I am happy to say that I am also a Rotarian. Rotary has put me on a higher trajectory ever since I connected with it. I will cherish this great moment, being here on this momentous occasion.”
With these words Jagdeep Dhankhar, the Governor of West Bengal, addressed a gathering of 4,000 Rotarians from across 32 countries, inaugurating the Centennial Summit held recently in Kolkata.
Dhankhar was an advocate when Justice B P Beri took him as a guest to a Rotary club meeting. “Hailing from a small village in Rajasthan, the experience was overwhelming for me, but I was very much impressed,” he said, and recalled his association with PRID Sudarshan Agarwal in the 90s. “He guided me and I learnt the parliamentary practices from him. It was due to his efforts we had invited Sabooji (PRIP Rajendra Saboo) to the Parliament. I was a federal minister then. The moment is still vivid before my eyes.”
Dhankhar continued his address with more thoughts about Rotary and its humanitarian programmes and quotes from the President’s message column published in Rotary News. He highlighted a thought from RI President Mark Maloney’s message — “In Rotary, none of us is an island. All of us are in Rotary together, whoever we are, wherever we are from, whatever language we speak or traditions we follow. We are all connected to one another — part of our communities and members not only of our clubs, but also of the global community to which we all belong.”
The philosophy of Rotary is a mirror reflection of our country’s age-old civilisation. The focus areas and the Four-way test have a great similarity with our values, he observed and hailed RIPN Mehta on his new assignment.
“When he had called on me earlier, he promised that Rotary will sponsor 50 heart surgeries for children in honour of my visit to the summit. I was pleasantly surprised because this is the first time someone has come to give me something rather than take something,” he said amidst applause.
He recognised Rotary’s contribution for making India polio-free and thanked Rotarians for executing various welfare measures for the people. “We need more such hands to serve humanity and work for the uplift of people world over,” said Dhankhar and assured his unstinted support for Rotarians “as a foot soldier whenever you need my services”.