Sydney - Australia Australia’s largest, oldest, most cosmopolitan and exciting city has a style of its own. Endowed with natural beauty, a dynamic dining scene, an equal love of culture, the arts and sport, exuberant spirit and near perfect climate, Sydney is one of the world’s most unforgettable places to explore. No wonder it has been voted the World’s Best City time and again by the Conde Nast Traveler Readers Choice Awards. Sydney is Australia’s iconic face to the world. Known as the harbour city, Sydney is home to the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour. The city has the rare talent of combining excellent business facilities with great leisure options and today attracts the majority of business travellers to Australia. Thanks to the city’s vibrant mix of cultures, every possible taste is catered for. Fresh produce is in abundant supply and with Sydney’s jaw-dropping geographical harbour assets, it is not difficult to feast the eyes and stomach simultaneously. Sydney’s climate is one of its biggest allures and with an abundance of other outstanding natural assets — national parks, botanic gardens, pristine waterways and plenty of green space, there are endless ways to enjoy the outdoors in Sydney after business activities. There is also a wide range of leisure pursuits to choose from such as championship golf courses, whale watching cruises in season, scenic coastal walks, surfing and cycling tours. Whether you’re a first time visitor, or have visited Sydney countless times before, the city’s energy is contagious, and there is always something new to explore. Look beyond the city centre and you’ll find a treasure trove of unique Sydney villages. From Surry Hills, to Leichardt, Parramatta to Manly, these villages are home to emerging design talent; multicultural diversity, which is showcased in authentic cuisine and vibrant community spirit; favourite neighbourhood cafes and historical landmarks. Experience Sydney like a local by checking out the latest restaurant, visiting a local gallery in Paddington, feasting on a typical pub meal, or nibble as you shop at one of the many weekend markets. The choices are endless.
10 must-dos in Sydney 1
CLIMB the Sydney Harbour Bridge on a BridgeClimb Sydney experience, for a stunning 360-degree view of the harbour city.
TOUR the Sydney Opera House behind-the-scenes to look at this World Heritage-listed marvel or enjoy a star-studded performance.
STROLL along the famous Bondi to Bronte coastal walk, taking in the spectacular views of beaches and parks, as well as the carvings by the local Indigenous people.
SEE Australia’s native animals as well as rare and endangered species from around the world at Taronga Zoo, positioned right on the harbour.
SHOP up a storm — enjoy the luxury labels and leading department stores in the CBD, venture to the beachside weekend markets for trinkets and emerging designers or head out to the designer outlets or Paddies Markets for souvenirs and bargains.
FLY to lunch on a seaplane and admire the city’s stunning harbour and the awe-inspiring sandstone cliffs along the coastline from the air.
EXPERIENCE a guided walking tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens, where the original inhabitants of Sydney gathered ingredients for food and medicine.
PICK arts or sport and attend a performance by the Sydney Dance Company, Sydney Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Theatre, or Opera Australia under the Opera House sails. For avid sports fans, Sydney’s leading sports venues are crammed full of cricket, soccer, rugby union, rugby league, AFL, basketball — the hard part is making a choice!
EAT at one of Australian Gourmet Traveller’s Top 100 Restaurants for 2013. Sydney is home to 41 of them, so treat your tastebuds to some of Australia’s freshest produce, cooked to perfection by the stars of the culinary scene.
PLUNGE into the water at Bondi Beach, the most celebrated beach in Australia with its golden sands, great surf and stylish restaurants.
Each year an internationally eminent person in the science world is invited to address the British scientific community at the Zuckerman Lecture, named after Lord Zuckerman, a distinguished scientist who was at the heart of British science for over 60 years. In 2003, Dr. R.A. Mashelkar, the leading architect of India’s science and technology policies was invited to deliver the Lecture at the Royal Society, London. Transcript of his acclaimed address is reproduced in these pages. (Continued from the previous issue) Building Indigenous Technological Capacity
The critical factors which help in building indigenous technological capacity are shown schematically in Fig.1. These factors include a conducive policy environment, entrepreneurship, promotion of a culture of innovation, access to technology through international technology transfer, endowment that is achieved through an educated and skilled work force, and finally a thrust on indigenous efforts involving ‘learning by doing.’ The critical role paid by many of these factors is too obvious to need further elaboration. However, the importance of a conducive policy environment is not that obvious. Let me illustrate its importance. A policy environment influences the innovative capacity of the firms, the society and indeed that of the nation as a whole. Let me illustrate this by a striking example from India. As I stand here in London, I am reminded of the way the car industry has changed in India over the years. In the last fifty years, the wheel has turned the full 46 ROTARY NEWS JULY 2013
Indigenous Technological Capacity
Learning by Doing Fig.1
circle. It was British Morris Oxford, which was sold as an Indian Ambassador on Indian roads some fifty years ago. Today it is an Indian Indica, i.e., an Indian car, designed and built in India that is being sold as City Rover on London roads! This transformation was entirely due to a policy change. I remember the legendary Indian industry leader JRD Tata saying in desperation in February 1978 that Telco, which was his company, was
not allowed to develop a car. It was only in July 1991, that India changed its industrial policy by liberalisation and opening up. It was in 1993 that Ratan Tata, who succeeded JRD Tata, was allowed to make a car. He gave this challenge to 700 engineers, who had never designed a car before in their life. He spent only one-tenth of what major auto manufacturers would have invested to design and develop a new Indian car, Indica that was world class.
The creative ability of his 700 engineers from Telco was always there for all to see, but it got ‘expressed’ only when the government policy changed through opening up and liberalisation. Creativity gets nurtured in a flexible, competitive and dynamic economic environment. In a developing country context, this means building on reforms that emphasise openness to new ideas, new products and new investments. For instance, telecommunication laws that favour government monopolies will isolate countries from global network and retard growth. The recent experience in India has shown that competition among providers of information and communications technology has led to increased investment, increased connectivity and better service. It has also heralded the age of new technological breakthroughs. But only open markets and competition will not be enough. Expanding human skills to meet the challenge of relentless technological change becomes critical. Advanced skills developed in secondary and tertiary schools become increasingly important. Vocational and on-the-job training becomes important. For firms to remain productive and competitive, they will have to make massive investments in building the quality of human capital. Then only can the indigenous technological capacity be sustained at adequate levels. Consider now the impact of international technology transfer on indigenous technological capacity shown in Fig. 1. Facilitating the access of the third world countries to technologies required by them constitutes one of the key elements in accelerating the pace of their economic and social development. Such access is generally the result of licenses and technology transfer agreements. The prospective technology seekers in developing countries face serious
difficulties in their commercial dealings with technology holders in the developed countries. These difficulties arise for a variety of reasons. Some arise from the imperfections of the market for technology. Some are attributed to the relative lack of experience and skill of enterprises and institutions in developing countries in concluding adequate legal arrangements for the acquisition of technology. Some arise due to government practices, both legislative and administrative, in both developed and developing countries, which influence the implementation of national policies and procedures designed to encourage the flow of technology to, and its acquisition by developing countries. There are concrete examples to show that technology transfers to the developing world have not taken place when they were needed most. The ‘1990 Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer’ ran into conflicts over commitments to ensure fair and favourable access for developing countries to chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) substitutes protected by intellectual property
rights. The 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity aims to ensure fair and equitable use of genetic resources partly through technology cooperation, but its technological provisions have received little attention. The 1994 TRIPS Agreement calls for technology transfer to the least developed countries, yet that provision has scarcely been translated into action. There are additional difficulties too. Scientifically advanced developing nations are not necessarily considered as a bottomless pit of demands by the firms in the developed world any more. Technology buyers from such countries are being seen as potential competitors in the world market. Therefore technology sales are being conditioned with marketing territory restrictions. The age of straightforward technology licensing agreements is also over. It is giving way to technology-cum-market, technology-cum-stake holding, technology-cum-product swap, etc. Technology is available to a buyer only if it fits in with the supplier’s global scheme. The most important factor in developing indigenous technological capacity in Fig. 1 is that of ‘learning by doing.’ This requires investment in local R & D. Some developing nations have remained mere ‘assemblers’ rather than becoming ‘smart assimilators.’ Japan is a classical case in point. It invested heavily in international technology transfer, but then moved forward aggressively through strong local R & D to create globally competitive products. Cleverly designed national policies do stimulate this drive towards ‘learning by doing.’ Innovative ways of linking universities and industry, creating fiscal incentives to promote R & D by private firms, venture capital financing etc. are just some of the proven ways to promote this process. (Continued…) JULY 2013
