Hundreds attend chartering of two clubs in New York
Kalyan Banerjee, RI president-nominee, presents charters to the Rotary clubs of Hicksville South and Jericho Sunrise, both on Long Island, during a ceremony at the Garden City Hotel.
More than 65 new Rotarians joined hundreds of others for a ceremony 1 December in New York City to celebrate the chartering of two new clubs.
Kalyan Banerjee, RI president-nominee, joined Ravi Bhooplapur, governor of District 7250, to present charters to the Rotary clubs of Hicksville South and Jericho Sunrise, both on Long Island, during a glittering ceremony at the Garden City Hotel. India's Consul General in New York, Prabhu Dayal, also attended and was made an honorary member of the Hicksville South club.
Speaking to the assembled professionals and business owners, Banerjee called Rotary the world's greatest service organization, noting that it is held in such high esteem that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation did not hesitate to give $355 million in challenge grants to help in the effort to eradicate polio.
Kamlesh Mehta, a diamond merchant and publisher of the South Asian Times, is the president of the 37-member Hicksville South club. Vimi Sikka, an educator and social worker, serves as president of the predominantly female Jericho Sunrise club, which has 30 charter members. The members of both clubs are largely Indian American.
Reflecting on the high number of women in the clubs, Banerjee invoked a saying by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: "If I want something said, I ask a man to do it. If I want anything done, I always ask a woman.
"The best clubs that I've seen are always run with feminine instincts -- with understanding, with care, with love, with compassion, with passion, with simplicity, with sincerity,” he added.
Bhooplapur encouraged the new club members to invite friends and co-workers, and demonstrate that Rotary is open to all. "Rotary offers so many avenues of service," he said. "There is a place for everyone. If you seek a place for Rotary in your life, you will find Rotary shall improve your life."
The national anthems of India and the United States were played at the beginning of the ceremony.
Mehta explained how, within weeks of the idea surfacing, a group of like-minded friends began meeting, drawn by Rotary's diverse, nonpolitical, and nonreligious structure.
"Tonight that dream has come true, after all the hard work and toil," he said.
Sikka noted that she drew inspiration from Bhooplapur and his wife, and thanked Mehta for extending his full support in the formation of the Jericho Sunrise club.
District 7250 has brought in about 150 new members since July.