A Historical Perspective on the Development of Nadar Aikia Sangam (Nadar Association) in West Malaysia 1967 - 1991

Author:   Dr.Ganesan Shanmugavelu

A Historical Perspective  on the Development of Nadar Aikia Sangam (Nadar Association) in West Malaysia 1967 - 1991

Dr.Ganesan Shanmugavelu, Institute of Teacher Education Ipoh Campus, Malaysia



Indians are one of the largest races in Malaysia. Most Indians who came to Malaysia were from South India, especially Tamil Nadu. In the year 1921, the Tamils from Tamil Nadu represented 82% of the total number of Indians in Malaysia. Besides the Tamils, the Indians among others also comprised Malayalees, Telugus, Gujaratis and Punjabis. The Tamil community in Malaysia consisted of various groups and one of the groups were the Nadars. Most of the Nadars lived on the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia such as, in the states of Penang, Perak, Selangor, Negeri embilan, Johor, and also in Kuala Lumpur. The Nadars were settled in Malaysia since the beginning of the 20th Century, evidenced by the first Annual General Meeting of the ‘Nadar Paripalana Sangam’ or Nadar Protective Association in February, 1925.

Indian Associations in Malaysia were established in the beginning of the 20th century, such as Kinta Indian Association (1906), Penang Indian Association (1906), Selangor Indian Associaton (1909) and others. Besides these, there existed serveral Indian Associations based on various groups or castes, which were established as social organisations to oversee the welfare of its members and uplift their social and economic development. These associations have been growing rapidly with associations like the Vanniyar Sangam, Maruthuvar Sangam and Nammakal Sangam each working towards a different set of goals and objectives, with the primary attitude of community development. One of these associations is the Nadar Aikia Sangam or Nadar Association aimed at effectively progressing towards the welfare of the Nadar community resident in Malaysia.


History of Nadar Aikia Sangam (Nadar Association)

The Nadar Association was established in Ipoh, Perak in 1967 under the name ‘Nadar Aikia Sangam Perak’. According to Mr.Pooviah Nadar, a founder member of this association, the idea to form this association existed among some Nadars in Ipoh. Since there was no association for the Nadars in the state of Perak, they felt the need for an association to unite the Nadars in the state. In addition, the association also aimed to safeguard the welfare of the Nadars, such as improving the standard of education of Nadars and provide financial support and assistance to members of the association as and when the need arose.

The Nadar Aikia Sangam Perak was registered under the Societies Act 1966 on 26 January, 1967 located at No.1035, Guntong (Buntong), Ipoh, Perak. The first president of the association is Mr.Nyanamuthu Nadar. In the year of its establishment, a total of 215 people became members of the association. Of these, The Nadar Association also made an application to secure a land from the government for the association to carry out its activities. In conjunction with the establishment of the Nadar Association, many individuals contributed donations to the Association raising a significant sum of money for the cause of the association.


Development of Nadar Association

The newly formed Nadar Association encouraged more Nadars to join this association. In 1968, a significantly larger number of people became members of the Nadar Association, bringing the total to 320 members. In the First Annual General Meeting, various suggestions were raised for the sake of the association. One member of the association, Mr.Sithambaram Nadar suggested that all members of the association work together and strive to develop the association. He also stressed that members encouraged more people to join the Nadar Association. In the first meeting, Dr. D.B.S. Edward Nadar was elected as the President of the Association.

An interesting thing about this association is that the voting process will be conducted to elect the President and the new committee members is held annually thereby reflecting a dynamic leadership and membership to assist the association in the fulfillment of its objectives. To facilitate the administration of the association, on 7 September 1969, the office of the Nadar Association moved to a new place at. In September 1970, a committee was formed to attract new members and also to interact with existing members. The committee formed, visited all the districts in the state of Perak and succeeded in the enrollment of new members.

The activities of an association can be implemented effectively if the association has its own building. Towards this end, Nadar Association sought to acquire a piece of land. To facilitate the process of acquiring a land, a special committee was set up on 8 June 1975. It consisted of seven people. This committee was assigned to liaise with the government to acquire the land and with the sustained efforts of the Association, a new application to the government was registered on 22 November 1976.

The Nadar Association members grew every year and with it, the financial position of the Association also strengthened. As of February 1976, the total number of members were 313. With a strong financial position, Nadar Association continued to contribute in many avenues, thereby working towards the welfare of the members.

One of the fundamental objectives of the formation of Nadar Association was to improve the education of Nadars. An education fund was launched at the 10th General Meeting. A total of MYR3668.00 was collected on the first day of the launching of the education fund. This proved that the members of the Nadar Associaton were committed to the advancement of Nadars in education. Meanwhile, the Nadar Association’s dream of acquiring a piece of land became a reality. In the 14th Annual General Meeting in 1981, the building fund was officially launched on the recommendation of Mr.Vethamanikam Nadar.

In April 1983, Nadar Association received a letter from the government informing that the land acquired by the association had been approved. Construction of the Nadar Association’s building required a lot of money and it was successfully accomplished by the efforts of the members of the association, each of whom who contributed to the cause. The accrued sum of money along with the generous philanthropist, Mr .E.P.D. Samuel Nadar considerate donations helped the Association in bringing up the requisite funds to effectively construct an establishment for the community and the association.

Nadar Association entered a new era and underwent several changes in 1987. This was evidenced with the change of the association’s name to Nadar Aikia Sangam, West Malaysia (Nadar Associaton, West Malaysia.) The changing of name was designed to expand the association’s influence throughout West Malaysia. With this, the Nadars throughout West Malaysia were unified under one association and this allowed the association to contribute in a better and meaningful way to the Nadars as a whole.

The administration of the Nadar Association intended to construct a two-story building on the land given by the government in Buntong, Ipoh. Nadar Association’s new building was completed in 1991. The administration of Nadar Association applied to change the address of the association to (the new address) in K-7, Regat Sungai Pari 4, Off Jalan Sungai Pari, Buntong, Ipoh, Perak. The logo of the association was also created and the association also began to use the new logo after receiving approval from the authorities. The official opening of the Nadar Association’s new building was held on 17 April 1991.

The construction of Nadar Association’s new building was a proud moment for all Nadars in Malaysia. With the construction of the new building, the association could carry out its activities in a meaningful and more organised, systematic and effective way. Moreover, Nadars from other states could also join the Nadar Association. In this way, the Nadars throughout Malaysia could contribute to national development and attempt at an enhanced platform for citizens to network and create newer, more meaningful opportunities.


Overall it can be stated that, the Nadar Association founded in 1967 in Ipoh, has thrived and played a key role in contributing to the Nadars, especially in the state of Perak. The Nadar Association managed to put up a building with the efforts of its members. It can be surmised that the Nadar Association has made a significant contribution to the Nadars as well as to the Indian society towards national development. The Nadar Association was one of the first community based associations in Malaysia, helping to further establish and strengthen ties amidst the community. The need to respect the significant Tamil population in Malaysia and to provide an impetus to their development was duly recognized by the Association. As stated above, in identifying education as a primary aim and in the establishing of an Education Fund, to attempt development in the said regard, it signifies the nature of the good work done by the Association. 

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