ROTARY NEWS 47
alking about cricket an ardent fan said, “This gentleman player here is an absolute freak!” A critic said, “I feel that they (players and spectators) are mentally retarded people. There is a mental problem with them. They don’t know how to wear their clothes and how to behave in a civilised manner.” Notwithstanding what is said, cricket has become a passionate game in South Asian countries. When Rotarians play cricket, they play seriously but the atmosphere becomes hilarious. That is what the South Asia Rotary Cricket tournament was all about. Playing cricket in the high grounds of Munnar TATA Club gives a wonderful feeling for all the players. The 108year-old club and its facilities were thrown open to Rotarians. The setting was perfect, climate was cool and the ambience at 5,000 feet at Munnar, Kerala, was exhilarating. Rain did not play spoilsport and the mild sunshine was a treat to the players and spectators. 48 ROTARY NEWS JULY 2013
The fireside evenings and parties were also there and the only ones missing on the field were the colourful cheerleaders. There was a refreshing sound of music for every boundary hit. The spectators who were feasting on sandwiches and hot tea could not have asked for any other setting. The South Asia Rotary Cricket Tournament was conducted in style by PDG Sunil Zacharia as part of the Fellowship of Cricket Loving Rotarians. The concept of the tournament came from initiatives taken by PRIP Kalyan Banerjee and PRID K.R. Ravindran was the Convenor. Inaugurating the high voltage tournament in the high altitudes, PRIP Kalyan Banerjee wished the teams that had assembled from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and from India a great excitement. The tournament which commenced on May 8, 2013 concluded on May 10, 2013 and showed that what needs to be ‘fixed’ was only the lasting friendship between the citizens of the
South Asian countries. It was unfortunate that the team from Pakistan could not get the visas to travel to India. Lanka Lions, Bangladesh Tigers, India Dare Devils, India Super Kings, Indian Warriors and Indian Challengers were the teams that donned the beautiful colours and they entertained the audience thoroughly. The three day extravaganza had to be held in Kerala since Sri Lankans had to field a team and the organisers did not wish to risk holding it in the neighbouring state. Probably this state of mind is what needs to be addressed on priority if South Asians should live as one group like the European Union. The visa regime, trade barriers and the trust deficit amongst the countries can all be eased if the peace loving public put the required pressure on the political class. Winning the Paul Harris Cup, the India Dare Devils did show the other teams that they were made of sterner mettle, especially when it came to bowling and fielding at high altitudes. Challenging them for the cup were the India Super Kings, whose slow start put them at a disadvantage. The award for fair play was won by Bangladesh Tigers. DG Rajkumar, DGE Ajay Kumar and DGN Venugopala Menon from 3201 were ably assisted by a host of Rotarians who made sure that the Tea County Resort became a vibrant cricketing hub for two days in the otherwise silent Munnar Hills. TRF Trustee Ashok Mahajan, who presided over the prize distribution function said that he thought that he had come to Munnar missing the sound and roar of the ongoing IPL matches but seeing the Rotarians play with equal stamina, he was happy that he had made a good choice. Professional running commentary was available and PRID K.R. Ravindran
A match in progress.
Above: PRIP Kalyan Banerjee inaugurating the match.
was interviewing the spectators with equal enthusiasm. When asked what induced me to come to Munnar, I nearly said that it was to escape the heat of Chennai, but somehow managed to say that the evergreen Kittu of 3230, the Chair of the IFCR India Chapter, had prevailed upon me to come there.
Prizes for the best fielder, best wicket keeper, best bowler, best batsman and man of the match and man of the series were awarded giving the entire event a touch of class. Though the bowlers were bowling at good speed, more of love and affection was visible in each delivery.
It is for the Rotarians of these countries to be dedicated to the great task of building friendships amongst people in South Asia through sports. From the honoured deed of bringing people together, Rotarians must take increased devotion to the cause of world peace for which they have joined Rotary. Sports, as a medium of friendship, can resolve many issues when it is seen as a sport and not as an arena to fight or destroy an opponent. Cricket is going through a troubled phase in India and probably the professionals in South Asia may feel the heat. But cricket in this nation shall have a new birth. The cricket of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this region. Rtn. T.K. Balakrishnan JULY 2013
ROTARY NEWS 49
Mr. All-in-All Alaguraj is an imaginary filmy character in the Tamil cinemas. He is generally considered a ‘jack of all trades.’ Come July 2013, over 3,400 Rotary clubs in India will have a new President and many of them may end up being burnt out by trying to be an all-in-all person. It is not that most of them want to do everything by themselves. As a President-elect said, “There are only 22 members in our club. I have been thrust with this post after resisting for four years. Though I have put together a team for the sake of the district directory, I know that at the end of the day I’ll end up doing everything.” Well, if this is the case Presidents who are pushed to that position or who want to be everywhere have something to cheer about. It is their willingness to awaken their inner leadership instincts, which is showing now that is important. Such people dare to find their own path. Great leaders in Rotary and elsewhere have said, “You have to trust in something — your guts, your destiny or whatever, but have 50 ROTARY NEWS JULY 2013
trust in yourself.” This approach will never let anyone down and will make all the difference in their life. The first few months will be filled with emails and literatures about what to do in every avenue of service including TRF contributions and myriad other matters including collecting the annual subscriptions from members and settling hotel bills. The hurdles may seem insurmountable. What can be comforting to know is the fact that they are not alone. Rotarians have become great by observation, experimentation and application of mind. Ultimately being a club President is not an atomic science. The membership development committee may rarely succeed in getting a new person. The President will have to play the role of a ‘membership developer.’ Some leaders are driven by a particular idea or passion about bringing in new people into the club. Their ideas may be different, ahead of time sometimes. Nevertheless, worth trying. It is said that the stomach may be empty, but a person should still have fire in his belly to succeed. A President has no option but to get up and keep walking. Those who fail, walk more towards the bar. That is the difference. For a successful tenure as a President, people should keep learning. That way they will keep growing. The leaders of Rotary in every district are ready to inspire, to educate and guide the Rotarians who ask for help. People who take up responsibilities in Rotary clubs remain satisfied with it because they do not know their capabilities. Leaders of Rotary clubs need to know that they are in that position to help others in the club to give even more of their life to help the people in the community. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” Communicating with the district administration, RISA Office, partners-in-service, global partners and things like that consumes time and needs to be accurate. If the leader’s style is not compatible then he or she can miserably fail. However, if it is different and refreshing,
then they can take their communication to a completely different level and people may like it. Such people stand out in Rotary. The do-it-all attitude can drive a person quite a bit in life — it will be like self-learning. Some of these lone rangers say that in hindsight, what
ROTARY NEWS 51
seemed as a setback in not getting other members to co-operate fully was actually just the push they needed to try something new and to stretch their limits. Rotary actually teaches teamwork. With that attitude, anything is possible in a club. As the tasks mentioned above can be normally done by the President, the purpose of the club is not to make it a one-person show. It is supposed to be a club with others in it â€” to do good. Doing all the administrative tasks of the club well singlehandedly does not make the President a popular person. He or she fails to see their limitations and find out what they are really good at. The one simple advice for the all-in-alls is that for any big achievement you need devoted people with you. Resistance or debate is not dissent in a club. In a club, people will criticise the President if he or she persists with their opinion and style of functioning. However, if they are able to show that the group can succeed together in a chosen mission then the others will follow. If the leader is trying to do something new, first of all they should believe in it. Otherwise, they should not do it because they will not be able to stick to it. The Club Leadership Plan as envisaged by Rotary International basically teaches teamwork. It is not just a succession plan. To implement that plan and to make it work, the club leaders have to care more than others for the club. They need to risk more than the others and
52 ROTARY NEWS JULY 2013
dream more than what the others think is practical. They need to expect more than what others think is possible. Regardless of what the leader does within the club, the single most important fact is that they have to show their skills in leadership. That skill will be attained only when they involve all the members in all the club activities. This skill can be learned and once mastered, can transform their life and the world around them in the process. Rtn. T.K. Balakrishnan
