Bindu Singh, governor-elect of Rotary district 3250 for 2015-16, addresses a news meet in Ranchi on Thursday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
When a team from Rotary Club (North), Ranchi, reached Rarha — an obscure, non-electrified village in Patratu valley — on Thursday to distribute solar lanterns among the needy, they hardly knew that a particular woman among them had invaded a male territory.
Bindu Singh of Patna will take over as the first-ever woman governor of Rotary district 3250 for 2015-16. The rotary district, which has 93 Rotary Clubs of Bihar and Jharkhand under it, elected her to the post during the district conference held in Varanasi last month.
Singh, however, does not consider her election as felling of a male bastion. She rather thanked the members “who not only stressed on women empowerment but also felt the need of the hour to treat both men and women as equals”.
Singh, a member of Rotary Club (south), Patna, which she joined in 2000, was in Ranchi for a two-day tour, beginning Thursday, and was introduced to a group of mediapersons at a function at Rotary Club (Central), Ranchi. She also teaches at Commerce College, Patna.
“I plan to undertake special action plan for literacy campaign and women’s empowerment during my tenure as the district governor. Besides, we will also launch a programme for providing pre-natal care to pregnant women,” Singh announced.
These works have already been taken up in Parsa Bazar and Hajipur areas of Bihar and will be extended to the entire district. “It will be in addition to the normal programmes that the club has been associated with,” she clarified.
Though Rotary International was founded in 1905, there was no woman member in the organisation for nearly eight decades. So Sylvia Whitlock drew attention when she became the first woman president of Rotary Club of Duarte, California, US. When she attended an international convention in London in 1988, she “was the first lady ever hosted” by the organisation.
But her fellow members received her very well so much that they “saluted my health and the Queen’s on the same glass”, wrote Whitlock, who became a district governor, in 2012-13.
“Rotary Club has over 2.15 lakh women members worldwide. About 16 per cent of the present district governors across the globe are also women. Ranchi has about 50 women members out of the total count of about 300,” said Hemant Kumar Gupta, secretary general of 3250 district.
Anil Singh of Rotary Club (north), Ranchi, who accompanied Singh to Rarha village, said they procured 120 solar lanterns from Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency at a subsidised rate of Rs 1,200 each and took Rs 400 from each of the beneficiaries. “We charged that sum as they will take proper care only if they pay something. We will also provide solar street lights soon, as the village has no electricity,” he added.