( Palace of Travancore )
The Nair Service Society UK ( Registration no. 0892370) set up on 20th January 2013, is an offshoot organisation stemming from the first Nair Service Society based in Kerala, India. The initial Kerala organisation came into existence on 31st October 1914, set up by social reformer Shri Mannathu Padmanabhan in response to the welfare needs and social advancement of the Nair community in Kerala. The role of the NSS in Kerala has evolved and they now run a number of educational establishments and hospitals. The role of the Nair Service Society in the UK will include the protection and promotion of heritage, including birth, death and marriage customs. NSS UK will also be looking to promote cultural heritage through music, dance and drama, running workshops and holding events open to all communities.As well as these ventures, we look to promote and preserve the values and legacy left by Shri Mannathu Padmanabhan, while addressing the needs of the community. The Nair Service Society UK looks to provide a platform for networking and bringing different sections of the community together, encouraging new generations to experience and understand our culture. We are currently a non-profitable organisation and we are looking to eventually become a charity organisation in the near future.
The Nair community traces its roots in the south Indian state of Kerala, where historically they have played the role of a martial nobility. Along with the unique customs and practices found within the Nair community, such as unique family inheritance systems, marriage practices and serpent worship for instance, the Nair have played a distinct role in the development of Kerala culture. NSS founder Shri Mannathu Padmanabhan worked towards abolishing unprogressive Nair customs and practices that were preventing Nair people in the late 19th and early 20th century from gaining economic stability and causing people to fall into poverty. Shri Mannathu Padmanabhan, also encouraged Nair people to join the Western education systems that became prevalent in Kerala at the time, in order to evolve with a changing Kerala. His work also included efforts for social equality in Kerala and improving caste relations, as well as fighting against archaic notions of untouchability within the Hindu community. Today, the Nair community comprise a subsection of the diverse wider Malayali community.
The role of the NSS today is one that seeks to acknowledge a distinct heritage, while being able to offer engagement within the wider community through cultural events and charity work.