Rotary Movement in Nepal

The idea of Rotary in Nepal germinated in mid-1958, when few visionaries including Dr. Jaya Narayan Giri (student of Dr. Shital Prasad Sinha), Mr. Gulab Harjani, Mr. Gopal Raj Bhandari, Mr. Manindra Raj Shrestha, Mr. Bishwa Nath Jajodia and few others met for the first time at Tripureswor residence of Dr. D. B. Dasgupta, the then royal physician, and discussed the possibility of forming a Rotary club in Nepal. After about a month, a second meeting, again at Dr. Dasgupta’s residence, on November 3, 1958, was attended also by Dr. Shital Prasad Sinha, the then President of the Rotary Club of Darbhanga (India) and his friend from Burmah Shell Durbhanga, proposed other members including General Kiran Shumshere Rana as the Charter President, Mr. Jagadish Shumshere Rana as Charter Secretary and members including Mr. Himalaya Shumshere Rana as Vice President, Mr. Shiba Prasad Rauniyar, l\/lr. Indramani Rajbhandari, Mr. Mani Harsha Jyoti etc. Consequently, the Rotary Club of Kathmandu was formally inaugurated by the then King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah as Patron-in-Chief of the Club on November 20, 1958 at Royal Hotel, Kantipath, while queen mother Ratna lighted 54 candles to mark 54th year of Rotary International.

The Rotary Club of Kathmandu was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Darbhanga (India) under Rotary International District 325’covering ”the State of Bihar, Nepal, Pakistan that portion including the province of East Bengal and Sikkim”. (http://www.rotaryfirst100.org/districts/districts/3290.htm)

Dr. Shital Prasad Sinha (classification medicinal education) was the sponsoring club president and Rtn. Surendra N.Varma (classification Mineral Oil Industry, Oil product distributing) was the Governor’s Special Representative (GSR) of Governor Rtn. Behram H. Engineer (RID 325) of Rotary Club of Dhanbad, India. The then Rotary International President Rtn. Clifford A Randall from Milwaukee, WI, USA had signed the Charter Certificate. of the RC Kathmandu along with the then RI Secretary Rtn. George R. Means from Greenwood IN, USA and admitted to the Rotary International on April 13, 1959.

Past Governor of RID 325 Justice Raj Kishore Prasad brought the Charter and was presented to the Club in its 32nd Regular Weekly Meeting on June 28, 1959 at Nepal Army Headquarters in the presence of Late King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah and 25 out of the 34 Charter members of the Club. In the meeting, PDG Raj Kishore said ”Your Majesty, today’s meeting is a historic meeting, which will be recorded in the golden letters in the annals of this District, nay, of the Rotary itself.

It is the first time in the history of Rotary that the charter presentation meeting is being attended by the King of a country. It is, therefore, a matter of great pride and joy to us that Your Majesty should have taken the trouble to honor this occasion and being gracefully pleased to present the Charter to the Kathmandu Club.”Thus, Nepal became the 111th country to have the presence of Rotary International.

The Charter members of the Rotary Club of Kathmandu attending the first meeting on November 20, 1958 are listed below (as per attendance sheet):

S. NoName of Charter MemberPortfolio
1Rtn. General Kiran SJB RanaPresident
2Rtn. Himalaya SJB RanaVice President
3Rtn. H. LalVice President
4Rtn. Jagadish SJB RanaSecretary
5Rtn. Manindra Raj ShresthaJoint Secretary
6Rtn. A. S. BhattacharyaJoint Secretary
7Rtn. Gopal Raj BhandariTreasurer
8Rtn. B. M.Venkora RaoDirectors
9Rtn. Sarada Prasad UpadhayaDirectors
10Rtn. Kumar Das ShresthaDirectors
11Rtn. Dr. DB. DasguptaDirectors
12Rtn. Keshav K. JoshiMembers
13Rtn. Bishwa Nath JajodiaMembers
14Rtn. Tom Charles MendiesMembers
15Rtn. Boris LessanawitchMembers
16Rtn. C.L. BajajMembers
17Rtn. M. S. ParashMembers
18Rtn. Gopi Ram GhiraiyaMembers
19Rtn. Shiba Prasad RauniyarMembers
20Rtn. Gulab S. HarjaniMembers
21Rtn. Parthiv Shumshere RanaMembers
22Rtn.Tarini Prasad KoiralaMembers
23Rtn. Bal Krishna ShresthaMembers
24Rtn. Dr. V. P. JacobMembers
25Rtn. Basindra Bikram ShahMembers
26Rtn. Capt. R. S. RandhawaMembers
27Rtn.  Jay Kumar Nath ShahMembers
28Rtn. Eric WatanabeMembers
29Rtn. Dr. C. S. HalderMembers
30Rtn. Naresh Kumar Das ShresthaMembers
31Rtn. N. P. ThapaMembers
32Rtn. Madan GuptaMembers
33Rtn. Gen. Arjun SJB RanaMembers
34Rtn. Kul Nath LohiyaMembers

 

Visiting Rotarians on November 20, 1958 Meeting.

