Interview of Rotarian Deepak Agrawal | SpeakBindas
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Interview of Rotarian Deepak Agrawal

Mr. Deepak Agrawal in yellow shirt

Mr. Agrawal in yellow shirt.

1967 born, Mr. Deepak Agrawal is a Rajkot based Rotarian, who is involved in various social activities through the medium of Rotary Club of Rajkot Midtown(RCRM). He is the ex-President of the club for the year 1999 – 2000 and future District Governor (3060) for the year 2011 – 2012.

Over the years, RCRM has performed various societal activities. They have over 45 permanent projects, e.g. Rotary Dolls Museum, Rotary Midtown Library, Rotary Midtown Dam and many others.

Mr. Agrawal is a passionate Rotarian who carries a creative brain and has been a key person in many of the projects of Rotary Club. He shares his experiences with us.



VIDEOS OF INTERVIEW WITH MR. DEEPAK AGRAWAL

Part 1

Part 2

Speakbindas:

  • Mr. Agrawal, welcome to Speakbindas.com Tell us, when you joined Rotary Club of Rajkot Midtown (RCRM)?

Rtn. Deepak Agrawal:

  • Namaste. In 1994 – 95. Actually we were the pioneers. We 16 friends, thought that let us do something for the society and we 16 friends were regularly meeting on every Sunday at the Race Course ring road and then we thought that for so many years we are meeting but now let us do something creative and something useful for the social cause. So that’s the reason why we started this Club.

Speakbindas:

  • You are one of the pioneer founders for RCRM, apart from you who else are the pioneer founders?

Rtn. Deepak Agrawal:

  • Dr. Jatin Modi, Dr. Niranjan Parikh, Hitesh Anadkat, Vijay Nagrecha, Dinesh Jivrajani, Vikram Sanghani and few other friends, total of 16 we thought of starting this club. Today we are 121 plus members.

Speakbindas:

  • Ok, how have been the experiences so far as being a Rotarian?

Rtn. Deepak Agrawal:

  • Oh! It’s been fantastic. You know as a single person, sometimes the things which you feel like you want to something big. But because you are alone you can’t do it. But because of the umbrella of Rotary you can do many things. You can help people; you can know what are their needs and according to their needs you can act collectively and the impact is very huge. (I received) the fellowship, the friendship all over the globe especially in my state of Gujarat. If you don’t have business or connections in say Ahmedabad or Baroda or Anand then you never know anybody there but because of Rotary today I got friendship of more than 1.2 million people all over the world and Rotary (Club) is in 200 countries so this is fantastic. Rotary has provided me a fantastic chance of friendship and fellowship.

Speakbindas:

  • Is there any specific reason for you to be involved in the societal services? I mean, is it inherited?

Rtn. Deepak Agrawal:

  • Very nice question. Yes, I will say it is inherited. My father along with doing the business has helped many people. He has touched many lives. And from my childhood I have seen people coming to my father and say “Wow, Mohanbhai, you have done something good for us“. My father has never joined a social club or so but by doing his profession or business he was helping people. So this is how you know it has inherited in me that if you can bring a smile on somebody’s face, it is fantastic.

Speakbindas:

  • And which different positions you have served the Rotary Club with so far?

Rtn. Deepak Agrawal:

  • I think that (any) position to serve the humankind that is the best position. But yeah there are different ladders when you have a very structured (system). Rotary is a very structured organization, the oldest NGO on the planet earth you can say. It was started in 1905 and all other NGOs are started after that. So it is the oldest NGO surviving on earth today. I am going to be the District Governor of my district 3060 in 2011 – 12. I am the ex-president of Rotary Club of Rajkot Midtown for year 1999 – 2000.

Speakbindas:

  • Give us a brief on various activities and projects of Rotary Club of Rajkot Midtown.

Rtn. Deepak Agrawal:

  • Oh! It’s numerous. We have touched you know more than 1 million people in 14 – 15 years. We have provided safe drinking water system in all the in all the Municipal schools, Nagar Parthmik Shikshan Samiti Shala, we have constructed a huge dam over river Lapasari from which the Aji River (Aji Dam) every year get 1.2 MCFT water which is of cost 10 crore of Indian rupees if you count in terms of money. With the help of another NGO Arvindbhai Maniar Jan Kalyan Trust, we have started a dolls museum which is also a very unique place in Rajkot and Government of Gujarat has marked it as the tourism spot of Gujarat. And you know, because of dolls museum every year 600 – 700 people who were never to visit to Rajkot, visit it and thus it helps the economy of Rajkot too.
  • We have done more than 45 permanent projects. We have constructed 6 municipal schools. One school in Metoda we have started which is run by Galaxy Education system. With the help of Rajkot Municipal Corporation, we have started a library on Amin Marg in Rajkot which is a very unique place. We run a very good medical centre with ultra modern facility near Jansata Press, we run a diabetic centre, a dental centre, a physiotherapy centre, back-ache clinic, an ear clinic, cardio centre, a laboratory. We are also helping the street children with another NGO Pujit Rupari Memorial Trust. So we are spread all over. We work in Tramba which is about 16 kilometres from Rajkot, there we have started a X-ray clinic and pathology centre. We are helping the Kasturba Dham. So many things we are into. You name the area and you will find that we have done something for it and we wish to do more.