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rgan transplantation is one of the greatest miracles of the last century. It has resulted in many patients getting a renewed lease of life. Organ donation is the process of removing tissues or organs from a live, naturally dead and brain-dead person to be used in another to sustain his/her life. Organ donation and transplants is governed by Transplant of Human Organ Act (THOA) promulgated in 1994 and has been recently amended in 2011. The Act aims to regulate removal, storage and transplantation of human organs for therapeutic purposes and to prevent commercial dealings in organs. Organs can be obtained from live donors — related or unrelated. Live related donors have to be necessarily first degree blood relatives who include grand-parents, parents, siblings, spouse, children and grand-children. The other category includes other relatives or a well-wisher who donates organs on humanitarian grounds. In the latter case the transplant has to be cleared by a State Government Authorised Committee, to rule out any commercial dealing in the process. Live donors can never meet the huge number of organs required for transplant. The other and only source is deceased/cadaver but more specifically brain-dead person. A single organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people by donating the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and intestines. Tissue donors can improve lives of more than 50 people. Sometimes eyes and other tissues are recovered for research purposes. This type of donation has the potential to benefit generations to come, as researchers work to find the causes and cures for a variety of medical conditions. 56 ROTARY NEWS JULY 2013
What is brain death? The term brain death is defined as “irreversible unconsciousness with complete loss of brain function.” The usual causes of brain death are head injury, haemorrhage (bleeding inside the brain), drowning, poisoning, drug overdose, etc. The condition is usually confused with ‘coma’ in which case the brain is functional. A head trauma, mostly as a result of road accidents, bleeding in the brain from aneurysm, or prolonged cardiac arrest, deprives the brain of oxygen causing the brain tissue to swell. This leads to build up of pressure which ultimately results in brain death. Even while the heart is still beating and supplying blood to the rest of the body, blood that carries oxygen cannot reach the brain or the brain stem, which controls heart rate and breathing. The result is that the brain and the person is practically dead. This fact can be hard to accept, particularly when a patient might look very much alive to family members. Brain-dead people often have a heartbeat, and their chests may rise and fall with the help of a ventilator, sometimes giving hope to grieving families that the person may suddenly wake up. This unfortunately is not possible. Declaring someone brain dead involves no subjective or arbitrary judgments. Brain death is a clinical, measurable condition duly accepted by the law as per THOA. Electroencephalogram (EEG) of a person who is brain-dead shows no electrical activity, and injection of mild radio-active isotopes into the brain reveals absolute absence of blood circulation. The pupils do not respond to light, there is absence of ‘gag’ reflex, no blinking when a cotton swab is run
across the eye balls. Any painful pinch does not elicit response. These are the common tests which are normally carried out in an ICU. However, to ascertain legal pronunciation of brain death, additional tests have to be performed to confirm the diagnosis, especially if there are chances of the family agreeing to donate the organs. In the event of family consenting to organ donation, brain death certification is a must and is carried out by a panel of two doctors from the hospital and two from the panel of names approved by the appropriate authority. This panel necessarily includes a neurologist/neurosurgeon.
Procedure for organ donation: Organ transplant hospitals have trained Transplant Coordinators (TC). Whenever there is a brain-dead patient, the TC will initiate the procedure by talking to the nearest relative, who would in turn discuss the matter with others in the family. In India the decision of organ donation is usually collective. The request for organ donation is made in the time interval between the diagnosis of brain death and discontinuation of the ventilator support. If the relatives agree the process of organ donation is started.
Organs which can be donated: Donated corneas and the white part of the eye called the sclera help restore sight in people with damaged eyes. Transplanted bones, connective tissues, lungs, heart, heart valves and kidneys can give a fresh lease of life for the affected individuals. Patients with intestinal failure receive intravenous feedings, which can result in liver damage over the long
term, and would need combined liverintestine transplants. Pancreas transplant is essential for cancer-affected or insulin-dependent diabetics. Donated skin is used for treating burns-patients and in certain reconstructive surgeries. A condition called arterial insufficiency, common in people with diabetes, can lead to amputation of a limb. Using a donated vein, a surgeon can re-establish circulation in the affected limb and save it. Donated veins are also used in heart bypass surgery and in kidney dialysis. Organ donors are living proof — that death can bring life, that sorrow can turn to hope, and that a terrible loss can become the greatest gift of all. While death is an inevitable end of all lives, the organs of such people can continue to support life in other people, who are in a desperate need for the organs. This very idea that the deceased will continue to exist in not one but several people can be heartening to the bereaved family. Although organ shortage is a global problem there is sufficient awareness on the subject in the developed world, hence the rate of organ donation is reasonable. Asia, however, lags behind much of the rest of the world. Organ donation is still a relatively fledgling concept in India, and people are still grappling its moral, social, religious and other implications in the Indian context. With a population of over a billion, brain-dead donors are just about 50 every year (0.05/million). However, if we can improve the rate to 2/million, we could do away with live kidney donors and the scandals associated with it. At 3/million, we could take care of all SAARC countries’ demand for organs. We in India, at present, may not be able to compare our economic progress with some of our Western counterparts, but even countries in the second league like Poland and Hungary have an organ donation rate of 6/million. Even a conservative society of Turkey has an organ donation rate of 1.5/million. Kuwait has relatively high rates of organ donation when compared with other Middle Eastern countries. It is heartening to know around 25 percent
of the families of deceased individuals in Kuwait give their consent when contacted to donate their loved ones’ organs to save others’ lives. Surely Indians should not lag behind given into our very open culture. According to WHO, India has the highest number of deaths from road accidents — the most common cause of brain death. The foremost requirement is awareness. Anywhere between two and three million Indians may have died in the last five years because they could not get an organ transplant. Every 13 minutes a person is added to the waiting list of organ recipient. Every day 17 lose the fight. It is paradoxical that a country like ours, with a billion-plus population, should have shortage of organs for transplantation. As our age expectancy is ever increasing, organ diseases and problems like diabetes — one of the main causes of kidney failure — are expected to rise, creating even greater demand for organ donations. It is estimated that the annual requirement of kidneys in India is about
two lakhs, but just about 5,000 kidney transplants are taking place. Rotary clubs can play a very vital role in improving the cadaver organ donation scenario. To begin with we can start with Organ Donation Awareness campaign in our respective areas. Clubs can team up with government and non-government agencies. Mohan Foundation is one such NGO that has been promoting organ donation since 1997, and helps people understand what it entails — the rewards, the fears and the process. Rotarians should themselves pledge to donate organs and carry organ donation consent on their identity card. They can display on hoardings, banners, distribute printout for cars, and organise audio-visual talks, organ donation poster/painting/ writing competition which will entice students to go into the depth of the subject. Rtn. Sqn. Ldr. Dr. Ravi Wankhede Chairman, RI District 3030 Organ Donation Awareness Committee JULY 2013
ROTARY NEWS 57
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MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
Setting goals for a great year I am excited as we move into the new Rotary year. While Rotary remains constant at the core, our clubs and districts have new leaders, and we’ve set new goals for the year ahead. For 2013–14, we have four goals for The Rotary Foundation: eradicate polio, build ownership and pride in our Foundation, launch our new grant model, and engage in innovative projects. Our first goal is familiar to each of you: We must make our dream of a poliofree world real. Polio eradication is long, hard work, but when we have finished this job, we will have achieved something wonderful — and lasting. This brings us to our second goal: building ownership and pride in our Foundation. The success of PolioPlus is due, in no small part, to the generosity of Rotarians all over the world who have contributed to the PolioPlus Fund. And why do Rotarians keep giving to the PolioPlus Fund? Because they see that their generosity has a real, lasting impact on the lives of others. Our third goal will help us move into a successful future after polio is eradicated. This goal is to successfully launch our new grant model and put our Future Vision Plan into practice worldwide. The simplified grant structure has made it easier for clubs to apply for Foundation grants, and we have already seen the benefits of focusing our monetary efforts on sustainable projects. Lastly, our fourth goal for the coming Rotary year is to engage in innovative projects and creative partnerships that help build a more just and peaceful world. Without our Foundation, many of the world’s children would be without hope. Your leadership over the next year will provide that hope. May your efforts Engage Rotary, Change Lives.
