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What is Rotary?

Rotary is the eldest international organization for voluntary services to the community. It has been defined as “Rotary is an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards to all vocations and help to build goodwill and peace in the world”. The rotary clubs and Rotarians are well known for their characters and activities. These are the features of service, internationality, fellowship, classification of each vocation, development of goodwill and world understanding, the emphasis of high ethical standards, concern for other people and many more.

History of Rotary:

Rotary was born on 23rd February 1905 in Chicago, Illinois USA. Paul Harris was the founder and organizer of rotary club in Chicago in 1905. He had invited three of his friends, Gustavus Locht, Silvester Schiele and Hiram Shorey, to explore his idea that had been developing in his mind for several years. His idea was ‘a club of business and professional men who could and should be friends’. Harris was a lawyer, his friends were a coal dealer, mining engineer and merchant tailor. The four accepted the idea and expressed their willingness and decided to meet once in a week.

The name Rotary was suggested by Harris and was derived from the early practice of meeting in rotation at member’s business offices. The aim of the first rotary club was the encouragement of friendship, fellowship and mutual assistance. It is significant that each of the members of the first rotary club was a comparative stranger from a small town who had come to that great metropolis of Chicago to go into business. Each felt a need for personal friendships to replace those severed by moving from their former homes.

Although Paul Harris was the originator of Rotary, he was the president in 1905. That distinction went to Silvester Schick, one of the original four.

The first Rotary community project was undertaken in 1907, when Harris was the President of Chicago club number 1. The first rotary community project was the establishment of ‘Public Comfort Station’ in Chicago’s city Hall.

The first Rotary convention was held in 1910 in Chicago; by that time 16 Rotary clubs had been organized in different cities of USA. IN that first Rotary Convention, Paul Harris was elected as the first President of the first Organization of Rotary clubs. He served in this position for two years from 1910 until 1912. Then the rotary clubs were organized in other countries also such as Canada, England, Ireland and Scotland etc.

Now the statistics of Rotary’s tremendous world-wide growth are impressive. Rotary’s accomplishments through the years show the fellowship development, the improvement in the conduct of business and professions, creation of playground, the helps to crippled children, granting student loans, community betterment, increased understanding among nations and countries and countless other achievements.

History of Rotary in India:

There was no rotary district in India till 1931 and the geographical jurisdiction was termed as “Provisional District A” in 1931-32. This provisional district ‘A’ covered the regions of India, Burma and Ceylon. This continued till 1936 when it was regularly constituted as District 89. District 89 comprised of 4 geographical regions Viz Afghanistan, Burma, Ceylon and India.

In the year 1938, the District 89 was bifurcated into two districts viz Districts 88 and 89. District 88 covered the geographical regions of Afghanistan, Burma and the whole of North India and District 89 retained Southern India and Ceylon. Thereafter there was periodical bifurcations such as 91, 54 and 55 till District 320 was formed in the year 1958.

District 320 covered the southern part of India and Ceylon. Then District 320 ceded some portions of Mysore and Andhra to create District 317. During 1970, District 320 was further bifurcated into two districts 320 and 321, and the later covered the clubs in the revenue districts of Trichy and Southwards in Tamilnadu, the clubs in revenue district of Kottayam and south of Kottayam in Kerala and all the clubs in Ceylon.

When the District 321 was formed on the first of July 1970 it had only 33 clubs. In India only Six districts were present and Rotary International doubled the District from 6 to 12. Soon District 321 had registered an impressive record of growth within the span of 13 years and further bifurcation was very much needed.

During 1983-84 District 321 was bifurcated into two districts viz 321 and 322; the former covering the revenue districts of Ramnad, Pasumpon, Kamaraj, Chidambaranar, Tirunelveli, Kattabomman and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and Trivandrum, Kollam, Alleppey, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta districts in Kerala and District 322 retained the remaining revenue districts Viz Madurai, Trichy, Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu and all the clubs in Ceylon.

When District 321 was formed on the 1st July 1984, it had only 45 clubs. In the year 1991-92 District 321 was numbered as 3210. In the year 2007-08 this district was bifurcated into 3211 and 3212. Now 3211 have all the revenue district of Kerala and 3212 have all the revenue District of Tamil Nadu.

At present in India alone we have about 31 R1 Districts, about 3134 Rotary clubs, about 1,212,79 Rotarians, among them 8597 are lady Rotarians doing voluntary services to community. Apart from these about 2571 Rotaract clubs in colleges, about 4351 interact clubs in schools and about 4137 Rotary community corps are established and extending their services to community.

