Anandotsav, the district conference of the newly formed 3054, hosted by RC Jaipur South, at the historic city of Agra was a mix of serious talk and colourful extravaganza, complete with garba and bhangra, a grand procession in a buggy carrying the chief guest RI Director Brian Stoyel from England and RIPR Stuart Heal, a Past RI Director from New Zealand and their spouses, and a catwalk in which the DG, DGE, PDGs and their spouses participated.
Giving a report card on his hitherto journey of 224 days as DG, Maullin Patel said that his target for the year was to get 500 new members; 480 had already come in and five new clubs had been added. From the TRF target of $500,000, nearly half has been contributed, and “I think we might reach the $600,000 mark by the end of this Rotary year. Also, the district has received the highest ever grants amount of $1.6 million, and this might cross the $3 million mark by June end.”
I am in complete awe of the work Rotary does in India. We are fortunate to be Rotarians and now is the time for innovation in Rotary.
— RIPR Stuart Heal
On service projects, he said clubs had undertaken tree plantation, WinS, blood donation, literacy, youth exchange and distribution of relief material in flood-hit areas, as also several health projects.
Addressing the meet, RIPR Stuart Heal said, “I am in complete awe of the work Rotary does in India. We need Rotarians across the world to realise how fortunate they are to be a part of Rotary and that they are in Rotary to make a difference locally and internationally.” He added that while Rotary should be evolutionary at all times, sometimes it had to be revolutionary too and advocated the decentralisation of Rotary’s operations.
He urged the assembled Rotarians to “review the role of regional offices and empower them more. Now is the time for innovation in Rotary. We should target community services on a global scale as you are the champions of change.” RI Director Brian Stoyel said he had joined Rotary to “make a difference to myself” and spoke of the service opportunities Rotary had provided him. “In Rotary you are continually learning for the benefit of those around you,” he added.
Addressing the meet PRID Manoj Desai said, “A ship is safe in the harbour but it is meant to sail. So Rotarians also have to go beyond the confines of their homes and take up the journey of Rotary.” As usual, he regaled the audience with his penchant for Urdu poetry by reciting the verse: “Zindagi di hai to jeene ka hunar bhi dena. Paañv baḳhshe hei toh taufiq-e-safar bhi dena (If you’ve given me life, teach me to live it well, and let my legs carry me to the right destination).”
The dignitaries recognised Arch Klumph Society members and those who had made significant contributions to TRF, including Suresh Poddar and spouse Kiran, who have contributed $50,000 this year and are on their way to becoming double AKS members. PDG Ashok Gupta and Vijaya, who have contributed $250,000, and PDG Ramesh Agarwal ₹ 1.65 crore; DG Patel and Sonam, who have become AKS members and PDG Anurag Banthia and Rtn Mahendra Banthia who have contributed $70,000, were all honoured.
The International Youth Exchange team comprising 26 youth from 16 countries participated and the youngsters shared their experience of travelling through the district, and said they found India to be both “spicy and sweet. It is all about love, generosity and faith”. PDG Anil Agarwal was recognised for getting the ‘Meritorious Service Award’ for Polio from TRF.
Rtn Manu Paliwal gave a presentation of the car rally in which he had driven with his brother across 23 countries over 161 days, during which they promoted the PolioPlus programme.
DGE Neeraj Sogani spoke about his wonderful experience at the International Assembly. Conference Chairman Rajendra Prakkash welcomed the delegates from 80 clubs in Gujarat and Rajasthan, and Joint Secretary Rajesh Khatri delivered the vote of thanks.