A mega convention centre, erected on a 60,000 sq ft space at Raymond Grounds in Thane with a fully air-conditioned auditorium and exhibit area with 60 stalls, made the District Conference 3142 titled Tarangan one of the most talked about Rotary conclaves in the Greater Mumbai region.
While conferences under the combined District 3140 would be always held in Mumbai, representations from this region used to be thin due to the distance. Now the two-day DisCon hosted by RC Thane North End, the home club of DG B M Sivarraj, saw a participation of over 2,400 delegates.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, the chief guest, lighted the ceremonial lamp, accompanied by DG Sivarraj, his spouse Manonmani, RIPR and PDG (3190) Rajendra Rai and his wife Rekha. Conference Chair Sandeep Salvi, host Club President Hemant Arora and spouse Sangeeta were also present.
Sumitra Mahajan dwelt on the concept of ‘Service above Self’ which compels Rotarians to look after the wellbeing and comfort of others in the community. “Many individuals may be doing this in some way or the other, but when you unite as an organisation, the service to society has much more impact, gets a different kind of strength and is holistic,” she said. Acknowledging the presence of a large number of women, she said, “For building a strong society, women should always stand beside men; gone are the days of the maxim that says, ‘Behind every successful man, there’s a woman’. The time now is to walk together and the word ‘behind’ should be replaced with ‘beside’. When you do things together, there is an extra bonding and you go the extra mile.”
Focus on priority areas
Conveying the RI President’s message, PDG Rajendra Rai said strengthening of the clubs, humanitarian projects and enhancing the public image of Rotary are the priority areas. He appreciated the district clubs for taking up a number of community projects such as check dams, water and sanitation, toilet blocks, green initiatives, a blood transfusion and a limb centre. “Continue to work on your strengths; innovate and improve these projects,” he said.
DG Sivarraj said the district had targeted 1,000-plus new members and 30 new clubs in this Rotary year. For a TRF he has set a target of $3 million and plans to expand the reach of the District’s service projects.
Swami Sukhabhodananda, Shiv Khera and BVG India Chairman Hanmant Gaikwad were among the guest speakers. Sand artist Manisha Swarnkar’s portrayal of Rotary at the start of the day gave a creative touch to the proceedings.
Among the keynote speakers from within and outside Rotary, were noted Gandhian Palam Kalyanasundaram and Union Minister for Commerce Suresh Prabhu, who made their presence through video messages as they could not make it to the conference.