Service at its best…

In the Rotary world, it is a great honour to get a visit from a serving RI president. Well, before June 2022, the last time the Rotary News Trust office in Chennai had an RI president calling in was in 2007 when President Wilf Wilkinson visited our office while holding this high post. This was well before I joined as an editor of the magazine in September 2014. A few years before my tenure as editor, we had incoming RI presidents visiting us — from Kalyan Banerjee, Ron Burton, Gary Huang to K R Ravindran.

But all of a sudden, and by sheer co-incidence, and zero planning on our part, within a month — June 26 to July 26 — we had two serving RI presidents — Shekhar Mehta and Jennifer Jones — delighting us with a visit. Mehta is a trustee on the RNT board.

Even though Mehta’s year was ending, his enthusiasm and energy were palpable, and similar electrifying energy radiated from Prez Jennifer as she breezed into our office, oozing charm, enthusiasm and resolve. From her expressions, talk and body language it is evident that she means business. She is acutely aware of the historic opportunity that has been given to her to display to the world that hard work and resolve, enthusiasm and energy, intellect and vision, and above all a compassionate heart… are qualities that are neither gender specific, nor confined to this gender or that. From the meeting and events that I have watched her address in Pune first and Chennai next, it is evident that she is going to invest all the energy, passion and hard work required to make a huge success of her year as president. She doesn’t like making much of the gender factor in her rise to the office of president, always maintaining that competence and qualifications matter, not gender. But there is no doubt that she will be watched like a hawk, as all women in positions of substance and power are. Now it will be left to other qualified, talented, hardworking and competent women to walk through the door she has opened. If hard work, passion and service are their mantra, they are bound to succeed too.

It was heartwarming to meet at the goal-setting event Lakshya in Pune, seven women DGEs from our zones. Yes, for the first time ever, Rotary India will see seven women governors in a single batch. Good luck to all of them.

Again, by co-incidence, the cover story of this issue is also about a feisty and dedicated woman, who has worked undaunted, relentlessly and passionately to help needy patients with a defective heart get pacemakers implanted at a nominal cost. Dr Vijaya Bharat, a cardiologist from the Rotary Club of Jamshedpur, has been working for 17 long years to help patients with irregular heartbeats get fitted with pacemakers at the Tata Main Hospital in that city. Even after retirement from the hospital as the head of the department of cardiology, she convinced her successor, Dr Mandar Shah, to join her Rotary club, and continue this service. In all, thanks to her efforts, 222 hearts are continuing to tick with the help of pacemakers implanted at the Tata Hospital.

Surely this is service at its best…


Rasheeda Bhagat

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