Light Up Rotary Seminar
“Ek pyar ka nagma hai, maujon ki ravani hai, zindagi aur kuch bhi nahi teri meri kahani hai …” sang Rotarian Deepak Talwar saying that this is “Rotary and my story.” Light up Rotary Seminar, under the chairmanship of PDG Sam Patibandla, was an immensely interactive session.
While 4,000 new clubs were added in Rotary worldover, the net membership gain remained as low as 226 percent. “Is it feasible for an international organisation like Rotary? Is it sufficient?” asked PDG Mahesh Raikar who later unfolded the Regional Membership Plan. PDG Rabi Narayan Nanda also mentioned about one of the challenges faced: “the basic funda is that individuals do not want to leave the leadership. Efficient people do not get a chance.” Therefore ideas are lost and so is the ability to bring in more members.
“Our first challenge is to bring in members,” said PDG Vinod Bansal. Members leave Rotary or refrain from joining it because of the increasing cost, mentioned a participant. Bansal threw open a debate when he questioned, “Should Rotary adapt a dictum — serving masses through classes?” PDG N Asoka brought to the notice of the audience TRF Grant structure and signature projects that enhanced Rotary’s public image. PDG Ramesh Agarwal gave an insight into effective PR.
The seminar gave each member in the hall an opportunity to come forward and Light up Rotary with their Rotary Moment.
Council on Legislation
The Council on Legislation (COL) is an essential part of Rotary’s governance. The COL Seminar chaired by PDG P T Ramkumar and PDG A Subramaniam briefed the delegates about the mechanics of the COL Meet that would be held at Chicago in April 2016.
Ramkumar and Subramaniam made the attendees realise that COL was no rocket science. Demonstrating a mock COL session, PDG Ramkumar announced, “This is the proposed legislation,” holding a big binder with the ‘proposals’ from various parts of the world. The COL representatives for the year 2016 were briefed on the Rules of Procedure — How a resolution is to be tabled/ withdrawn, how to move a motion, what are the motions that are debatable/ amendable? The five day COL “business session lasts from 8.30 a.m. to 6 p.m., depending upon the number of proposals,” said Ramkumar.
When you give to someone, give silently, with humility, give lovingly and unconditionally.
Every three years, Rotarians from across the globe meet at the COL to review and vote on proposed legislation. Representatives consider proposals arranged in the binders based on their relevance. Holding up the red, green and yellow cards Ramkumar explained, “Flashing the green card conveys that you are ‘for’ the proposal, red shows you are ‘against’ and this is only during the discussion phase.” So what does the yellow stand for? “Yellow, when you want to make an amendment to the proposal being considered.”
“If a person flashes the yellow card, he is given an opportunity to speak,” explained PDG Subramaniam. A time limit of two minutes is given to the speaker; the language used has to be English. So you go up to the microphone and say, “Chairman, I am so and so, I would like to propose this amendment for this reason.” The amendment is then passed for voting (electronic) before which “another Rotarian has to second it,” said PDG Ravi Vadlamani.
“At the Assembly will we be served Indian food?” inquired a member in the room while another wanted to know “how to relax during the session.” PDG Subramaniam said that the best relaxation will come in the form of humorous points during the debate. He recalled how PRIP Cliff Dochterman reacted to getting a title called ‘youth act’ — “We have Interact, we have Rotaract, I have cataract, now why do we need youth act?”
The session was adjourned on this humorous note.
Padharo Maro Desh – Curtain raiser for Rotary Institute 2015
Anns dressed in colourful Rajasthani attire dancing to the tunes of Kesariya balam ayoa ni padharo maro desh welcomed an overwhelming crowd to the Rotary Institute 2015, Jaipur.
“Sharmishta and I invite you to the Pink City — Jaipur for Rotary Institute 2015. Please be there to witness the new perception of Rotary, which can be described in three words — Dare, Care and Share.” said RIDE Dr Manoj Desai.
Institute Chair PDG Dr Ashok Gupta said, “I strongly believe that this will be an excellent opportunity for all to get a feel of the rich heritage, cuisine, fellowship and above all the hospitality of the Rajasthani people.”
Dada Vaswani Lights up Rotary
“Would he be able to speak clearly?” asked a member in the audience looking at the elderly man being pushed on a wheelchair towards the microphone placed at the centre stage. “Friends and fellow Rotarians, we have in our midst the great spiritual leader Dada J P Vaswani,” announced RI Director P T Prabhakar. A video introduced the speaker to his audience. There was complete silence in the hall and when somebody was found talking or if a cell phone rang they were signalled to keep quiet.
“Rotary is a movement that has moved around the world,” said Vaswani. “Friendship, fellowship and fruitfulness are its virtues.” The man on the stage known for his great story telling skills narrated an interesting story of Mulla Nasrudin. “Let us not curse the darkness. Let us kindle little lights,” he said at the end of the story.The gathering collectively laughed, clapped, some got emotional and even shed tears, as Dada Vaswani gave “suggestions” for a better a life. “When you give to someone, give silently, with humility, give lovingly and unconditionally,” he continued. He told the Rotarians, “God has created you and poured love into your hearts so that you may do your best to alleviate the suffering that is around you.” He also answered questions related to love, grief and happiness.
A standing ovation greeted Dada Vaswani, as he said that no matter how old you are, it’s the spirit to “live in harmony” that speaks aloud.
Sportsman, entrepreneur, actor… Padma Shri Vijay Amritraj after completing his assignment as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, founded The Vijay Amritraj Foundation with the mission to “bring hope, help and healing to the defenceless and innocent victims of disease, tragedy and circumstance in India.”
Vijay Amritraj who has been conferred with the ‘Distinguished NRI Award’ by RC Madras East described his childhood struggle and hard work. “Why do you have to go all the way there to lose?”asked his grandmother, who wasn’t happy about his decision to take up tennis as a career. But tennis changed his life and taught him to “win well and lose well.” He shared his thoughts on how sports can help shape youngsters into better human beings.
Service above Self
Addressing the packed hall, Brahmakumari Shivani asked some tough questions to the participants at the Chennai Institute. What is the true meaning of “Service above Self, your motto”? She made it clear that “service that seeks reward or recognition is no service at all. If you expect that, it is like one hand giving and the other hand taking … demanding a return.”
True service was that which just gave and gave and expected nothing in return.
Asking the audience to take control of their emotions and not harbour negative thoughts and feelings, she challenged them to take a 24-hour test. “Make a pledge that in the next 24 hours you will not get angry or lose your temper even once.” This was possible, she said, giving the example of another mammoth gathering she had addressed recently, where she had given the same exercise. The next day an overwhelming majority of the participants returned with a positive answer.