By Chirag Trivedi, president of the Rotary Club of Bhavnagar Royal, Gujarat, India
Since 1985, Rotary has been at the forefront of the effort to eradicate polio from the world. Here is a unique way a member of my club has been supporting this monumental effort with his own individual talent.
Himal Pandya has been a valuable member of our club since its chartering, having served as an assistant governor, past president, and Group Study Exchange Team leader for an exchange to Scotland in 2012-13. In fact, he played a pivotal role in the club’s formation. Our club has become one of the real success stories in our district, attracting more than 60 members with an average age below 40.
Besides his Rotary career, Himal serves as principal at the Pharmacy College and is a well-known poet who has written numerous pieces in our regional language of Gujarati. Blessed with this God-given gift, he decided to use his skills to benefit others.
Himal and our club were inspired by the generosity of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and wanted to do our part in meeting Rotary’s Challenge for polio eradication. So in Rotary year 2011-12, we decided to release an album of his Gujarati Gazals (poems) accompanied by music. The musical compositions were truly melodious and became very popular with music lovers and followers of Gujarati literature.
Within no time, the album sold 4,000 copies and raised approximately $7,500 for the challenge. The entire proceeds from album sales were donated to the polio eradication campaign in the names of the clubs or Rotary members who purchased them. Past RI President Kalyan Banerjee recognized Himal for his humanitarian gesture at our Rotary District 3060 conference that year.
We are still selling Himal’s album, and have just decided to release another 1,000 copies, this time supporting a literacy initiative in South Asia. As club president, it has been an honor to know Himal and see how a Rotarian can use his abilities for good.