The large family of Rotarians from around the world, Dear Friends, Namaste! I am glad to be addressing the Rotary International Convention Every Rotary gathering of this scale is like a mini-global assembly. There is diversity and vibrancy. All of you Rotarians are successful in your own fields. Yet, you have not restricted yourselves to work only. Your desire to make our planet better has brought you together on this platform. It is a true mix of success and service.
This body has two important mottos. The first is – service above self. The second is – One profits most who serves best. These are important principles for the welfare of the entire humankind. Thousands of years ago our Saints and Sages gave us a powerful prayer –
‘सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः,
सर्वे सन्तु निरामयः’।
It means, may every living being be happy and may every living being live a healthy life.
It is also said in our culture –
”परोपकाराय सताम् विभूतयः”।
It means, great souls work and live only for the well-being of others. We are the land of Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi who showed in action what living for others is all about.
We all exist in an inter-dependent, inter-related and inter-connected world. Swami Vivekananda expressed it very well when he said and I quote:
“One atom in this universe cannot move without dragging the whole world along with it.” That is why, it is important that individuals, organisations and governments work together to make our planet more prosperous and sustainable. I am glad to see Rotary International work hard on several causes that have a positive impact on the earth. Take for example environmental protection. Sustainable development is the need of the hour. Inspired by our centuries old ethos of staying in harmony with nature, the 1.4 billion Indians are making every possible effort to make our earth cleaner and greener. Renewable energy is a growing sector in India. At the global level India has taken the lead in forming the International Solar Alliance. India is working towards – One Sun, One World, One Grid. At the recently held COP-26 Summit in Glasgow I had spoken about LIFE – Lifestyle for Environment. This refers to every human leading an environmentally conscious life. India’s commitments on Net Zero by 2070 were also appreciated by the world community.
I am glad that Rotary International is actively working on providing clean drinking water,
sanitation and hygiene. In India, we started the Swachh Bharat Mission or clean India movement in 2014. In five years we achieved near total sanitation coverage. This benefitted the poor and the women of India in particular. At present, India is marking
75 years since freedom from colonial rule. A new collective movement has taken shape to save water. This movement is inspired by our age old practices of water conservation combined with modern solutions.
One of your other important causes, of growing local economies is very relevant in a post-COVID world. The Aatmabirbhar Bharat movement is taking shape in India. The aim is to make India self-reliant and also contribute to global prosperity. I must also share that India is among the largest and fastest growing start-up eco-systems in the world. Many of these start-ups are seeking to provide solutions to global challenges.
We in India remain open to learning from global best practices and sharing ours with others. India is home to one seventh of humanity. Such is our scale that any achievement of India will have a positive impact on the world. Let me share the example of COVID-19 vaccination. When the once in a century COVID-19 pandemic came, people thought, India, with its large population would not be that successful in the fight against the pandemic. The people of India proved them wrong. India has administered almost 2 billion doses to our people. Similarly, India is working to eliminate TB by 2025. This is 5 years before the global target of 2030. I have given just a few examples. I invite the Rotary family to support these efforts at the grassroots.
Before I conclude I will make a request to the entire Rotary family. In about two weeks, on 21st June the world will mark International Day of Yoga. Yoga, as you all know, is an effective passport to mental, physical, intellectual and spiritual wellness. Can the Rotary family observe Yoga Day all over the world in large numbers? Can the Rotary family also encourage regular practicing of Yoga among its members? You will see the benefits of doing so.
I once again thank you for inviting me to address this gathering. My best wishes to the entire Rotary International family. Thank you! Thank you very much!