I believe that Pride is necessarily a bad thing, especially when you take Pride in yourself. Pride, they say, cometh before a fall. Being proud of others, however, is a good feeling and makes you truly happy.
That is why, today, I am proud to be associated with Rotary. It has been a little over three years since I joined Rotary. And this week, India has been polio free for three years – January 13th 2011 was the last reported case of Polio in India. So all of the work had been done before I joined Rotary. And some of the women and men who made it possible are those I meet every week. Let’s be honest, I can’t say I like all of them. Nor are they all perfect – far from it. But most are wonderful people, and it has been an honor and a privilege to know them. And, they are all responsible for this stupendous effort that has rid India of a dreaded disease. Yes, plenty of other organizations including the Indian Government, the WHO and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation have played major roles. But Rotary has been one of the most active and most committed. See the graphics below, they show contributions in Millions of dollars. Rotary is second, after only the Gates foundation!
So thank you Rotarians, for what you have done and for what you continue doing. And thank you for letting me in on this reflected glory.
But our work is not done yet…
When I was a child – from the age of about 2 to 6, a little girl by the name of Renu Grewal lived next to me. She and I played and hung out together. We would crawl through a hole in the hedge to meet each other. She was full of energy and passion like Punjabi girls are wont to be! But she had polio. It never mattered to me then, but looking back I feel a small sadness. But not pity. I remember learning too that her father was an Air Force Pilot and was shot down in the 1965 war. Even then I felt no pity for her, because I knew she was stronger than all the other kids – perhaps because of herI wonder what happened to her… Why does Renu matter? Because the victims of this dreaded disease are still around us and perhaps need our help and support. Let us not forget them. I don’t think Renu needed anyone’s support – she was much too feisty for that, but other little children do. They need corrective surgery, prostheses, and assimilation into our society – assimilation without pity.