far-sighted designed to adapt to changing dynamics of the community.


The association actively promotes & encourages achievements in the literary field. It has provided the platform for many a budding writers & poets to jump-start in to the Literary arena. The association has instituted the “Shree Narayana Guru Sahitya Prashasthi – sponsored by Shri. M. B. Kuckian to recognise & acknowledge excellence in the field of literature. The award carries an amount of Rs.25,000 given every year to the best Kannada Writer, selected by a expert committee headed by renowned writers.


The association has also instituted the “Yakshagana Kala Prashashti”, sponsored by Shri. Jaya C. Suvarna in the fond memory of his beloved Mother, late Acchu Chandu Poojary. The award carries a citation along with a cash award of Rs.25,000 for outstanding Yakshagana artists selected by the expert consisting of renowned Yakshagana artists.


The association conducts a range of socio-cultural activities to bring together people and to bring about a sense of belongingness & unity amongst community members.

The Billawar Association of Mumbai through its various sub committees annually distributes around Rs 25 lakhs amongst a large number of poor and deserving families in financial crisis, thereby spreading the message of affection and the feeling of oneness among the poor and the down-trodden members of the society. For this purpose the Association has initiated a corpus fund in the name of ‘AROGYA NIDHI’ on 17th November, 2012

Faith & spiritual based activities like weekly Guru Pooja, celebration of important festivals like Shivaratri and Guru Jayanthi, Navratri, Haldi-Kumkum, Discourses by Spiritual leaders, Performance of Homas for peace and harmony of the mankind, have helped the association to strengthen the social fabric of the community.

Shree Guru Narayana Yakshagana Mandali sponsored by the Association performs dramas in different parts of Maharashtra & Karnataka. It is the shining star in the field of Yakshagana. The Yakshagana Mandali has completed more than 60 years of active existence & is instrumental in keeping the ancient art alive. The Yakshagana team has won various awards. A few notable ones are mentioned. The prestigious Excellence Award in Field Drama, instituted by Cultural Wing of Karnataka Government was awarded to Guru Narayana Yakshagana Mandali. The Diamond Jubilee celebration of Guru Narayana Yakshagana Mandali was attended by the President of Karnataka Yakshagana Academy.

Mahila Vibhag  has been formed to encourage the women to take leadership in social and community development activities.  The mahila vibhag actively organises many socio-cultural programs.

The Shubha Mangala committee brings together brides & grooms from the community. The committee members meet more than once a week & provide a platform for the would-be brides & grooms to find a suitable partner. Shubha Mangala is instrumental for setting many a happy marriages.

Social Welfare Projects:

The Billawar Association, Mumbai has taken the following missions with a spirit of serving the needy:

General Help:

Providing guidance and monetary help directly and through philantrophy. A corpus fund of ‘Arogya Nidhi’ is created to help the families in crisis for medical treatment.


(a) Adoption of Students – For the benefit of deserving students from the socially and economically backward background with a view to encouraging the needy in completing their education.

(b) Financial Help – At local office level financial help is provided by collecting the donations from the philanthropists.

(c) Award for Meritorious Students – Felicitate with scholarship and merit awards to encourage students who excelled in their respective field of education. For this purpose a corpus fund in the name of ‘Amrita Vidhya Nidhi’ has been created.

Day School at Padubelle, Udupi:

The school is situated in a sprawling area of 15 acres. At the Narayana Guru High School more than 800 English Medium and 200 Kannada Medium students avail the benefit of education at a very reasonable fees.

Free meal services and general help is provided to the students.

Free bicycles are provided by the management to encourage the students from the remote villages.

Physical training classes are regularly conducted for the students for a balanced development of the body and the mind.

Narayan Guru Free Night High School for the Working Class – Santacruz, Mumbai

The association runs a free night high school for the poor working class to enable them to fulfill their dreams and aspirations.



The wise have said – “Sports builds Character”. Considering the importance of sports in building healthy competitive spirit amongst young Billawas, the association promotes indoor and outdoor sports activities.

“A healthy body houses a healthy mind” – and what better way to promote fitness than holding highly competitive athletic meets. Billawa youths earnestly look forward the ‘KOTI-CHENNAYA” – the Annual Athletics meet conducted around December, every year. This event attracts billawa youths not only from Mumbai & its suburbs but also members from Lonavla, Gujarat etc. Intense competition is witnessed from amongst various local committees for the coveted prizes.

Another event that is closely contested & keenly observed is the KANTABAARE – BOODABAARE tournament. Members across all ages, participate enthusiastically in the carrom tournament. This event breaks apart the generation gap & one could see kids competing with senior citizens in this event.

The association also arranges many social activities for the youth to encourage the new generation to take active interest in the noble cause of serving and uplifting the downtrodden.


The Billawar Association championed the cause of Billawas for inclusion of “Billawa” community in the OBC list of the Maharashtra State. Because of its untiring efforts, the OBC status was declared in August 1995. In order to help community members to take full advantage of benefits of Other Backward Class (OBC) status, the Association guides members through the process of obtaining OBC certificate. Due to the able guidance provided by the OBC guidance team of the association, many students of the community could secure admission to professional courses like Medicine, Engineering, etc.


Another great achievement of the Association is founding of The Bharat Co-operative Bank (Mumbai) Ltd in 1973. The bank currently is one of the TOP-FIVE Co-op banks in India.  The Bank has more than 92 branches in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat and will be opening 100th branch by August 2016.

The Billawar Sevadal of the Association consists of more than 100 disciplined volunteers who help in organizing large gathering and functions. The Sevadal has earned a good reputation for their excellent organising capabilities.


In 1988 another chapter was added to the history of the Association by starting the Akshaya magazine to bring out the literary talent. Akshaya has been a launch pad for budding writers & poets who have soared to greater heights after the initial nurturing by the Akshaya editorial board. Akshaya – a popular magazine having  more than 30000 readership in Maharashtra and Karnataka. The magazine creates social awareness through writings.

Mr. N. P. Suvarna was the first Managing Editor and Mr. M. S. Kotian was the first Editor. The editorial board under the stewardship of Shri. M B Kuckian has made the magazine a household name in Tuluva families with original content & equally aesthetic presentation.


Local Offices & Co-ordination Offices of the Association backed with other sub committees have all single-mindedly worked on the one point agenda of uplifting of needy & destitute in the community. All in all, the Association has echoed the teachings of Brahmashree Narayana Guru in the best possible manner with the help of selfless service of many persons.

The Billawar Association today is in the doorsill of PLATINUM ERA after celebrating its Diamond Jubilee. The majestic BILLAWA BHAVAN is made available to the Billawas in Mumbai to propagate the cultural, social and educational activities.

The history of Billawar Association since 1932 has been led by various dynamic presidents beginning from late M. Appanna to the longest served president Shri. Jaya C. Suvarna and the present president Shri. Nithyanand D. Kotian. Though a few names are mentioned in this document, lots & lots of members – right from 1932 till today, have selflessly & tirelessly contributed to make the association what it is today. Though listing the names of all major contributors may not be possible, it is important to not forget their contributions in building the awesome THE BILLAWAR ASSOCIATION, MUMBAI.