BOOK REVIEW: Rotarians ahoy

Rotarians must first of all be congratulated for their combined efforts to have brought out this monumental tome Nepal — Celebrate Rotary (edited by Bishwa Keshar Maskey) on the occasion of the Rotary Centennial and more specifically on the completion of four and half decades of work in Nepal. It is thus not only a look back into the past but also a glimpse of the future, keeping in mind the actions to be taken in the years ahead.

Prof Bishwa K Maskay has given a very concise and relevant preface, with the aid of which the objective of the book, its breakdown/division into parts, the themes running through it, the work done so far and intentions for the future are all highlighted. This preface is therefore a “must read” if one is to derive benefit of this laudatory work.

This tome of 392 pages is broken down into eight chapters. The fourth chapter which has been divided into different fora such as health, education, environment, population and development, poverty reduction, water and women in Rotary is a major part of the book. Add 32 pages of Chapter 3 to this and one realises how health and education matters are important constituents of it.

The introductory contribution to the health related forum states that Rotary in the health sector is not limited to conducting health camps and running clinics. It states that Nepal has so far received 3-H Grants from The Rotary Foundation and that all of these have been in the health sector. As such grants are supposed to be highly competitive, one is given to understand that the Rotarians of Nepal have been doing good work in this area.

Another contribution states that Rotary should be more visible in the community. Stress has, over the years, been laid on blindness, safe motherhood, public and private mix, millennium development goals (MDG), poverty reduction, disability, HIV/AIDS. It has been stated that Rotarians should perhaps be more involved in social issues and on important aspects as women’s empowerment.

The book is user-friendly in that the contributions as a whole, being short and succinct, can be read in a few minutes even whilst browsing through it. Looking at it with a broad vision, one hopes that the many Rotarians and well wishers, will pick and choose thoughts and ideas of the contributors so that what has been successfully implemented in one place can be modified and adapted to function in another.

Last but not the least is the eighth chapter which contains as many as 112 pictures. It has been said ‘a picture may convey more than a thousand words’. This collection of pictures, thoughtfully chosen, shows the various activities, the personages involved and the many bystanders who are generally the beneficiaries of the projects supported and carried out by Rotarians.