Centenary Chair and President unleashed programmes of seismic proportions in a roughly 7 day period from 30 Dec 2020. More than 100 Rotarian friends joined in the celebrations from overseas, chiefly from Bangladesh, and also Egypt, Germeny, The Netherlands, UK and the USA.
Not that the time was spent on just fun and games, although all of those — golf, vintage cars, music and fellowship — were unique. Project site visits, interaction with beneficiary groups were, it must be said immodestly, delightful for our overseas guests, even though the travel to-and-fro may not have been thus!
A galaxy of Rotary VIPs were present both for business and fellowship. PRIP Raja Saboo was always ready for a quick chat and photo opportunities.
FOUNDATION DAY 26 SEPTEMBER 2019
This is the truly unique piece. In terms of the guests. An overwhelming majority of the Clubs sponsored by “the Old Number One” turned up to be felicitated. Jamshedpur, Lucknow, Dhaka and many others turned up spontaneously on our invitation. Touchingly, Darjeeling had this to say “let’s not wait a hundred years to connect again” — this is music for RIPE Holgar Knaack.
Guests were taken to St Thomas’ Home in a rather trying road trip in the rains. While that trip was on, history was in the making at Rotary Sadan as PRIP Kalyan Banerjee brought the Rotary Club of Calcutta Centenary into existence! PE Debashis Mitra and Centenary Chair Saumen Ray led the trip to St Thomas’ Home, a long standing Global Grant project of the club.
a memorable year rtn indrajit ganguly
My association with RCC began in the year 1992 and it’s been a privilege to be part of the centenary year too! It’s been a fun year as Co Chair with Rtn Sonal Worah, and the support of my wife Roshni. The Centenary Year celebrations in December attended by Rotarians from the world over, had events spanning a week. The New Years Eve party with the graceful Russian belly dancer livening up things was unique in our club’s history!
The first Members ‘ Night… Agomoni, was a stupendous success and those in charge were wondering what to do better for the main function in May, when the Lockdown started. President Purnendu came up with the idea of a virtual Members Night. A team was quickly formed and the think tank began to regularly meet over Zoom to figure out how to navigate these new uncharted waters.
The creative narratives of Sonal and Roshni, the technical expertise of Rtns Bodhi and Debasish , the sound advice of R Annes Ranjana and Sambi and the invaluable support by President Purnendu and Secy Anusua , gave birth to an ambitious idea . The response of our contributing members was stunning….so many entries came in …our phones almost crashed! Songs, dances, skits, fancy dress, tik tok videos, families all together , recitation , musical instrument performances…you name it , it was there !!
Meanwhile Rtn Bodhi managed to write the sequel of the ‘ Sruti Natok ‘ performed in the previous Members’ Night, in 2 days flat. Rehearsals for that too began on Zoom! All were happily basking in the glory of having so much content to show when the problems began! Videos were long and in parts, who would stitch them together? Some needed to be edited, when playing, some had visuals but no audio, some had audio but no video!!
Rtn Bodhi and our Rotary children – Amartya ( son of Rtn Ashok Basu 4 ) Chaitanya & Rahul (sons of Rtn Sonal) and Ishaan and Shreyasi ( my son and daughter in law) saved the day. After many a hiccup and stressful moments till the last minute, all was ready!
And what a fabulous show it was! 3 hours long, 40 performances and 74 Rotarians and their families glued to their screens! Thanks to the interesting anchoring by Sonal and Roshni and the seamless streaming by Rtn Debasish Biswas , we had a resounding hit on our hands ! It was truly a befitting finale for fellowship and camaraderie, albeit virtual, to commemorate the Centenary celebrations.
installation - 2ND july 2019
The evening we all waited for a hundred years finally arrived. In a glittering hall at the HHI on the 2 July 2019, the Centennials — President, Secretary and the Office Bearers were installed in the presence of RIPN Shekhar Mehta, DG Ajay Agarwal and a hall full of members and invitees. All the formalities of silver platter (to outgoing President and Secretary), the declaration of “Rotarian of the Year”, passing the collar, outgoing and incoming Presidents’ addresses, introduction of the office bearers, installation of a new member was followed by some outstanding fellowship!
Gongs and a song – the Centennial Bell gonged for the first time on Asian shores! And a centennial creation the “A Hundred Years” was sung for the first time with fanfare!
travel and goodwill
This is one piece that is difficult to put a start date to! Going into the second century, it is impossible to put an end date. So we stick to the knitting. For the year, it starts with the Hamburg convention. Or rather the meeting with RC Horst an de Maas and RC Viersen Schwalm Nette in a delightful German Inn in an agricultural hamlet that grows asparagus. The Hamburg convention followed with several outstanding narratives — chiefly that Mark Maloney was persistently dogged by two of our stalwarts, Saumen and Subrata to agree to be part of our celebrations. The second was that purnendu and Saumen did dancing dervishes in the convention area to convince the Manila and Shanghai Clubs to join hands with us for what would then become the Circle of Centenary Rotary Clubs!
Foundation Day witnessed the paradrop of many Bangladeshi Rotarian friends conveying warmth and good wishes. Then a quick trip to Sri Lanka where we were thrown in the midst of a Rotary sponsored debate with Lankan political, think tank and journalistic elite on the environment, followed by the formalisation of a sister club relationship with RC Battaramulla. Trips to Bangkok, Shanghai, Dhaka and Darjeeling followed with much warmth and fellowship and re-inforcing the CCRC thought process in Shanghai.
The culmination was during the earthquake week [Bhukamp!] of our Charter Day celebrations — so many partner club members and well wishers descended as if blessing “The Old Number One.”
The journey continues… we egg on for GG!
ccrc - The circle of centennial Rotary clubs
It is over 15 years that Rotary International has turned 100 and there is no serious direction on organising a consortium on 100 years’ old Rotary Clubs.
The idea of forming a group of Centenary Clubs came to Rtn. Purnendu Roychowdhury and PP Saumen Ray in the month of June, 2019, while at our Club’s stall at the Hamburg Convention. We met the representative of Rotary Club of Shanghai at Hamburg and discussed the idea of formation of this group. The Shanghai Representative Rtn. Andrew Hill said his club is already in discussion on something in the line with Rotary Club of Manila and was happy that we came up with a similar thought. It was further discussed in October 2019, when Rtn. Purnendu visited Shanghai with the members of our Club and met the representatives of Rotary Club of Shanghai and Rotary Club of Manila.
In February at RICS 2020, before 4000 Rotarians from 30 countries, the Circle of Centennial Rotary Clubs (CCRC) was officially formed and witnessed by R.I. President Mark Daniel Maloney and RIPN Shekhar Mehta.
Some of the objectives of CCRC will be to propagate goodwill and better understanding of Rotary, to prune and promote Rotary and its membership growth in smaller Rotary Clubs in their zones, increase membership and interest in smaller Rotary Clubs, assist and handhold smaller Rotary Clubs and involve them in promoting the objects of Rotary, help clubs nearing 100 years with any assistance they may require, promote family exchanges, try to increase attendance at the Conventions to large scale Global Grant Projects!
Bon Voyage, CCRC!! It was indeed a historic moment for Rotary Club of Calcutta.