Dong Kurn (D.K.) Lee Foundation Trustee Chair JULY 2013 ROTARY NEWS 59
Some See Medicine Rotary Sees LIFE W
hen PRIP Rajendra K. Saboo drew the path-breaking blue print for Rotary Medical Missions, it gave a new meaning to the word, ‘healthcare,’ taking medical care to the cash-strapped ailing masses, even beyond borders. Rotarians have been passionate about healthcare camps that would take medical aid to the doorsteps of the impoverished and the hitherto unreachable. These missions have become such invaluable programmes especially for the rural people living below poverty line struggling for better and easy access to healthcare and services, and for those in the remote parts of the lands where medical care is few and far between. Several disorders have been cured and several lives have been saved through these medical camps providing the gift of good health to thousands of people. Project RAHAT is a similar initiative of PRIP Rajendra Saboo, PRIP Kalyan Banerjee and PDG Vivek Tankha, RI District 3260 to specially address the medical needs of thousands of poor patients living in the tribal and remote regions. RAHAT is the acronym for Rotary’s Active Hands Are Touching and indeed the Rotarian doctors and volunteers are stretching their hands to the most underdeveloped areas where medical facilities are almost nil and people are living in dire poverty. The Urdu word, ‘rahat,’ translates as ‘succour’ or ‘relief’ in English. These medical camps most certainly bring succour to the suffering population of the area. 60 ROTARY NEWS JULY 2013
Initiated in March 2010, the first of this mega medical camp (Project RAHAT) was hosted by Rotary clubs of RI District 3260 at Mandla in Madhya Pradesh where nearly 50,000 patients were treated. The subsequent two RAHAT medical missions were conducted by the Rotary clubs of RI District 3040 with support from RI Districts 3060 and 3080 at Chhindwara and Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Vidisha, a town 56 km from the state capital, Bhopal was chosen as the site for conducting the fourth medical camp under Project RAHAT. This was also convened by RI District 3040 under the chairmanship of DG Lokendra Papalal and convener,
PDG Ravi Prakash Langer. The project was supported by Rotary District 3060, RC Ancona-conero, RI District 2090, Italy and The Rotary Foundation. The uniqueness of the RAHAT missions is that all these medical camps were conducted in backward areas where the standard of living is at the lowest and medical facilities is almost nil. Vidisha is also no different. Situated in the fork of the Betwa and Bes rivers, Vidisha lies on the Vindhyachal Plateau, off the main Vindhyachal Range and is just 10 km from Sanchi. The ancient town was governed by Emperor Ashoka and was immortalised by poet Kalidasa in his Meghdoot. Today, the people of Vidisha live in abject poverty so much so that they do not even have proper clothes to cover themselves; the households lack proper toilet facilities nor do they have piped water connections; infant mortality rate is high here and functional literacy is at its lowest. Project RAHAT was conducted for five days from March 6–10, 2013 at Vidisha. Government support also was at its best at the camp. Vidisha is the home constituency of the Chief Minister, Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan. He took personal interest in the medical
The ‘Project RAHAT’ team at Vidisha.
Beneficiaries at the camp site. Right: (L to R) DG Lokendra Papalal, Rtn. Ravi Nandi, PRIP Kalyan Banerjee and Rtn. Anil Sharma.
mission and offered all support for the smooth functioning of the camp. The state ministers, officials from the health department and the district visited the camp and commended the selfless service of the Rotary doctors providing medical assistance for the needy. The Chief Minister commented that this medical mission was a huge milestone for the poorest of the poor and requested the Chairman, DG Lokendra Papalal if Rotary could conduct such medical missions more frequently and in every district headquarters of the state. Moved by the selfless service being rendered, the State Finance Minister, Mr. Raghavji announced to allocate Rs.21 lakhs to each district of the state for conducting medical camps with the support of Rotary. Nearly 30,000 patients were examined in the five days and over 1,200 surgeries performed. Physically challenged people in wheel chairs, people crawling on all fours, aged men and women and infants with deformities were among the pathetic stream of registrants to the camp. Hope lit large on the faces of these villagers with a universal thought that the camp would put an end to their pains and ailments. A highly efficient team of 74 doctors from Indore, Bhopal and Gujarat supported by hundreds of non-medical volunteers put in their valuable medical expertise efficiently and they all
had just one goal — to bring relief and enhance the health of these impoverished people. Two operation theatres in the Civil Hospital, six private clinics and a specialised van fitted with stateof-the-art medical equipment from Peoples College of Medical Science and Research Centre, Bhopal offered their facilities for the treatment. Fifteen registration counters and 72 OPDs were set up in the sprawling two acre Ram Lila Grounds that served as the camp site. Medicines worth rupees two crores were distributed for the needy. More than 5,000 food packets were distributed to the visitors daily for the duration of the camp. The Rotarians of RC Vidisha led by the President, Rtn. Dr. Anil Sharma did the groundwork for the medical camp two months in advance and coordinated with the doctors and the district administration. The visit of PRIP Kalyan Banerjee at the camp site kindled fresh energy in the Rotarians. Impressed by the massive scale of the health camp, he told the Rotarians, “This huge turnout demonstrates people’s faith on Rotary. We should work together to work wonders.” To the people his advice was: “Health is not appreciated until sickness comes. Don’t neglect your health. Take advantage of the facilities offered, as a family.” PDG Vivek Tankha, District 3260, who had earlier organised such camps
at Mandla and Chhindwara visited the camp site. Praising the meticulous work of the Rotarians, he said that the camp was well-organised and the fact that the basic comforts for the patients have also been taken care of is noteworthy. PDG Dr. Ashok Kapadia, District 3060 led a team of doctors from his district for the project. The fact that the PDGs, DGEs and DGNs from both the districts also offered their services at the camp is testimony to the dedication and teamwork of the Rotarians when it comes to service to the society. The success of the project and the amount of relief and comfort it brought to the people has provided immense satisfaction to the Rotarians and the doctors so much so that the project Chairman, DG Lokendra Papalal said that they intend conducting annual health camps at Vidisha for the next three years. This would mean continuous medical support for the people in this backward region and it would also help develop faith and trust in Rotary among the people. He also announced that the next year’s medical camp under Project RAHAT would be at Neemuch. As for the Rotarian doctors and the volunteers who serve at the camp, it is a cherished opportunity where their profession tangos with service that is soul-satisfying. Jaishree JULY 2013
ROTARY NEWS 61
oday people have become profoundly disconnected; it is more a ‘Me-Myself’ syndrome out there. The emergence of service organisations such as Rotary has taught mankind to upgrade to the ‘We’ syndrome and has helped in rebuilding a culture of trust, empathy and compassion and bringing about a renaissance of friendship and care for humanity. Rotary has triggered a chain of generosity, emphasising on the important hypothesis that the predominant key is ‘to give.’ Rotary has encouraged its members to practice giving with no strings attached. Rotarians around the world have shifted the direction of many lives through various kindness activities. The Rotarians of RI District 3080 is one such team that is reaching out to the marginalised society, ushering in positive transformations in its wake through a collage of meaningful projects. RI District 3080 comprises of parts of Punjab, Haryana, Uttarkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. The District has a total of 3,306 Rotarians in 78 Rotary clubs. The District Governor Manmohan Singh and his predecessors have been pillars of support guiding and inspiring the Rotarians with innovative ideas, through the years, to perform significant services that would enhance the economic and social status of the people. This year, the infectious zeal of the District Governor has instigated Rotary clubs to conduct several blood donation camps resulting in more than 21,000 unit of blood collected and given to blood banks and hospitals in the member states. These camps also enabled to create awareness and dispel myths among the public regarding blood donation which is vital in saving valuable human lives. Another 62 ROTARY NEWS JULY 2013
DG Manmohan Singh (centre) flanked by Rotarians and beneficiaries of ‘Gift of Vision.’
