Just like the chief conductor of an orchestra creates a melodious symphony out of different musical instruments such as flute, violin, bass guitar and tabla, a club president synchronises the divergent views and opinions of members to do good in the world, said RID Mahesh Kotbagi. “Club presidents wield the real power in Rotary as they shape the organisation at its grassroots, whereas RI president, zone directors and district governors can only motivate Rotarians from the top,” he said.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the three-day PETS titled Marumalarchi (Renaissance), hosted by RID 3231 in Chennai, he said, “Rotary is an organisation of volunteers who come together by choice to give money, time and effort for doing good to feel good.” This symphony among Rotarians has led to creation of Happy Schools, hospitals and other facilities that enrich humanity, he said.
Among the 39 RI districts in the country, RID 3231 was the only one to host a PETS after July, well after the new presidents had taken charge of their clubs which was commendable.
When DG Nirmal Raghavan and district trainer PDG C R Chandrabob invited him, he readily accepted, despite “travelling through 12 states in 10 days, because a PETS gives me satisfaction.”
A changed man
During a medical mission camp decades ago, Kotbagi said he came across puny and crippled 7-year-old Pooja. “When I asked her about her dream, she said: My dream in life is to go to a toilet on my own and come back, without anybody’s help.” Jolted by her plight, the doctor arranged two surgeries on the girl in quick succession, after which she was given a wheeled walker. “Seeing her smile as she emerged out of a western toilet on her own with the walker, changed me forever.” Pooja limped up to him with a closed fist, and thrust a chocolate in his mouth, “its sweetness lingered in my mouth for a long time and I consider this feeling (of helping the girl) one of the highest feats of my profession.”
Expressing his delight over a physical meeting after only online meetings and networking through social media, DG Nirmal Raghavan said, “my wife and daughter are excited to stay with over 200 Rotarians, Anns and Annets for three days in this beachside resort as fellowship is back again.” The district has added around 400 new members in the last two months (July-August), of which 200 have registered at the rotary.org portal. He urged club presidents to synchronise their uploaded projects and information with both rotary.org (My Rotary) and rotaryindia.org, besides making optimum use of the Rotary India App.
PDG Chandrabob said each club should sponsor at least one Rotaract club as “Rotaractors are given equal importance after their elevation in the hierarchy. With tremendous growth in the last two months, we can expect clubs to take up big service projects as opportunities open up.” In his address, district club service director and event chair M Rajanbabu exuded confidence that once again “we will see happy days”; District counsellor PDG Sampathkumar urged club presidents to do great service projects.
IPDRR Senthamarai passed the leadership collar to DRR Sujith Raju (21–22) as the new district Rotaract council took charge in the presence of Kotbagi. DG Raghavan told Rotary News that he had conducted Rotary Leadership Institutes for AGs, district secretaries, counsellors and trainers and a third one will be held shortly.
Picture by V Muthukumaran