For pedigree, Rotary Club of Bombay has no dearth. After all, JRD Tata was its member!
And now, his successor at the Tata group, noted industrialist and philanthropist Ratan Tata, an honorary member of the club for over 20 years, has become an Arch Klumph Society member. On June 6, 2017, the cheque was handed over by the Tata Education and Development Trust to past president of the club Nirav Shah on behalf of its Chairman Ratan Tata, making him the fourth AKS member from this club during 2016–17.
Says D 3141 DG Gopal Rai Mandhania, “Under the dynamic leadership of the Club President Dr Mukesh Batra, aided by his team, this club has more than justified its premier status in the district. The news of Honorary Rotarian Ratan Tata becoming an Arch Klumph Society member, has made this the happiest day for me in the year.”
A highly respected doyen of Indian industry such as Ratan Tata becoming an AKS member once again proves the credibility of the good work The Rotary Foundation has been doing for the last 100 years, he said. “That business leaders of the stature of Tata are appreciating the good work Rotary is doing for the betterment of mankind, is a very big statement. It is this work that had made Bill Gates support us for our Polio cause.”
Moreover, added Mandhania, this single club is contributing a record $1 million to TRF during its Centennial year. District 3141’s TRF goal for the year is $2.65 million, he added. And in this, he added, Nirav Shah has played a big role, as he had also motivated his brother-in-law Ajay Piramal to become an AKS member.
The four AKS members co-opted by RC Bombay this year are Ajay Piramal, Manoj Israni, Amit Chandra and now Ratan Tata.
How it happened
Recounting how Tata had been inducted into the distinguished gallery of AKS members, Nirav Shah said that a few months ago he was approached by his friend Nikhil Merchant of Swan Energy, saying that Ratan Tata wanted to see some 500 vintage cars. “I said I would organise that, but in return I wanted an audience with Tata.”
So a meeting was arranged and on March 16, accompanied by DG Mandhania and Akkshay Mehta, TRF Support Avenue Chair, he met Tata and they made a video presentation to him on the grassroots work the Foundation does for community welfare across the world. Tata was very happy with the presentation and praised the good work that Rotary does. It was suggested that he become an AKS member and “Tata promised to think about it. In the next few weeks I kept following on that and finally, with some help from Rtn Manoj Murarkar, another meeting was arranged and the cheque was handed over to us,” says Shah.
He adds that apart from Merchant, Rtn Manoj Murarkar and R Venkatraman, Managing Trustee of Tata Trusts, had played a big role in ensuring that Tata’s AKS contribution for TRF came through a single cheque.
Adds Mandhania, “Words fail me to thank Nirav for his perseverance, passion and commitment for maximising TRF Giving — sleeping with the goal in mind, getting up with it and pursuing it throughout the day has been his motto. Other Rotarians can be motivated and inspired by the efforts, energy and passion he puts into meeting the goals given to him.”