First Thoughts – February – 2015



Dear Partners in Service,

February has been designated as ‘World Understanding Month’ as it includes the birthday of Rotary International, February 23. Let us use this month to promote peace, goodwill and understanding among the people of the world. Rotary clubs can plan and execute projects and programmes with this in mind. Let me quote the words of Sri S Radhakrishnan, former President of India.

“Our generation should not go down in the history of mankind as the one which split the atom or the one which invented the nuclear weapons. We should rather go down in the history of mankind as the generation which brought the international communities together.”

This is the season for district conferences. I have been fortunate to be part of many glittering conferences all around India, with record registrations, excellent programmes, wonderful family participation, all of which demonstrated the extraordinary devotion of Rotarians to Light up Rotary!

It is with immense pleasure that I share with you my

HAPPINESS at the excellent feedback I am getting from the participants of Vanakkam Chennai, who found the programmes to be of the highest quality!

DELIGHT that immediately after the Chennai Declaration, we got down to work on Swachh Bharat. Our PRIPs Raja Sabooji , Kalyanda and Trustee Sushil Guptaji have already had two rounds of discussions with the officials of the Ministry of HRD, Government of India, to take our WinS ( Water And Sanitation in Schools) programme forward. The Government has allotted 489 schools where we will be constructing toilets before end December 2016. Also, 10,000 schools, have been allotted to Rotary, where, we will effect behavioral modification and ensure proper maintenance of water and sanitation, facilities.

This was followed by a meeting with UNICEF with whom we will shortly sign an MOU and work together on the above projects!

GRATITUDE to the press and social media for giving wide coverage to our Institute, Vanakkam Chennai and the mega ‘My Flag My India’ event, which resulted in a Guinness World record!

SATISFACTION that the second Rotary South Asia Literacy Summit is slated to take place on February 13-15, 2015, at Pune with RIPE K R Ravindran as the Chief Guest.

Rotary today is the most universal of the free institutions and a leading force in making this world a better place to live. World understanding generated by its large network of clubs is like a dome of many-coloured glass which enhances the radiance of Rotary.

Rotary shall remain while Rotarians shall pass, offering living proof of the unity of all humanity.
It seems, once, the foot ball went to God and said, “Dear God, while both me and the musical instrument flute work on the principle of air, people kick me all the time while they kiss the flute. Both of us are your creations; then why this great disparity?”

“It is true,” said God. “You both work on the principle of air. But while you hold on to all the air that you get from the atmosphere, the flute converts the air it receives, into melodious music and immediately gives it back to the great joy and happiness of the listeners. That is why they kiss the flute but kick you!”

Rotarians are like the flute. They receive the best of things from the community and immediately give it back through their social service. That is why there is so much demand for Rotary and respect for Rotarians.

Rotary is essentially synergistic — the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Rotarians working together can achieve objectives which will be unreachable if attempted alone. Rotarians are privileged to be part of an organisation whose strength flows from the recognition that mankind is one, that a smile is the same in every language and that peace is indispensable for raising the level of life, material as well as moral.

We are formed as notes of music are
For one another, though dissimilar
Let us live and act and serve the future hour
Through love, through hope and through
Rotary’s transcendent power!

Yours in Rotary,

P T Prabhakar
Rotary International (2013–15)



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