To instil the habit of giving among Rotarians, “we are planning to put in place an SIP (Systematic Investment Plan) through which Rotarians can contribute a sum of their choice regularly to The Rotary Foundation. The quantum does not matter; it can be as small as ₹100 a month or ₹1,000 or more. What matters is developing such a habit,” said PDG Vinod Bansal who was deputed as the RIPR to D 3261 District conference titled Rising 3261 held in Kanha, Madhya Pradesh.
Also an ARFC for this district, he said that as a representative of the RI President Ian Riseley, he brought to the delegates several messages from the President. The first was the reminder that Rotary is a 113-year-old organisation which had lots of achievements to its credit. It had managed to carry on its legacy of serving the community for over 100 years, while many others had fallen by the wayside, thanks to some principles it followed. “And one of these is to change with the changing times. Our President has made it very clear that if Rotary has to remain relevant for the next 100 years, it has to change according to the needs of society.”
But to ensure that, the present model and structure of its membership would not do; “we cannot continue to grow as an organisation with nearly 90 per cent of our members being in the 50-plus age group”. Two largest segments of society — youth and women — were not adequately represented in Rotary’s membership and this would have to change, he said. Other messages he brought from Riseley were serious efforts required to safeguard the environment and stop its degradation, and do sustainable projects. “As our RI President says Rotary’s job is not to dig wells but to ensure that the wells we give the community get water for long years.”
Bansal added that the true quality of a leader was his ability to take all kinds of people along with him and work as a cohesive team, and District 3261 DG Harjit Hura had proved to be one such leader. As D 3261 came under him, as an ARFC he had occasion to closely watch how the DG had handled the leadership of a difficult district such as 3261 with “its own peculiarities, issues, cultural diversities and other challenges. Despite the geographical diversity of your district, with parts of three States within which you work and the economic disparities that exist, you have major achievements to your credit and have come out with flying colours.”
One of these was giving a modern cath lab to the Satya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital in Raipur at a huge cost of over ₹3 crore and with a global grant. Hura had also surpassed expectations on membership growth, Bansal added, congratulating him.
Urging more Rotarians in the district to become PHFs and Major Donors, Bansal added that he had himself become a Major Donor in 2007, and “found that whenever I gave liberally to the TRF for a good cause, God gave me much more in return.”
Why Rising 3261?
Addressing the conference, which had a registration of 350 members, Hura explained why he had named his conference ‘Rising 3261’. When he became DGN three years ago, at the “Jaipur Institute, the RI Director said D 3261 is the least performing district; three such districts were named and ours was one. I felt very bad… I asked our PDGs the reason and they said it was because we contribute little to TRF. I said this cannot be a criterion for a social service organisation, to be ranked on giving money.”
But when he talked to the RI Director, “he said: ‘Harjit, do you know how many clubs got citation in your district? Only one out of 70. And that was RC Sambalpur (his own club).
Do you know only 140 of the 2,400 Rotarians in your district have registered on My Rotary? That is why your name is at the bottom.”
Hura said he took this as a challenge; from July 1 when he took over as DG, when only 185 members
from D 3261 were registered on My Rotary, the number has now gone up to 1,000. He gave the credit for this to District Trainer PDG Shambhu Jagatramka, My Rotary Chairman F C Mohanty and webmaster Jatinder Sharma. He had another four months to go and he would take the number up to 2,000.
Hura added that due to a surgery he was out of Rotary activities for 45 days, but “we have worked very hard to improve the parameters in our district.” When he took charge as the DG, five clubs closed, three for not paying their dues “but that was not my fault. Despite all this, we have added 150 members till now, delivering on the membership target promise made to RI Director C Basker.” Both RC Sambalpur Greater and RC Raipur Greater had seen many Rotarians becoming PHFs in a single day.
At the conference, Bansal chartered a new all-women’s club RC Vilaspur Queens “and seeing the energy and enthusiasm they have displayed, I know they will achieve excellence. In keeping with RI President Ian Riseley’s directive to induct more women into Rotary, we are going to open another women’s club — RC Jabalpur Queens. The application has been submitted and the charter will come in a few days. Two Queens’ clubs have been started, three more Queens club are in the pipeline along with five more Rotary clubs. By the time I hand over charge on June 30, I am confident of taking our membership figure higher by 400,” he said amidst applause.
TRF giving looking up
The DG added that even on the TRF front, things were getting better. “From the time our district was formed, and even earlier, we had only six Major Donors — those contributing $10,000 to TRF. “But in just eight months, I made six more, including PDG Vivek Tankha, who was the first person I approached. And I am sure we will get a few more Major Donors at this conference.”
He got four — Sushil Ramdas (RC Raigarh Steel City) Nikhil Dhagat (Raipur Midtown), DGND F C Mohanty and Manjit Singh Arora (RC Rourkela Midtown).
Tanka, “who made such an immense contribution to our district by conducting so many Rahat medical camps and helping eye surgeries of people”, was honoured at the conference with a Legendary Rotarian Award. As he had to go to Nepal with a PMO delegation, his wife Aarti accepted the award and addressed the meet. PDG Shambhu Jagatramka moderated a very interesting session titled Aap ki Adalat and Executive Editor of Aaj Tak channel Sanjay Sinha addressed the meet.
Urging Rotarians to donate liberally to TRF, Hura said, “We need money to do more good in the world. At the Sri Satya Sanjeevani Hospital the cath lab we have put up has reduced the waiting period for children needing surgery from three years to 15–18 months. We are now trying for another global grant to provide an operation theatre at this hospital to further reduce the waiting period for children. Another good project of ours is a dialysis centre in Raipur. We can do a lot more with your help.”
DGE Nikhilesh Trivedi described his experience at the International Assembly and said he was amazed by the discipline and the concise manner in which all the senior RI leaders made their presentations — beginning and ending bang on time. There was a lot of learning there, he added.
Pictures by Rasheeda Bhagat