We meet on every wednesday 6.30 PM at Rotary Balbhavan in Panampilly Nagar

Evolution of Membership

It is a very interesting study to make on the evolution of membership of our Club. The transformation during these six and half decades gives us an insight into the public perception of our movement in this part of the country. From a scrutiny of the list of Charter Members, one would find that there is a majority of Government functionaries, mostly the top level and some at the next level and others were mainly executives in the various British and American Merchant Houses. Individuals and representatives of the local merchant community were hardly there and this situation continued for the first two or decades. What was the reason?

It is possible that, that was a time when Government Official did not have any reservation in joining Service Clubs. More over, when the Diwan who was the chief executive of the State was pioneering this effort it is but natural that many would like to join the Bandwagon. It is surprising to know that even the political agent who was a sort of a super Government in those days chose to join the Rotary Club of Cochin. It may be because the colonial temperature of the Club was suited for cultivating such inter personal relations.

When did this constitution of the club start changing? Old times may say that the advent of independence and the departure of expatriates both at the Government and the business institutional level heralded this change. Was there excellent fellowship in those days? Again, people from that period say yes, and most of them were looking forward to Rotary meetings on Saturdays. While membership of the Club mostly comprised of middle aged men till the 1970s, the late 1980s and 1990s saw the entry of many young men, the entrepreneur Manager who is keen to do his bit for the society, as also to make friends with his peers. This shift is evident in the increasingly large number of Rotarians attending District Assemblies and Conferences and their keenness to organize picnics and games where members and their families can participate. Today, fireside meetings are very much on the increase and Rotarians look forward to such meetings.

Till the 1950s Community Service largely was limited to contributing money to build comfort structures in and around the city. The scenario changed substantially in 1960s and 1970s with the emergence of changing leadership whose perception of service was different from their predecessors. The new leadership believed in personal involvement of the new Rotarians and this resulted in organising massive projects like Community Eye Camps, Noon -Feeding of School Children, The Aginex - Exhibition etc. This trend continued for a number of years. The construction of the housing colony at Cheranellore, five year long construction of Rotary Balbhavn were projects which necessitated contribution of time, energy and money of individual Rotarians to a substantial extent.

1990s have seen a paradigm shift in this priority. A large number of our Rotarians are busy, very busy attending to their own professional demands, travelling far and wide. He is not able to spend much time on projects or services. So the Club looks for such activities which can be completed with minimum Rotarian participation but maximum contribution of money. The young member of the club puts in eight to ten hours every day. The mobile phone tinkles even during Rotary Meetings and he is not free from tensions any time. He looks to entertainment, enjoyment and an occasion to unwind himself. He does not mind to contribute Rs. 10,000/- or 15,000/- for a worthwhile cause.

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