Based on excerpts from the article "Konkanis in the Bay Area" written by Dr. Narayan H. Nayak for the 25th year celebrations in 2009
Bhagavata Purana mentions that in Tretayuga, sage Parashurama (axe-weilding Rama and the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu) threw his axe from western mountains of coastal India and reclaimed land from the Indian Ocean creating the Konkan. Konkanis have inherited the spirit of Parashurama though they weild only pens today to extend their land in alien abodes in Kaliyuga!
Establishment of "Amchigele Samaj" and Panchadik
In late 1984, Mr. Ramesh Kamath gathered Konkanis he knew and invited them to a get together and an initial puja was performed at Badrikashrama in San Leandro, CA, in January 1985. The social group at that time was named "Amchigele Samaj" and Ramesh and Pratibha Kamath were the first Presidents for the group. A committee of a few people assisted him holding three functions: Ugadi, Picnic in summer and a Diwali celebration. A newsletter was also initiated and it was rightly called Panchadik. This newsletter has since been published regularly featuring the happenings as they took place. The collection of Panchadik of over 25 years has been a historic chronicle of bygone days and a mine of information for the future generations.
Emergence of KAOCA
Majority of the original members of the Samaj had remained in the Bay area and practically most attended the Amichigele Samaj gatherings and read Panchadik regularly as it was released. In 1990, the group agreed to change the name to "KAOCA" to mean Konkani Association of California.
New Presidents and committee assisting them have been appointed every year since 1985 and each new team is introduced at the annual Diwali celebrations. It is to be noted that each committee has worked hard and offered innovative functions each year. Though there were three annual functions as a routine, additional variations such as overnight trips to Yosemite, Shasta Lake and skiing trips have added some vigor in some years.One exceptional product of KAOCA has been the awesome youth group that has evolved since its birth in 1986.
The youth group has deserved the recognition for organizing the Konkani Youth Sammelan in 2007 and again in 2008 (during the Konkani Sammelan).
Besides annual events and Sammelans, KAOCA has supported fund-raising efforts for AMKA for educational scholarships, assisted temples in Sunnyvale, Fremont and Livermore. KAOCA has been affiliated as a sister organization of the India Community Center in Milpitas. Our members have participated in the community efforts to feed the homeless in south bay and in their fund-raising, and members have been devoted to causes such as the India Literacy Project for years. We have also had a core group that worked on issues facing future of our members including questions pertaining to retirement.
In reckoning achievements, it is crucial to note the opportunities that the KAOCA events have provided to youngsters and all budding artists to perform on stage in preparation for their larger American arena i.e. in their schools, colleges and ultimately in corporate America. The group has witnessed several youngsters go through milestones of developments within our group and maturing as fine young Konkani-Americans in the society.
Undoubtedly, there is no historic parallel considering the unique circumstances that brought the Konkani speaking community together in forging us to create a "new" Konkan in an adopted land. The consistent energetic team-spirit, hospitality and the unique family-like atmosphere that abounds here, outside the boundaries of the original Konkan, is nothing but monumental. The KAOCA community members are fortunate to have witnessed this over the past quarter of a century. The community hopes that KAOCA would continue to grow exponentially over the years to come!