The RID 3212 alone that includes Rotary club of Virudhunagar has about 73 Rotary clubs about 3111 Rotarians among them 68 Lady members, 50 Rotaract clubs, 122 Interact clubs and 115 RCC to undertake services to community.

History of Rotary in Virudhunagar:

Virudhunagar the birth place of the great leader Kamaraj, found a place in the rotary map in the year 1979-80, when Rtn. PHF.DG.P.V.Jambukesan was the governor of District321. The club was admitted into Rotary International with club number 015962 on 3rd October 1979, with the name of “Rotary club of Virudhunagar”. Rtn N.Nagamani and Rtn. Sanamana A.Ganesan were the charter President and Secretary then. The club had about 33 Charter members then.

The club had constructed its own building in 1992 and named it as “V.Dhanasamy Parimala Devi Majestic Rotary Creche”. The Rotary Creche was inaugurated on 5-10-1992. The club had availed matching grants from Rotary Clubs of Singapore and converted the same into Borewells to villages and schools. Later Rain water Harvesting Project, Drinking water filter project for schools were also carried out with the help of matching grants. Two of the club members Rtn. PHF. PP. R.Chokkar and Rtn. PAG Major donor V.R.Muthu, were awarded Jaycees Kamal Patra Award and brought laurels to the club.

Rotary club of Virudhunagar has undertaken continuous projects such as Creche throughout the year, Polioplus, Vision Screening projects for school children and poor elders from villages, Hearing aid project, RYLA for school and college students, Honouring Top 10 students of +2 course among Virudhunagar Schools on the basis of marks, Honouring school toppers in X-standard of virudhunagar schools, PROBUS club for 60+, Karate Tournament, Chess Tournament, Cancer Detection Awareness Programs, Honouring school toppers in Karaikudi schools along with RC of Karaikudi, Honouring outstanding sports students in Virudhunagar.

Apart from these, community service required now and then, Education helps to poor deserving students, various competitions for schools and college students to develop their skills are also being carried out by this club. Also plays important role to develop public relations.

Rotary club of Virudhunagar sponsored the second Rotary club in virudhunagar by the name ‘Rotary club of Virudhunagar Elite’ in the year 2010-11. Now steps have been taken to sponsor the third rotary club in Virudhunagar by name ‘Rotary club of Golden Virudhunagar’ in the year 2013. Each club conducts its own regular weekly meetings and operates its own projects for the welfare of community.

Rotary club of virudhunagar recently has constructed a most convenient and comfortable A/C meeting hall by name Rtn. P Ayyasamy Vairamani Rotary Hall’ and members meet at this hall on Wednesday by 6:45pm to have regular weekly meeting.

Rotary Foundation:

In 1917, Arch C.Klumph, Rotary’s sixth president, proposed in the convention of Rotary international, the creation of a “endowment fund for Rotary for the purpose of doing good in the world in Charitable, educational and other avenues of community service”. The first contribution of US$26.50 was made by the rotary club of Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

The Rotary foundation is a not-for-profit corporation friends of the foundation who share its vision of a better world. In the year 2003-04 alone more than US$70million was received as contribution and in the year 2004-05 alone more than US$117.9 million was received as contribution. In the year 2006-07 India alone contributed US$7.4 million to the Rotary Foundation. In 2012-13 alone so far US$110 million has been received for Rotary foundation from all the Rotary Clubs throughout the world. So the contribution is going on increasing year after year. Now it has grown up to more than Billion US$. This shows that Rotarians learn the value of service to humanity.

This fund is being utilized for the welfare of crippled children and children at risk. The Humanitarian programs of the Rotary Foundation use this fund to improve the quality of life, providing healthcare, clean water, food, education and other essential needs of a community, primarily in the developing world, to alleviate poverty. Educational programs such as Ambassadorial scholarships program, Group Study Exchange, Awards for Technical Training and Matching Grants were also launched. The Polio Plus Program was introduced in 1984-85 and now the crippling disease Polio is almost eradicated from this earth. This is one of the paramount efforts and achievements by the Rotary Foundation to protect the children throughout the world. Hence any well wisher can also contribute to the Rotary foundation and enjoy the pleasure of “doing good in the world”.

We can be proud to say that this is the only organization that cares for the needy people and sees that more than 90% of the contributions reach the target community and less than 10% is utilized for the establishment & administrative expenses of the rotary secretariat.


- History of ROTARY CLUB, message from the New President Dr.Inbamani, Rotary club of Virudhunagar.










Virudhunagar Varalaru

(Price: Rs.100)

(History of Virudhunagar)

Author - N.Jeganathan

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