What is Rotary


.....In the year year 1905, a young lawyer who was feeling somewhat lost and lonely in the
huge city of chicago, illinois, U.S.A., struck upon an idea. His idea was that businessmen should get together periodically in the spirit of camaraderie to enjoy each other's company and to enlarge their circle of business and professional acquaintances. Thus, Rotary was
born and the young lawyer was PAUL HARRIS. Paul Harris along with his three friends Silvester Schiele, a coal dealer, Gustavus E.loehr, a mining engineer and Hiram Shorey,
a merchant tailor met at Gus Loehr's office to discuss Paul's idea.

Out of their discussions came the idea of a men's club whose membership would be limited to one representative from each business and profession. Weekly meeting were to held at each member's place of business in turn. Hence, the name Rotary was adopted. After enlisting a fifth member harry Ruggles, a printer, the group was formally organised as the Rotary Club of Chicago.

Soon this organisation attracted a lot of attention and membership increased to the
extent that it was not possible to meet at a member's place of business. So the practice of holding weekly meeting at restaurants and hotels came into existence. A second club was founded three years later and by 1910 there were 16 clubs with 1.500 members. The first Rotary convention was held in 1910 at Chicago and the 16 clubs were united as " The National Association of Rotary Clubs", with Paul Harris as President and Chesley R. Perry as the Secretary. It was at this convention that the two slogans " He profits most who serves best" and "service above self" were coined and they were officially designated as

Rotary Mottoes at the 1950 Convention in Detroit,Michigan,U.S.A. In the year 1911, a Rotary Club was organised at Winnipeg,Manitoba,Canada,the first club to be organised outside the United States. Thus, Rotary became international, In the same year, National Rotarian the forerunner of THE ROTARIAN magazine, was born. The first Rotary Club in Europe was started in Dublin, Ireland and soon clubs were started in London and Manchester, England. The first Rotary Club in a non-English speaking country was
organised in 1916. in Havana(Cuba), no longer in existence.

In 1920, the movement spread through Continental Europe, South and Central America, Africa, Australia and Asia, thereby surpassing barriers of race, colour, creed, language and geography. Once the movement spanned the atlantic, it spread rapidly. As a result, at the Rotary Convention held in 1912,Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.A., the name was changed to "The International Association of Rotary Clubs" which was shortened to "Rotary International in the year 1922. Rotary's early emblem was a simple wagon wheel (in motion with dust) representing "civilization and movement".
This was designed by a member, Montague M.Bear, in the year 1905 and most of the early clubs adopted the wheel in some form or the other. In the year 1922, authority was given to create and preserve an emblem for the exclusive use of all Rotarians and accordingly in
1923 the present gear wheel with 24 cogs and 6 spooked was adopted. A key was added to signify that the wheel was a "worker and not an rider".

An official description of the emblem was adopted at the 1929 convention. Royal blue and gold were chosen as the official Rotary colours inscribed with the words "Rotary International" and the flag of Rotary was designated as a white field with the Rotary wheel emblazoned on its centre. This emblem is worn as a lapel button and identifies Rotarians around the world. This emblem may not be used for commercial purpose. Sydney W.Pascall and Vivian Carter two members of the Rotary Club of London, formulated what was called the 'Aims and Objects Plan'.

They directed their thoughts on service into four channels-Club Service, Community Service, Vocational Service and International Service. This new idea was widely discussed and presented to the R.I.Convention at Oostende, Belgium, in 1927. It was accepted and so
the four channels (later called Avenues) of service became a part of Rotary programme. Founder Paul Harris had exressed the desire to start a large educational endowment fund supported by contributions worldwide. The Rotary Foundation had become an established institution since 1928 when the Minneapolis Convention gave approval and amended the
R.I. By-laws to provide for such an institution, under the supervision of five trustees
(by 1981 these had been increased to 13).

However,it was Arch C. Klumph, the father of
the Foundation, who had indicated as early as 1917 that Rotary should accept endowments for the purpose of doing good in the world of charitable educational and other avenues of community progress. Soon after, Paul Harris's death in 1947, the first plan for the Foundation's Educational Awards was formulated and dedicated as a memorial to Rotary's founder. Since then the Rotary Foundation has remained entirely dependent on voluntary contributions from both Rotarians and non-Rotarians around the world. The major source of funding is from the Paul Harris Fellow recognitions which are granted to persons who contribute U.S.$ 1,000 or more to the foundation.

The five types of educational awards granted by the Rotary Foundation are Graduate, Undergraduate, Vocational and Journalism Scholarships and Scholarship for Teachers of the Handicapped. In addition, the foundation funds the Group study Exchange (which enable teams of young non-Rotarinan business and professional people to be exchanged between paired districts in different countries),special Grants(to support worth while educational and charitable projects of Rotary clubs and districts)grants for the Health,Hunger and Humanity(3-H) Programme(1979), to commemorate Rotary's 75th anniversary and Rotary Grants for University Teachers.

By the mid-1980's there were more than 23,000 Rotary Clubs in some 160 countries with a total membership exceeding 1 million. Thus what began as a simple idea of a young man's desire for friendship has snowballed into one of the largest service organisations of our times. Rotary could best be described in the words of Paul Harris when he said: "Rotary
is a miniature model of a world at peace, one which might advantageously be studied by nations. Rotarians believed that the universal application of tolerance and friendliness
would bring about the International Peace so earnestly desired by everyone.