remarkable activity of the District was the importance the Rotarians gave for hygiene in young children. By gifting nail cutters and soaps to the students of Government schools across the District, the Rotarians enlightened them about keeping their body clean to maintain good health. Through the Adolescent Healthcare Project the Rotarians extensively arranged for seminars and awareness programmes for adolescent girls on relevant topics such as personal hygiene, consuming healthy diet and also on safeguarding themselves against harassments. More than 100 such seminars were conducted in various schools and colleges in the District. These sessions were immensely beneficial especially for the rural and semi-urban women and for those in the remote areas where scientific knowledge is lacking and the womenfolk are repeatedly subject to violence, neglect and superstitious beliefs. The Functional Literacy Project that was executed with Matching Grants from RI District 7250, USA and The Rotary
Foundation saw the clubs donating over 150 computers and accessories to schools in backward areas. Furthermore, to encourage children to understand English and to develop a love for the language, the Rotarians distributed more than 10,000 dictionaries to school children across the District. The District Governor encouraged the Rotarians to organise RYLA programmes to empower youngsters with leadership skills and enhance their confidence levels so that they would be better equipped to face the competitive world. Three RYLA sessions were conducted during the year and one was exclusively to develop the self-esteem of the differently-abled youth. These programmes were well-received in the society and were perfect imagebuilding exercises that popularised Rotary among the public. Another significant activity is the project that brought eyesight for the visually-challenged children of the District. DG Manmohan Singh reminisces his experience in chancing upon a group of visually-challenged
Hearts That Care “Let no child suffering from any congenital cardiac disease, die for want of money,” was the commitment that Rotary Club of Chandigarh, RI District 3080 had made way back in 1999 when it initiated the project as ‘Gift of Life‘ and later on renamed it as ‘Rotary Heartline’ in 2004. This life-saving priceless project is the brainchild of PRIP Rajendra K. Saboo. Each Rotarian of this club is actively involved in raising funds, provide prompt medical aid to the children in need and also take care of their post-operative needs. So far, 457 little lives have been saved by the club, bringing huge sighs of relief for the parents and their kith and kin. These children are from very poor families who cannot afford the exorbitant cost of hospitalisation but had been only helpless spectators suffering silently until Rotary extended its helping hands. The surgeries are not just projects; they are life for the hitherto suffering children and for the families. The Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh had been its initial partner hospital for the heart surgeries and later since June 2006,
the Fortis Hospital, Mohali was also included as partner in order to have the infant patients operated. The project conceived to meet local needs got international dimensions. Patients from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bangladesh, Nepal, Malawi, Uganda, Nigeria and Rwanda besides from various parts of India have been successfully operated, irrespective of their country or creed, through the efforts of Rotary Club of Chandigarh. This partnership between the club and Fortis recently completed 300 cardiac surgeries under the Rotary Heartline Project. In a function organised at the hospital
to mark this achievement, Past RI President Rajendra K. Saboo complimented the management of Fortis for this fruitful partnership. Dr. T.S. Mahant of Fortis said that working with Rotary had been a great privilege for his cardiothoracic and vascular surgery team since it was also in complete alignment with the corporate philosophy of the hospital. Compassion and the thoughtful heart of each Rotarian play a pivotal role in making the Heartline Project the most prestigious and active ongoing project of RC Chandigarh.
children at Saharanpur when he had visited a school run for the blind. On interacting with these children he understood that they have never been checked for eyesight due to their poor economic background. He made arrangements for these children to be brought to Chandigarh where they were examined. The Rotarians were thrilled when the ophthalmologists confirmed that the eyesight for four out of the 19 children will be restored after the necessary corrective surgeries. These children and their families were overjoyed when they got the supreme gift of vision. Corrective eye
surgeries were performed on 160 children under Gift of Vision and on more than 2,500 other patients with various eye disorders by the Rotary clubs of District 3080 under Matching Grants with RI District 7680, USA and TRF. This project was greatly hailed by PRIP Rajendra K. Saboo and RIPE Ron Burton when he had visited the District in March 2013. With Rotary leaders such as PRIP Rajendra Saboo and RI Director Y.P. Das who hail from RI District 3080 serving as exemplary role models, demonstrating the spirit of selfless service, the Rotarians of this District
are raring to go and sky is the limit to explore possibilities for humanitarian services that would enhance the quality of life of the underprivileged. They live the words of Mother Teresa: “Love is not patronising and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same — with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.” For these Rotarians generosity is not a luxury sport and kindness has long since shifted from being an activity, to a way of life.
With inputs from Rtn. Charanjit Singh
Jaishree JULY 2013
ROTARY NEWS 63
FOCUS RC KOTTAYAM CENTRAL RI District 3211 The medical camp organised by the club at Kottayam addressed the various ailments of the people in and around the city. The camp was most beneficial for the underprivileged who could not afford the exorbitant medical expenses.
RC VALLIYOOR CENTRAL RI District 3212 An eye camp was organised by the club along with Nagercoil Bejan Singh Eye Hospital and Annai Amaravati Hospital. This camp greatly benefitted the elderly and the diabetes patients.
64 ROTARY NEWS JULY 2013
RC MADRAS SOUTH RI District 3230 The Ford-Rotary Digital Literacy programme of the club in association with Ford Motor Company has donated 700 computers in various schools empowering 10,000 children with computer literacy.
RC RANIGANJ RI District 3240 The club along with Rotaract Club of Raniganj imparted a course in tailoring for women. The project would enable them to pursue a vocation and help in income generation for them.
RC KODERMA RI District 3250 A cardiac check-up camp was organised at Koderma where nearly 200 patients were screened for heart ailments. Surgeries were performed for the needy with assistance from Rotary India Humanity Foundation.
RC BHUBANESWAR NEW HORIZON RI District 3260 The club donated computers to help in imparting computer education for the hearing impaired students of a school in Bhubaneswar. This would make learning interesting for the children and also empower them with cyber knowledge. JULY 2013
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RC CALCUTTA RIDGE RI District 3291 The club has been providing financial support for the deserving students to pursue graduation through their scholarship programme. This is an ongoing project of the club since the past three years.
RC KATHMANDU MIDTOWN RI District 3292 The club dedicated fully equipped fire service trucks and fire fighting equipment to Kathmandu Metropolitan City for use in the fire brigade. This is a partnership project with Autonomous Province of Bolzano, Italy.
RC CHIDAMBARAM MIDTOWN RI District 2980 The Rotarians conducted a science quiz competition for government school students at Chidambaram. The event enabled the children to develop an interest in the subject besides improving their knowledge.
RC JAMBUKESHWARAM RI District 3000 In its endeavour to reach out to the differentlyabled, the club along with Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd., donated supportive accessories to 500 such people. The cost of the project was Rs.50 lakhs. 66 ROTARY NEWS JULY 2013
RC CHANDRAPUR RI District 3030 The club organised an eye camp for correcting squint in children. The corrective surgery was conducted at Civil Hospital, Chandrapur. It has enhanced their eyesight which is vital for their overall development at this growing stage.
