Jiving to A R Rahman’s magical tunes in discos or private parties gives people a dizzy high. But imagine a venue packed with 50,000 plus youngsters, all charged up with national fervour as they hold over their heads, placards in the three vibrant colours — saffron, white and green, about to create a Guinness record for the largest human flag formation in the world. And then infuse into this setting the very special Rahman number: Vande mataram!
A gigantic cheer went up from the youngsters, even as they had to remain still for five whole minutes in order to create this record. The first attempt failed — four minutes of their intense effort went waste as the Guinness adjudicator present — Seyda Subasi Gemici declined giving them this title, as the “whites” in the flag had moved! Another effort, this time more serious, paid the required dividend and the event got the record of the world’s largest human flag — a patriotic public image initiative of RI District 3230.
This great moment was celebrated by the organisers — RI District 3230 and News 7, a TV channel — by unleashing the international favourite Rahman number Jai Ho. This time the crowd of 43,836 erupted, and Rotary leaders on the dais threw up their hands in jubilation, cheered and clapped to celebrate their victory. RI Director
P T Prabhakar said, “It doesn’t happen every day. We’ve made history. I am delighted.”
“You are heroes. You are amazing. Now you are Officially Amazing,” said RI President Gary Huang congratulating the participants. He lauded the efforts of Rotarians of D3230 saying, “It’s not easy to organise an event with thousands of people. This great project has created awareness among the younger generation to love their country, their flag and their community and in turn promote good for the country.”
The earlier record was that of Pakistan with 28,957 people.
Responding to the call of RI President to host a Rotary Day, RI District 3230 began its preparation for the event 10 months ago. “We mobilised people from colleges and corporate firms over a period of time. We had a set of architects who planned this,” said DG ISAK Nazar. He also reminded the audience that “India is polio-free thanks to Rotary.”
Watching the crowd assemble on the ground, Gemici said, “It’s amazing to see so many people come together and patiently waiting to demonstrate their solidarity.” Describing the whole event as “exciting,” the adjudicator who prefers “dosa and dal soup (sambar)” to idli said, “Each country must create this record.” RI Director Larry A Lunsford said, “ To start my first day ever in India with such an experience is an incredible privilege. The entire Rotary family in India should be so proud of this exemplary public image.”
From participants fainting on the ground and Rotarians rushing to the rescue, Adjudicator Gemici holding out a chair for a journalist, countless selfies, with over a thousand participants waiting to be part of the flag formation (many fighting to get in) … amidst the cacophony,
‘Rotary My Flag My India’ emerged a big winner. Chairman of the event Rtn Mohan Raghavan thanked “Rotarians, Rotaractors, Event manager Quanta-G, News 7 and all the volunteers for making the event a grand success.”
Adjudicator Seyda Subasi Gemici declaring India ‘Officially Amazing.’ Also seen in the picture (L to R) PDG A P Kanna, RID P T Prabhakar, DG ISAK Nazar, Actor Sarath Kumar, RIP Gary Huang, Corinna Huang and Rotary Day Chairman Rtn Mohan Raghavan.
Pride and awe
by Rtn V Ramani
Those who witnessed the humungous event were awestruck and overwhelmed with pride to witness this world record that will be cherished forever not just for the incredible numbers that formed the largest ever human flag, but also the spirit with which the event was successfully organised.
DG ISAK Nazar conceived and executed this mega PR event on a gigantic scale. “I was convinced that instead of doing many small PR exercises, the larger objective would be better served by organising a massive public image event to draw national and international attention,” he said.
It would provide an opportunity to highlight Rotary’s commitment to the community and global service projects like Polio eradication, and spark interest among institutions and corporates to actively associate with Rotary, Nazar said, adding, “Increased membership and contributions to The Rotary Foundation would be the logical corollary and additional benefits.”
The masterstroke was choosing the largest human national flag formation ever, as it would appeal to everybody, evoke patriotic fervour, positive emotions and a sense of pride. On December 7, National Flag Day, we pay tribute to our armed forces. Planning began 10 months earlier, overseen by RI Director PT Prabhakar and senior Rotarians such as IPDG AP Kanna, Chairman Mohan Raghavan, Joseph Raja, E David, R Ramesh, Ganapathi Suresh, VC Kannan, Neelakantan, Vikas Chandra, Dr A Sangaran and R Tamilselvan.
Presence of RIP Gary Huang, First Lady Corinna, RI Directors Larry and Prabhakar, President of Nadigar Sangam Sarath Kumar, Vice Chancellor of Madras University R Thandavan added lustre to the event.
The record set, a collective roar erupted along with chants of ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai.’