1Rtn. Dr. Shital Prasad SinhaPresident, Rotary Club Darbhanga
2Rtn. Surendra N. VarmaGovernor’s Special Representative
3Rtn. K. D.-BaglaDarbhanga, India
4Rtn. Bimal KumarPatna, India

 

Other members, who joined the Club later were: Rtn. Ranjit Kumar Ghosh, Rtn. Hulas Chand Golchha, Rtn. Dr. Jogendra Jha, Rtn. Mani Harsha Jyoti, Rtn. Indramani Rajbhandari, Rtn.Dr. Jaya Narayan Giri etc.

Retired General Kiran SJB Rana was the Charter President of the club, serving the club for 4 years as president. Rtn. Jagdish SJB Rana served as Charter Secretary and Rtn. Gopal Raj Bhandari as Charter Treasurer of the Club.

Nepal, thus, became the 1620th Club to join Rotary international, after 54 years since its inception on February 23, 1905 in Chicago. USA. Rotary Club of Kathmandu was the first international service organization in this Himalayan country. It was in this meeting of Charter presentation on June 28,1959 that the Rotary Club of Kathmandu proposed a school for the blinds, and with the permission of His Majesty the king, the then Prime Minister announced the establishment of a School for the blind in Nepal. Rtn. Dr. D.B. Dasgupta prepared a fund raising plan for the school, to put a drama show with the troupe from Tagore’s Sure Mandir institute of Dance and Drama.The troupe performed two dramas ”Shyama”and Chittarangada”during November 25 to 29, 1959 in Janasewa Cinema hall, Kathmandu.

The Club had no fixed venue for meetings. So, the King Mahendra granted 10 ropanis of land at Thapathali and some fund for Rotary building construction. On May 11,1969 the existing Rotary building at Thapathali was inaugurated by the King Mahendra. Rotary International theme of the year  ”Help Shape the future” aptly shaped the future of Rotary In Nepal.

Rotary Club of Kathmandu later sponsored four of the earliest Clubs in Nepal: 

1Rotary Club of Biratnagar in August 1977 with PP Hulas Chandra Golchha as GSR
2Rotary Club of Patan in 1985 with Rtn. Kamal Mani Dixit as GSR
3Rotary Club of Kathmandu Midtown in 1989 with PDG Tehmas Manekshaw as GSR
4Rotary Club of Kathmandu North in 1993 with PDG Tehmas Manekshaw as GSR
Rotary Club of Kathmandu, established a school for the blind at Kirtipur as the first service project in 1959. Later, the Club organized several Rotary projects focusing primarily on Health, Hunger and Humanity. A mega eye camp was organized on March 19, 1966, in the two huge tents erected by Indian Trade Fair at Tundikhel, Kathmandu, where 7,000 patients were examined and 600 operations were done. King Mahendra also visited the eye camp. A second eye camp was held in Thapathali in 1967 with the help of Ophthalmologists from Bir Hospital and Sitapur Eye Hospital, India and treated 5,218 patients, and 520 operations were done. Rotary Nepal’s initiative for the ”Gift of Sight” is still a much awaited annual activity, thus culminating to the establishment of an eye hospital in Hetauda.

A children’s park in Bhrikutimandap was initiated in 1981.

The. Club worked in the eradication of Polio, first radio therapy unit established in Bhaktapur Hospital, first Cathlabs in Bir Hospital and Saheed Gangalal hospital, establishment of Eastern Hospital at Biratnagar, fIrst Maxillofaciai center at National Dental Hospital, supplies of medial equipment and several ambulances at various areas.

Charter Treasurer Rtn. Gopal Raj Bhandari of RC Kathmandu was later honored by the Rotary international as the first recipient of Rotary’s highest award ”Service Above Self” in 2003 in recognition of his unparalleled contribution In the Rotary movement in Nepal. Rtn Gopal Raj Bhandari dedicated himself for the establishment of a separate Rotary District for Nepal and died on February 17,2008 at the age of 87 years only after hearing the Rotary lnternational’ s decision to award a separate District 3292 for Nepal effective from July 1,2008.

PP Tehmas R. Manekshaw of RC Kathmandu became the first District Governor from Nepal of RI District 3290 in Rotary Year 1996/97. He also became the highest contributor to the Rotary Foundation from Nepal till he died on 31st December 2010 at the age of 74 years.

GROWTH OF ROTARY CLUB’S IN NEPAL

Rotary Club of Kathmandu remained the only Club in the country during 1959 to 1977 when Rotary Club of Biratnagar was charted. In 1985, two new Clubs (namely RC Dharan and RC Patan) were charted, followed by RC Birgunj in 1988, RC Kathmandu North in 1993. RC Janakpurdham formed in 1994 could not function well.

First 12 Rotary Clubs of Nepal

S. NO.RORATY CLUB OF CHARTER DATE
1Kathmandu13th April 1959
2Biratnagar22nd August 1977
3Dharan12th June 1985
4Patan29th August 1985
5Birgunj22nd March 1988
6Kathmandu Midtown8th November 1989
7Chitwan22nd April 1991
8Hetauda13th May 1992
9Butwal1st December 1993
10Kathmandu North29th December 1993
11Janakpurdham1994
12Patan West11th December 1995