I will not accept gifts. We have been receiving gifts throughout our lives; it’s our turn now to be a gift to the world; let us rise up to (RI President) Ravi’s clarion call,” said RI Director Manoj Desai at the installation of C R Raju as District Governor of D 3230. During his tenure as Governor when he appealed to his club presidents not to honour him with gifts, “they requested me to allow them to give me books at least, I said okay and today I have 49 Bhagwad Gita books.”
Talking about his commitment to WinS, he said that at the orientation meet PTP had committed that “we will build 10,000 toilets each in 2015–16 and 2016–17; my two-year tenure will be spent in building toilets and people have already dubbed me, ‘Toilet Director.’ But that’s fine. And I look forward to hear Prime Minister Modi say that Rotary has performed excellently well.”
Concerned about the fluctuating membership, a disturbing feature of Rotary the world over, he said, “We are happy to see graphs going up in our businesses. But why can’t we do anything about the zigzag graph in Rotary? We have to concentrate on membership — sustaining existing members and growth. Let’s be progressive on all three fronts — membership, Foundation and public image.”
“Divide to multiply,” said Desai. India’s total membership of 1.4 lakh Rotarians is equivalent to four zones, “but what we have now is two and a half; senior leaders PRIPs Raja Saboo, Kalyan Banerjee and TRF Trustee Sushil Gupta are of the view that we can have 50 districts in two years; that means four zones, two directors to represent our country on the Board.”
Referring to RI President Ravindran’s theme, Raju acknowledged his ‘gifts’ — “Rtn Sitrarasu who introduced me to Rotary was a gift to me, my children — Prashant and Sneha —are invaluable gifts to me and Shanthi, and Rotary is the best gift to all of us.” He too discouraged the tradition of gifting him mementoes during his club visits and thanked Past President Rtn Ravi of RC Madras Silver Beach for setting the trend by giving a cheque for $100 towards TRF instead of a memento and many other Rotarians for their contributions to TRF.
Enumerating his plans for the Rotary year, Raju encouraged clubs to jointly work for a common project. Referring to the nine Chennai clubs that had a joint installation, he suggested that they work collectively for the uplift of a village or school and urged clubs to identify matching partners and work with TRF funding.
The ‘First Ladies’ Directory,’ a first for the District, was launched by Shanthi Raju. IPDG ISAK Nazar thanked his team for their support in the District’s distinguished achievements. Engaging in an impromptu word play, he said, “All Light Up presidents will continue to be a Gift to the World.”
Desai chaired the installation event of DG Subhash Kulkarni in Mumbai. “This is your final year together; so strive to achieve maximum membership growth, TRF contributions and enhance Rotary’s public image,” he said. The district will be bifurcated from next year. Reminding the Rotarians on the RI theme, Desai urged them to dedicate themselves to be a gift to both Rotary and humanity, and take up national focus programmes such as TEACH and WinS on a priority basis.
Elaborating his plans for the District, Kulkarni said that TB eradication and treatment will be a major thrust for all the 145 clubs of the District. “It has a support of Rs 3 crore from the Lupin Foundation. With a series of 600 TB detection camps, followed by treatment supported by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this project will be a life saving one,” he said. The district plans to provide 500-plus toilets along with washing stations for girl students in schools around the tribal areas of Palghar and Jawhar. The first toilet block was inaugurated in Gurukul Vidyapith School, Thane.
Rtn K P Nagesh of RC Bangalore Highgrounds was installed as DG at Bengaluru. Commitment of four Rotarians to become AKS members, an endowment of $100,000 and 106 Major Donors marked the occasion. A new club (Rotary Bangalore Malgudi) with 60 members was chartered on July 4 and “it has committed to enter the ‘Hall of Honour,’ whereby all members will become PHFs; we have 36 Hall of Honour clubs and we propose to add 25 more this year. We will also charter 40 new clubs,” said Nagesh.