This was during the inaugural function on 24 December 2011 at the Jamnabai Narsee auditorium, Vile Parle West, Mumbai. Dr R A Mashelkar inaugurated the series with a lecture on Reinventing India
Two decades ago, in a hall not far from here, an Indian R I President inaugurated one of Bombay West’s most prestigious projects- a Chair in Management of Non profit Organisations at a leading management institute in India. Today, twenty years after, we have another RI President, an Indian R I President-and I take the liberty of saying our own- President Kalyan Banerjee not to inaugurate but to witness the launch of a program in his name – the Kalyan Banerjee Leadership Lecture series. The Chair in Management was a momentous steo and has helped produce scores of young social entrepreneurs. It is our belief that today’s launch of the annual lecture series will prove equally auspicious and will have a significant social impact.
Both these projects address compelling concerns for change that we in Rotary seek to address.
When we thought of this lecture series, we thought of three areas that need strong emphasis.
The first is on Leadership. It is not surprising that Time Magazine’s 2011 Person Of The Year for is not a leader nor even any one individual but The Protester. Be it in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, or London, New York City or the maidans of India, the Protester has had the strongest presence in our collective consciousness. The Protester represents the huge disconnect we find between the leader and the led. There is a hunger for good, if not grea,t leadership . Perhaps the greatest challenge we face today, is the leadership challenge.
We have named these the Kalyan Banerjee Lecture series because, Kalyan Banerjee’s personal example and achievement as a leader have been an inspiration and will remain so to this and the new generations of leaders in Rotary.
The second emphasis is on Innovation. An article –Innovation’s Holy Grail – that our distinguished guest, Dr Mashelkar wrote in the Harvard Business Review last year along with the late Dr C K Prahlad in the Harvard Business Review in October last year, sought to demystify innovation and projected a model they called l the Gandhian Approach. Affordable innovation that we in Rotary can take up for service of the community in areas like low cost health care, education, housing, and credit.
These lectures will therefore leadership that can make a difference through innovation.
The third emphasis is on sustainable change. The ultimate test of our efforts here will be the results they produce and the sustainability of those results. We would therefore like our discussions to be not intellectual exercises but a call for action that would make promote sustainable social change and make at least a small difference in the lives of the community we serve. That is why we have decided to express our gratitude for contribution to social change by instituting the Kalyan Banerjee Change Maker Award.
Through this project of Bombay West, we hope to bring to you outstanding thinkers who can shine a spotlight on the future of India and help shape the national development agenda. If these series of lectures result in even a small Rotary project that has great potential for social and economic transformation, in our club or in any club or even outside Rotary, we will consider ourselves blessed. That will be a unique and the best tribute to President Kalyan. It would be a small but significant step for us to Reach Within and Embrace Humanity.