RC JODHPUR RI District 3050 Sewing machines were donated to women from low economic background. This would enable them to pursue a vocation in tailoring and strengthen their financial health, which would thereby enhance their self-esteem.
RC VAPI RIVERSIDE RI District 3060 The club donated benches and desks to various schools under District Simplified Grants. The furniture would facilitate better seating comforts for the students and improve their concentration in academics at school.
RC AMRITSAR EAST RI District 3070 The club dedicated a bus costing Rs.10 lakhs through Matching Grants with RC Arlington Sunrise, RI District 5790, USA and TRF. It would transport teachers from Manav Kalyan Trust to educate the villagers in the surrounding villages. JULY 2013
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RC MOHALI RI District 3080 A mega eye camp was facilitated at Pabhat village under Matching Grants with Rotary clubs of District 7790, Canada and USA and TRF, and Blindness Prevention Donor Advised Fund, USA. Over 700 people benefitted from the camp.
RC AGRA WEST RI District 3110 The Rotarians distributed fluoride removal kits to the villagers at Kasoti and Mai. This would enable safe water for the villagers. This project was executed under Global Grant with RI District 1020, Scotland.
RC AHMEDNAGAR PRIYADARSHINI RI District 3132 The club along with RC Thane North End, RI District 3140, fitted Jaipur Foot and calipers to more than 100 orthopaedically-challenged poor people. This service of the club would enable better mobility and better comfort for them
RC MUMBAI NORTH ISLAND RI District 3140 The club sponsored the setting up of a science laboratory at Madhavrao Kane Ashramshala, a rural school at Devgaon village. The lab would be a great asset for the 660 higher secondary class students in enhancing their knowledge. 68 ROTARY NEWS JULY 2013
RC GUNTAKAL RI District 3160 The Rotarians organised a dental camp at a primary school for the students. The camp enabled in treating the dental defects in the children. The dentists also educated them on oral hygiene and distributed dental kits to them.
RC QUILON CASHEW CITY RI District 3211 In an attempt to bring cheer and security to the ailing patients, the Rotarians donated new clothes and financial aids for the benefit of the patients under the care of Palliative Care Centre at the District Hospital, Kollam.
RC MARTHANDAM RI District 3212 A health screening camp was organised at Janet Matriculation School. Over 350 students benefitted from the camp. An awareness lecture on anaemia, skin diseases and general hygiene was imparted to the children.
RC MARAIMALAI NAGAR RI District 3230 As part of the District project, Happy Village, the Rotarians sponsored financially for the construction and renovation of toilets in the village, Ullavoor. This significant project would bring better sanitation to the village. JULY 2013
ROTARY NEWS 69
How important is
CALCIUM in your diet?
here is plenty of Calcium mineral available in the human body. Almost all of the total calcium — about 99 percent is in our bones and teeth where it performs a structural role. The calcium present in body tissues and fluids account for the remaining one percent which is imperative for muscle contraction, cell metabolism and nerve impulse transmission.
range of proteins changing their biological activity. This is essential in nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction. Calcium is also necessary for blood clotting. Dietary calcium requires vitamin D for absorption, and so calcium deficiency may cause rickets in children. In adults, calcium deficiency may result in osteomalacia (softening of bones). This could also occur due to repeated pregnancy with lengthy breast feeding. Osteoporosis can result owing to calcium deficiency. This involves loss of calcium from the bones and reduced bone density. This causes bones to be brittle and liable to fracture. Bone loss
What does Calcium do? The chief role of calcium is structural. The skeleton of a young adult male contains about 1.2 kg of calcium. Calcium constantly moves between the skeleton and blood and other parts of the body. This is minutely controlled by hormones. Metabolites of vitamin D are important in this, enabling calcium to be re-absorbed by bones. Calcium also plays a part in cell biology. Calcium can adhere to a wide
Sources of Calcium (single servings) Good Sources
Tofu (60 g or 2 oz)
Brown bread (2 slices)
Spaghetti, boiled (100 g or 3 ½ oz) 7 mg
Cheddar cheese (slice, 40 g)
Brazil nuts (9 nuts, 30 g)
Brown rice (190 g or 8 oz)
Cow’s milk (0.3 pint)
Dried apricots (8 apricots)
Spinach, boiled (130 g or 5 oz)
French beans, boiled (100 g) 41 mg
Dried figs (4 figs)
Paneer (45 g or 1 ½ oz)
Soya cheese (slice, 40 g)
Sesame seeds (15 g or ½ oz) 20 mg
Chick peas, boiled (200 g or 8 oz)
Baked beans (200 g or 8 oz)
Broccoli, boiled (95 g or 3 ½ oz)
70 ROTARY NEWS JULY 2013
Give us this day our daily calcium Example: Daily Menu to gain the RNI of 700 mg for an adult Breakfast Museli Soya milk, Unfortified
2 slices of brown bread toast
Baked beans (200 g or 8 oz)
Tofu (60 g) with panneer Brown rice, boiled
376 mg 7 mg
Total calcium intake - 742 mg occurs with age in all individuals. This usually occurs after 35-40 years and results in the shrinking of the skeleton. Bone loss is greatest in women after menopause. This is due to reduced levels of the hormone, oestrogen. Postmenopausal women are particularly at risk of getting osteoporosis. Are Vegetarians at an advantage? Some research has indicated vegetarian women are at less risk of osteoporosis than omnivorous women. This could be due to animal protein enhancing calcium loss from bones. The risk of osteoporosis may be altered by factors other than diet. Being underweight, lack of exercise, smoking and alcohol can all increase the risk. A low level of calcium in the tissues and blood can cause muscle cramps and spasms. Nausea, vomiting and calcium deposition in the heart and kidneys are
Reference Nutrient Intake of calcium, mg/day Age
0 to 12 months
1 to 3 years
4 to 6 years
7 to 10 years
11 to 18 years, male
11 to 18 years, female
Breast feeding women
undesirable effects of excess calcium in the blood. Excessive doses of vitamin D can be fatal in infants. Vegetarian Dietary Sources of Calcium Calcium is present in a wide variety of foods. Leafy green vegetables, dairy products, nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, pistachio nuts, Brazilian nuts, sesame seeds), tofu, and dried fruit (dates, blackberries, black currants) are all good sources of calcium for vegetarians. Flour is usually fortified with calcium carbonate and so cereals can also be a good source. Meat is not at all a source of calcium. Calcium balance can be affected by a range of other factors. Vitamin D is essential for absorption of calcium from the intestine. This is because calcium is carried into the body by a special protein that needs vitamin D for its amalgamation.
