Rotary Club of Madras and Rotary Club of Madras East held a joint meeting, on 26th December 2019, at Taj Connemara, to honour and congratulate the Rotary International President Nominee, Rtn. Shekhar Mehta. It was a well organised event, spearheaded by RC Madras, well attended by both clubs, district officials and Presidents for the year 2021-22.

6:30 Pm saw the beginning of the evening, with a meet and greet along with photo session with RIPN Rtn. Shekar Mehta. The official part of the evening, commenced with the introductions and greeting by the Masters of Ceremony, followed by the collaring of the two Presidents and lighting of the kuthuvillaku by the eminent ladies present there. Vivarthana entertained the gathering with two dances, a Bharatanatyam recital and a traditional fast-paced kuthu dance, midway in the evening.

President Rtn. Dr. Vijaya Bharathi Rangarajan, the 91st President of RC Madras, began the evening with the presidential address, welcoming and congratulating RIPN Rtn. Shekhar Mehta. She briefed the gathering on the good work that RCM has been doing over the years.

Her aim for the year is 3H- Health, Hope and Happiness. Her aim is to help make villages defecation free by building toilets, detecting and treating anemia in children and expectant mothers and First Aid Training, to all those in positions to render first Aid.

Rotary Nagar, constructed in the year 1944, celebrated its Platinum Jubilee. Similarly, the vocational Training centre in Goomudipundi, for the benefit of Women, was started in 1988. A well-ventilated school, for flood affected children, Automotive machinery for training of Special Needs children- Provide the much-needed Hope.

Happiness comes in the form of better schools and E-learning facilities, to enable children to dream big. Lake restoration projects for a happier and healthier environment.

This was followed by RCME’s President Rtn. Gopalakrishnan’s address. He expounded on the various projects of the club including our signature projects like Annai Satya Nagar, Winners Bakery, Mobile blood Bank and Cancer Screening Buses, Vocational Excellence Centre and Project BETI

He displayed to RIPN Rtn. Mehta, that even though we are a relatively young club of 35 years, RCME, has held its own in term of projects and contribution to the society, and stayed true to the spirit of Rotary. President Gopal extrapolated the sustainability of RCME’s projects. He highlighted the impacts of projects over the years and number of lives RCME has touched. The presentation included the visit of Past RI President, Rtn. Barry Rassin to the inauguration of our ReBuild25 project.

He went on to explain the role of RCME in the field of education and health. He touched upon projects, such as the CNC machines donated to Ramakrishna Mission, Project Puthri-to bring about career intentionality amongst 500 girl children in 5 schools in 5 years. He also spoke about our involvement with Tanker foundation, to provided free dialysis to the poor.

Of course, our two signature projects, the Terry Fox Run, with over 15000 participants to raise funds for cancer research and the PHCC Cricket Carnival, with over 200 Rotarians participating over a course of a month in the avenue of club service.

Rtn. Chandramohan, District Governor 3232, felicitated RIPN Rtn. Shekhar Mehta. In his delivery, he spoke about the extensiveness of RIPN Rtn. Sekhar Mehta’s work in avenues of literacy, water and sanitation, lake restoration.

He, on behalf of RI District 3232, promised a full and unconditional support to his vision. He promised to stand together in India’s fight against poverty. He also thanked RIPN. Rtn. Mehta, for acknowledging RI District 3232, as one of the best districts in Rotary.

PDG PT Prabakar came forward to congratulate RIPN Rtn. Sekhar Mehta. In his felicitation, he explained the process involved in the selection of RI President. This year saw 4 nominees for the post. Rtn. Sekhar Mehta was the fourth to be interviewed. The question that set him apart from his contenders is as follows

Question: Where do you see rotary in 5 years?

Rtn. Sekhar Mehta: Winning the Nobel Prize for the work that Rotary has done towards eradicating Polio. After all it’s the second disease to be eradicated in a history spanning 400 years.

PDG PT Prabakar called RIPN. Rtn. Shekar Mehta, a hard worker, a visionary and a team player. And most aptly the “Kohinoor of the Indian Rotary”.

“How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?”

_ From Sound of Music

This is how PDG Krishnan V Chari, started his felicitation. What do with a man like RIPN Rtn. Sekhar Mehta? He sleeps after 12 and wakes up before 3. He travels the world and demand you find 3000 students to benefit under his literacy initiative!

He has touched avenues from health care to Literacy Mission, which has captured the imagination of every Rotarian in India. It was, he went to say, a one of a kind project of an unimaginable magnitude, where rotary clubs across the country came together to eradicate the disease of illiteracy.

PDG. Chari called RIPN Rtn. Sekhar Mehta, a cool and a collected man. A man capable of taking up bold and audacious projects. He assured the complete support of RI District 3232.

“Education is the most powerful Weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

PDG JB Kamdar, introduced the project Asha Kiran, which has benefited 5000 school dropout children till date. The contribution towards a single child is Rs.2500/-. RCM and RCME both contributed a sum of Rs. 1,00,000(Rupees one lakh only) each towards the project. It also saw private contributions from PDG Rtn Sridhar contributing Rs.50,000/-, President Rtn. Vijaya Bharati contributing Rs. 25,000/-, PDG JB Kamdar himself with a contribution of Rs. 1,00,000, and finally our own PDG. Rtn. Tarachand Dugar donating Rs. 25,000 to the worthwhile cause.

“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water” – Benjamin Franklin

You can call it a one man show! Rtn. P N Mohan has been involved in the lake restoration drive and has already restored lake measuring 60 acres. It has not only benefited close to 50,000 people but has also increase the water table level in the surrounding areas. He went on to say that the happiness of the people is heart-warming, and they express their gratitude to the Rotary. As a signature project of RC Madras, the RIPN Rtn. Shekar Mehta, has the pleasure of visiting the project.

His next restoration project is a 150-acre lake in Madambakkam at an estimated cost of Rs.1.5 crores. He said he was falling short of Rs. 45 lakhs and graciously PP. Rtn. Vinod Sarogi and his son Rahul Sarogi came forward to fill the gap by handing over a cheque for the same.

“Alone we can do so Little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller                                                                                                           ……To be continued