Speakbindas:

  • And about the Rotary Midtown Library you were just about to talk, I recently visited it personally and I had no idea that such a state-of-the-art library can exist in Rajkot even though I am living here for last 10 years. While I visited it I saw the digital compartment as well as all the books. It was very much organized, computerized with bar code verification system for issuing new book/CD. So how was the idea of establishing such an advanced library initiated?

Rtn. Deepak Agrawal:

  • First of all very sorry that we are very poor in publicity which is the reason many people don’t know about us yet. We need to work on that (smiles….). Actually, in the year 2005 – 06, the then Municipal Commissioner of Rajkot invited us and told me that this is the place and why don’t you take up the project of library? We felt very good that somebody from the Government body is inviting us. Then they short-listed us. We accepted the project.
  • Then we did a survey in the city and found that there were 11 to 12 libraries in Rajkot. So when we asked people their view on establishing a new library they told us that there are 11 – 12 libraries already in the city, what new you will do? So we thought, we would do something different. Things which we thought that we should provide what no other library is providing then we can generate a market.
  • Then from Lok Mela Samiti, they provided us some fund, also building was given to us. RMC has taken a contract with us that we have to provide 11 lac of material, but instead we have given more. We provided material (books, audio/video CDs) of 18 lac to the library. Our area was to focus on people of from age 5 to 50, and where people want to learn something new. Like today, we have more than 220 magazines which I believe very few libraries or no library in Gujarat may be having.
  • The presentation of this library was done in Prime Minister’s office by the then Municipal Commissioner. And this was the sentence told by Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister “Every city must have a library based on the role model of Rotary Midtown Library.
  • We also have many audio books that very few corporate libraries like Tara, Reliance or Infosys have. We have audio books on management which are very costly but we want people, students of the city to get the things out of it and then they can produce (the knowledge) in their words. So we want to create an atmosphere and provide such informative things that students from city become I.A.S. and so.
  • A very good incident I would like to tell you. One mother (who is the member of our library) told me “Mr. Agrawal I want to thank you”. I said “what purpose, madam?”. She said “My son was not reading at home and he was not serious about his studies.” And you know one book can change the life, and this is the true example of it. She then said “I presented him the membership of the library, and he took a book named How IITians can make a difference. It had such a fantastic impression on him that now he is reading about 18 hours a day and I am worried about his food! His only one goal is to get into the IIT.”

Speakbindas:

  • How can people from the society get associated or join the Rotary Club?

Rtn. Deepak Agrawal:

  • Rotary is by invitation. It’s not like that you can go to the Rotary office, pay the fees and become its member. It’s always by invitation. But there are some norms for becoming its member like the person should be doing his/her profession very ethically, he/she should be in top in his/her profession like top 5 or top 10 and from one profession not more than 2 to 3 people are allowed. But now Rotary has given little bit of relaxation in the last term I said. Basics of the Rotary Club is like it should be the cross-section of the society. So if you wish to join, you can go to Rotary website (www.rotary.org) and give the application and it will be passed through the concerned Rotary Club.

Speakbindas:

  • The last question for you is that, from your life experiences of business and doing societal services, what message you would like to give to people?

Rtn. Deepak Agrawal:

  • Amm… tough one (smiles…). I am not that old to give messages! But experiences, I will definitely say. Like if you are in social service, there are people who will say this is wrong and this is right but if you are totally clear in your heart, you should see in the future and you should work for the future generation and Education is the key. I believe that in our society, if we work more on education, all other bed elements like poverty can be eliminated. So we should work for the Education.

About

Devang Vibhakar is the Founder and Editor of www.SpeakBindas.com. He has interviewed more than 350 people. His effort was recognized by Limca Book of Records, twice. He has been to Scotland as well as Germany as part of vocational & cultural exchange programs and has compiled five books so far. He's passionate about bringing forth interesting stories & interviews of entrepreneurs to avid readers of SpeakBindas. He can be reached here.

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About

Devang Vibhakar
Devang Vibhakar
(Editor, www.SpeakBindas.com)
SpeakBindas is a Limca Book of Awards winning blog. It's a PR3 blog with 1000+ articles & Interviews. Devang Vibhakar - Founder - has interviewed more than 350+ people and has been to Scotland, London & Germany. He's a writer, speaker, traveler & movie-goer !! He has also written four books. He's passionate about bringing forth interesting stories & interviews of people from various sectors of life to avid readers of SpeakBindas. You can reach him here .