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

Kerala Dance

Terpsichore, daughter of the Gods then had her sway and we had a potpourri of Kerala dance numbers both popular and classical interpreted brilliantly by Madhavan of international repute assisted by a troupe of talented amateurs.

Initial years of the Rotary Club of Cochin were mostly spent as a social club rather than as a service club. It was more because the idea of service at grass root level had not caught up with Rotary at least in our country. “Vocational Service” in those days has been the major ingredient of Rotary just as Paul Harris intended it to be from the start in 1905.

Yet when occasion arose, our predecessors did not hesitate to go to the rescue of our less fortunate brethren or organise themselves to serve a common cause. Then Cochin State was ravaged by a devastating cyclone in July 1941 and many were rendered homeless. Our Club under the leadership of Rtn. T.K. Krishna Menon rose to help the needy. I quote from the bulletin dated 15th August, 1941:

“Dance Pageant”. This was the ambitious caption on handbills and posters described as a benefit performance under the auspices of our Club in aid of the relief fund organised by the Government to help those rendered destitute and homeless by the recent cyclone havoc in the State.

So at 6.30 p.m. on the 9th instant the vast auditorium of Menaka Theatre, Ernakulam was packed to capacity. Among the distinguished audience was the consort to H.H. the Maharaja of Cochin and many Princes of the ruling house. The father of the idea was Rtn. Achutha Menon – he was Chief Secretary to the Government and succeeded Sir Shanmukham as acting Dewan. Our thanks in this connection are due to him and to those Rotarians and their wives who blithely took upon themselves the onerous task of selling tickets to the public. From the crowd we had at the theatre, one can confidently say that their labours were amply rewarded.

A few Rotarians, it must be woefully admitted, refused to co-operate in any manner with the general effort”

The Bulletin dated 13th September, 1941 shows as follows:-

“Accounts” : The President announced that the variety entertainment has yielded Rs. 634-8-0 and that the Board of Directors has decided to give Rs. 34-8-0 to the School for the Blind, Kunnamkulam and the balance to the State Cyclone Relief Fund. He also expressed appreciation of the Club for the services done by the Secretary and some of the other members in making the entertainment a success it decidedly was.

The donation of Rs. 100/- from the Rotary Club of Bombay for the Cyclone Relief Fund was also announced and gratefully acknowledged.”

We must remember that these were dry when there were no Matching Grants or Community Service Trust and monthly subscription was Rs.5/- which included one lunch and one dinner. Rs. 600/- will have been a lordly sum then!

Later on when the Second World War was raging in Europe and Africa and Burma and Singapore and its ripples reached the shores of India and made our Rotarians restless to do something in aid of the War Fund, we organized a carnival on Saturday the 24th of January, 1942 at the Ram Mohan Palace (Present Kerala High Court) and the proceeds of the same an amount of Rs. 6637-11-11 was presented to Rotarian A.F.W. Dixon (Our member and Dewan of Cochin) by Rtn. Governor H.M. Desai during his official visit to the Club on 7th March, 1942 – A creditable achievement considering the value of money in those days. A detailed report of the carnival is best given in the words of T. Bhaskara Menon, Club Secretary and Bulletin Editor.

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