A number of substances can affect the absorption of calcium. Phytic acid, found in whole cereals, bran and raw vegetables is one of these. Uronic acid, a part of dietary fibre, and oxalic acid, found in certain vegetables and fruits can also bind calcium. However, diets high in these acids do not affect calcium absorption significantly. Saturated fats can also reduce calcium absorption. Calcium is lost in excreta, urine and sweat. The amount of calcium lost is nearly equal to dietary calcium in adults. Calcium loss is lowered if dietary calcium is low. The body adapts to both high and low calcium intakes. Reduced intake results in increased efficiency of absorption. Infants and children retain calcium for new bone development. Daily Required Intake The old term has now been replaced by the term Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) which is the term in vogue now. Recommended Daily Amounts (RDAs) is no longer used. The RNI is the amount of nutrient which is sufficient for at least 97 percentage of the population. During pregnancy, calcium absorption from the intestine goes up and no additional calcium is normally needed. As lactating women can lose up to 300 mg calcium/day in breast milk, they would need an extra 550 mg of calcium daily. Calcium absorption reduces with age so it is important for the elderly to have adequate calcium in their food. Source: The Indian Vegetarian Congress Quarterly JULY 2013
ROTARY NEWS 71
The Thotadrinath temple at Nanguneri near Tirunelveli is a journey into an India that is greatly visited but little seen. The temple is celebrated as one of the eight sacred Vaishnavite sites where Lord Vishnu is believed to have self-manifested. 72 ROTARY NEWS JULY 2013
The processional deities.
hough India is geographically and topographically disparate, all the destinations are unified by a singular element which transcends the limits of human ability — faith. And after every heartfelt prayer, although we return home from where the gods live, there is a part of us that relives every moment of the visit. Thotadrinath temple is one such shrine that showers the visitor with a soul-satisfying inner peace that lingers on for days. The shrine, also referred to as Vanamamalai Perumal temple, is almost 2,000 years old and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is located in a place called Nanguneri, 30 km south of Tirunelveli on the banks of River Thamiraparani. As the place was fed by four lakes in the days of yore, it was known as ‘Nangu Eri’ (meaning ‘four lakes’) and it eventually came to be called as ‘Nanguneri.’ But today the city is fed by just one lake. The Thotadrinath temple is one of the eight swayamvektha kshetras where Lord Vishnu is believed to have appeared on his own accord — the other seven being Badrinath, Pushkaram, Naimisharanyam, Shaligram, Tirupathi, Srirangam and Srimushnam. What makes the Thotadrinath temple much more remarkable is that while traditionally temples have only one swayambhu murthy, this one has 11. The temple is eulogised by the 12 Vaishnava poet-saints (Azhwars),
thus classifying it as a ‘Divya Desam.’ The word ‘divya’ means ‘premium’ and ‘desam’ indicates ‘place.’ Divya Desams refer to the sacred Vishnu temples whose praises have been sung by the ardent disciples of Lord Vishnu, the Azhwars in their collection of 4,000 verses called the Divyaprabhandha. One hundred and eight temples are classified as Divya Desams according to Vaishnava philosophy, 105 of which are in India, one in Nepal and two are believed to be beyond the earthly realms. The Thotadrinath temple is an ancient temple dating back to 2,000 years. The Pandya and the Nayak rulers had patronised the temple to a great extent. Inscriptions from the 12th and 13th century can still be seen on the temple walls. These inscriptions throw light on the rich endowments made by the then rulers in the form of land, gifts of gold, silver and money, and additions to the temple. This place is also called Vanamamalai in memory of the Pandya king, Vanavan who is said to have built the earliest version of the temple. Architecture An imposing seven-tier rajagopuram (temple tower) soaring to the sky greets the devotees at the entrance. The temple tower is replete with several statues and figurines. The massive compound holds within it five prakarams and three smaller vimanams that crown the sanctums. JULY 2013
ROTARY NEWS 73
Close-up of the Sataari with the image of Nammazhwar.
deity is referred to as Deivanayak. He is flanked by Srivaramangai and Andaal. The holy pond is called Indira Pushkarni or Chetru Thamarai Pushkarni (pond filled with lotus flowers and slush). Specialty The most significant feature of this temple is a 25-feet well. This well does not have water. Instead it is filled with gingelly oil! It is customary that gingelly oil is used to perform ablution rituals to Lord Thotadrinath. The oil is then collected and poured into this well. This oil is considered to be rich in medicinal properties and is said to cure skin ailments. The oil has been hailed by Sage Agastya as ‘sarva roha nivarani,’ meaning ‘cure for all illness.’
The temple complex is spacious and is adorned with several huge halls. The Pandhal Mandap houses the Golden Chariot which is decorated tastefully and taken out on a procession adorned with the Lord and the Goddesses during festive occasions. The processional deities are placed at the Sevvanthi Mandap (named after Sevvanthi Nayak who helped in the construction of this hall) to provide darshan for the devotees during festivals. A walk through the Veerappa Nayak Mandap is a pleasure in itself; it is filled with beautifully sculpted pillars that have to be admired without any watch on time. The Lord’s consort here is called Srivaramangai, an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. There are separate shrines for Srivaramangai, Andaal, Lakshmi Narayan, Lakshmi Varaha, Lord Rama and Krishna. Sanctums for 11 of the 12 supreme apostles of Lord Vishnu and for Sri Manavala Mamunigal, the 15th century religious leader who helped spread Vaishnavism, can be found in the Kulashekhara Mandap. Nammazhwar, one of the devotees of Lord Vishnu enjoys a significant position in this temple. Here he is seen engraved on the Sataari 74 ROTARY NEWS JULY 2013
(the crown representing the holy feet of Lord Vishnu that is placed on the head of the devotees by the priest in Vaishnavite temples). Nammazhwar is referred to as ‘Satagopar’ or ‘Sataari’ in the sanctum of the processional deity. The sanctum sanctorum in the innermost enclosure enshrines the presiding deity, Lord Thotadrinath. With the divine snake, Adisehsa forming a canopy with his thousandheaded hood, the Lord is seen seated on a throne with one leg folded and placed on the seat, and the other touching the floor. He is flanked by his consorts, Sridevi and Bhoodevi. In addition, the celestial nymphs, Urvashi and Thilothamma depicted fanning the Lord, Brighu Maharishi, Markandeya Maharishi, Sun and Moon gods and Vishwaksena, the commander-in-chief of the Lord’s army also find a place in the sanctum along with Lord Thotadri, while His mount, Garuda can be seen in a separate enclosure opposite the sanctum. Parallels are drawn to this posture of the Lord as seen in his celestial abode, Vaikunta and hence, the place is renowned as Bhooloka Vaikunta (Heaven on Earth). The processional
Administration The 600-year-old Vanamamalai Jeeyar Mutt located on the northern side of the temple is the hereditary trustee of the temple and the temple’s administration rests with the Mutt. It has more than 200 subordinate mutts (monasteries) under its auspices. H.H. Srimath Paramahamsa Jagadguru Sri Kalian Vanamamalai Ramanuja Jeeyar Swami is the present pontiff of the Mutt. He is the 30th in the line of the Mutt’s pontiffs with the first one being H.H. Sri Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamiji. Shri Ramanuja Jeeyar is believed to have been blessed by Lord Thotadrinath himself to establish the Mutt at this place, pleased with his devotion to the Lord. Legend As with all other Indian temples that abound with interesting mythology, this temple also is steeped in folklore. The legends are narrated in the Brahmanda Purana, the Skanda Purana and the Narasimha Purana. It is said that Lord Shiva himself narrated the significance and greatness of Lord Thotadrinath and Goddess Srivaramangai to Sage Narad who then went to Lord Vishnu’s abode at Vaikunta and sang praises on the Lord.
The famed well of gingelly oil.
As to how Lord Thotadrinath manifested himself at Vanamamalai, the traditional story goes thus: Once Brahma became proud of his creative powers and to quell his pride, Lord Vishnu created two demons, Madhu and Kaitaba. They charged at Brahma who ran and hid himself inside a lotus stalk. Lord Vishnu then sought him out and taught him the Pranava Mantra. Brahma too realised his folly. The demons meanwhile wreaked havoc in the three worlds until Lord Vishnu put an end to their lives. When Lord Vishnu killed the demons, Mother Earth (Bhoodevi, the Lordâ€™s consort) was stained with their blood. She prayed to Lord Vishnu to purify her. Bathing in the Chetru Thamarai pond, she undertook
a severe penance at Vanamamalai. The Lord was pleased with her worship. He appeared before Goddess Bhoodevi in all his magnificence, replete with grandeur, his conch, disc, club, sword and bow, and granted her wishes. His very darshan purified the Goddess. The goddess appealed to Lord Vishnu to remain here and bless the people. Thus Lord Vishnu stayed at Vanamamalai in what is called the Vaikunta Vimana or the royal grandeur with both his consorts, Sridevi and Bhoodevi by his side. Goddess Sridevi or Mahalakshmi as she is also called was said to have been born in this same land. She grew up at Vanamamalai as Srivaramangai and she is considered the affectionate daughter of the first pontiff of the
Vanamamalai Mutt, and the utsava deity, Deivanayak is the son-in-law. During the Bramotsav and the Chithrai festival, the two are given a warm welcome at the Mutt, where the entire puja and festivities are performed. An interesting story is recorded about Srivaramangai and her marriage to Lord Deivanayak (Lord Thotadrinath). The idol of Srivaramangai was originally at Tirupathi as the utsava deity. When the temple authorities were arranging the marriage festivities of Lord Balaji with the goddess, Sri Ramanuja Jeeyar, who was on a visit to Tirupathi then, had a strange dream. He saw Goddess Srivaramangai telling him that she was the consort of Lord Thotadrinath and asked him to take her to Vanamamalai. The next morning the JULY 2013
ROTARY NEWS 75
The temple corridor.
