Syed Muthahar Saqaf
The visit during Pongal helps in understanding Indian culture
TIRUCHI: India’s model for overall development through women empowerment has evoked substantial interest among visiting youths of USA.
Led by Edith J. Barrett, a University Professor and a Rotarian, the group of four youths Kari L. Brantley, Megan C. Henderson and Ashley Gray, and the lone male member Arturo Rivas, all members of the Group Study Exchange (GSE) team of the Rotary International District 5790, Texas, USA, have so far spent a week in the central districts in the jurisdiction of Rotary District 3000, on their maiden visit to India.
They are making the most of the Rotary Foundation’s prestigious programme introduced in 1965 for the unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity to develop professional and leadership skills to address the needs of their communities.
They attended the annual conference of Rotary District 3000 at Madurai and arrived in Tiruchi on January 8.
The esteemed guests of perfect Rotarian hosts had this to say about Tiruchi: “This is a wonderful city and the highlight of our stay is the visit to Sri Tayumanavarswami Temple atop the Rockfort. We enjoyed the panoramic view of the whole city.”
Dr. Edith J. Barrett, team leader, was quite impressed with the initiatives for women empowerment, and is certain that the activities will go a long way in bringing about overall development of the nation.
Dr. Barrett and Megan Henderson sounded excited over the many similarities between America, a super power and India, the biggest democracy in the world. “Our stay here has proved that people of both the countries have many things of common interest. One striking feature is people of India are incredibly generous,” they say with beaming faces.
The team’s visit during Pongal season provided them the opportunity to understand Indian culture and traditions better.
They took part in a Pongal celebration with all traditional trappings at Vasavi Vidyalaya School on Wednesday.
“It is a unique experience and we feel that this is the only country where the farmers are given their due for feeding the whole society,” they said.
They felt honoured by the traditional welcome and enjoyed cooking sweet rice and playing uriyadi (pot breaking).
They could understand the architectural talent that prevailed in the country over 1,000 years by visiting Thanjavur Big Temple and Grand Anaicut.
They also visited banana food production, food processing, sanitary napkin production, jute products and garnet units in the district and also the National Research Centre for Banana in Thayanur.
Dinesh P. Khanna, Coordinator, GSE Hospitality, Tiruchi area; Rani Muralidharan, State president of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Tamil Nadu; T. Kumaaravel, secretary of the Rotary Club of Tiruchi Midtown; Shirley Deepak, Lecturer, Department of Visual Communication, Holy Cross College; and K. Ramakrishnan, president-elect of Rotary Club felt privileged to play hosts.
According to them, the team’s visit would strengthen Rotary bonding across the globe.
The Rotary family experience in a distant culture, they are sure, would enhance the visitors’ professional profile too.