temple authorities also informed that they all had the same dream. So they sent the utsava idol of Srivaramangai with Sri Ramanuja to Vanamamalai where the celestial wedding of the goddess with Lord Thotadrinath was observed with great pomp and gaiety. The story behind the famous gingelly oil ablutions to the Lord goes like this: One Kaarya Maharaj was childless. He fervently prayed to Lord Vishnu. Pleased with his devotion, the Lord asked him to perform a pooja to the idol that was buried at Vanamamalai. The king obediently dug the earth at this kshetra. Suddenly he was shocked to find blood stains on his spade. He found the image of Lord Thotadrinath with blood oozing from His head. The Lord instructed him to smear the wound with gingelly oil and pour the oil in the well nearby. The king did as he was told. He was pleased to note that the wound on the Lord’s image healed instantly. He was also blessed with children. With great gratitude and devotion, the king built a temple around the idol and that was the foundation to this now famous temple of Lord Thotadrinath. And to this day the custom of performing the abhisheka on Lord Thotadrinath with gingelly oil is observed with reverence. It is also widely believed that devotees who perform this ritual will be blessed with a progeny. 76 ROTARY NEWS JULY 2013
Legends relate that Brahma, Indra, the Sun and Moon gods, Maharishis Brighu, Markandeya and Romasa all had descended on this sacred site, Vanamamalai on various occasions. They had observed strict penance, praying to Lord Thotadrinath for his darshan and blessing to attain salvation from their curses. Pleased with their worship, Lord Vishnu had blessed each one of them with the much-sought after ‘Vaikunta Vimana’ darshan. The celestial maidens, Urvashi and Thilothama who undertook severe penance seeking salvation and to serve the Lord were given a special place to be with Him. They can be seen with the chamaram, fanning the Lord. The sanctity of the holy pond, Chetru Thamarai Theertha is also related in the puranas. A king of Sindhu was cursed to be transformed into a dog by Sage Kusasana for partaking food meant as offering for Lord Vishnu. Repenting for his action, the king prayed to the sage to relieve him of his curse. The sage said that he cannot undo the curse and that the king will get back to his original form when he visits an important holy place. After loitering around for several years in his cursed form, the king reached Vanamamalai. He took a dip in the waters of Chetru Thamarai pond and was thrilled to be relieved of his sins. He was transformed to his original form. Even to this day
it is customary for devotees to bathe in this river that is said to possess amazing healing powers. The Thotadri temple is a unique shrine where the sataari which normally has only the sacred feet of the Lord in all other Vaishnava shrines, has the image of Saint Nammazhwar, one of the 12 ardent devotees of Lord Vishnu, embedded on the side just below the Lord’s feet. Normally when an infant is born from the mother’s womb, it is said that a kind of vayu called sata takes hold of it so that the child’s divine knowledge is completely destroyed. Contrary to this, when this saint was born he vanquished the sata with his divine powers. Hence he was called Satakopar or Sataari. Lord Thotadrinath had a special attachment towards Saint Nammazhwar that he offered him a place in the Sataari to signify that he too blesses the devotees when it is placed on their head. Festivals As in other Vaishnavite shrines, the rituals at Thotadrinath temple are also elaborate and the festivals are observed with great fanfare with the Vanamamalai Mutt coordinating every event. Two Brahmotsavs, one in the Tamil calendar month of Chitra (April–May) and another in Panguni (March–April) are significant occasions of the temple besides other festivals significant to Lord Vishnu. Temples are sacred sites that enable us to reflect on our activities and every episode of our rich and vibrant mythologies re-iterates the fact that total surrender to God is the sure step to salvation. This hypothesis has been proven in each of the legends related to Lord Thotadrinath. The more such shrines we visit, the more pure thoughts we attract. The result, we become greater in thoughts and deeds. In such manner, the Thotadrinath temple at Vanamamalai warmly engulfs the townspeople and the pilgrims with its celestial radiance. Jaishree
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GRAMMAR GURU W
hat’s the difference between a good lawyer and a bad lawyer? A bad lawyer can let a case drag on for several years. A good lawyer can make it last even longer.
My father and I once made a kite. Teacher (looking over Ravi’s homework): I don’t see how it’s possible for a single sensible person to make so many mistakes.
A crow was sitting on a tree doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow and asked him, “Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?” The crow answered, “Sure, why not?”
Ravi (proudly): It wasn’t a single person, madam, mother helped me. •
So the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it up. Moral of the story – To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very high up. The general purpose verb do has several uses and can sometimes be confused with make. •
Do for non-specific activity: We use do when we do not exactly say what activity we are talking about, for example with words like thing, something, nothing, anything, what. With every peg of wine, the man in the bar was reminded of another of his exploits, which he proceeded to describe with huge glee and zest. Finally a large dour faced man broke in: “Tell me something you can’t do,” he said, “and I’ll do it myself.” “Why, thank you kindly sir,” said the other, “I can’t pay my bill.”
Do for work: We use do when we talk about work and jobs. It’s time to do the accounts. I did (studied) Hindi at school. Could you do the shopping for me? Reporter
What shall we eat? Well, I could do some omelette. •
Common fixed expressions Do good, harm, one’s best, a favour, one’s duty. Make an offer, an effort, an excuse, a noise, money and friends. Boss
: Why didn’t you deliver the message as instructed?
Secretary : I did my best, sir. Boss
: You did your best! Why, if I had known I was going to send a donkey, I would have gone myself!
The twelve year old boy who was staying in a hostel wrote to his father: “I’m broke and have absolutely no friends. Please advise me on what I should do.” And his father gave this reply, “Make friends immediately.” “For God’s sake, man,” said the dentist to his patient, “Stop making those noises and waving your arms in front of you. I haven’t even touched your teeth yet.” “I know,” said the patient desperately, “But you are standing on my toe!”
: My editor sent me to do the burglary.
Policeman : He did? Well, you’re too late. It’s already been done. •
Do instead of make We sometimes use do instead of make to sound casual about a creative activity as if we are not claiming to produce any special results.
Make for constructing, creating, etc. I’ve just made some coffee. Let’s make a plan.
Dr. V. Saraswathi, Vice President, English Language Teachers’ Association of India, Reproduced with permission from Education Times, The Times of India, Chennai.
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In 2013, it still will. Find new ways to support vocational exchange activities with new Rotary Foundation grants. Learn more at www.rotary.org/ futurevision.
JULY 2013 ROTARY NEWS 81
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Ear Aids_Moving Adv.indd 82
TRF Trustee Chair (2012–13) Wilfrid J. Wilkinson, (second from left) visited the India Habitat Centre in February 2013. This centre was established by RI District 3010 in New Delhi.
RIPN Gary Huang and his spouse Corinna visited Rotary Blood Bank and Rotary Eye Care Centre, New Delhi during May 2013. Intraocular lenses were donated to the centre on the occasion.
Captain of Indian Cricket Team, M.S. Dhoni was presented with “Rotary Vocational Excellence Award” in May 2013 by Rotary Club of Pune East, RI District 3131.
ROTARY NEWS 83
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