Rotary Club of Madras Central was proposed by late PDG Dr. Sundararaman and late KV Srinivasan of The Rotary Club of Madras. They first convinced Mr. CR Ramakrishnan, Managing Director of L&T – ECC to be the Charter President with Indu Chandok as Vice President and S Chandrasekar as Secretary. Then came the challenge of selecting the name and a suitable logo – two elements that would differentiate the club forever in the world of Rotary International. The decision was spontaneous – since the club was given jurisdiction over central Madras, the name “Madras Central” was agreed upon as most appropriate. The logo thereafter, the ‘Madras Central Station’ – a building that is central in the city of Madras and undeniably, remarkably apt for the name Madras Central.
The trio now faced the daunting task of choosing the membership of the club – the elite set of individuals who would forever carry with them the distinction of being the Charter members of the Rotary Club of Madras Central. As was the practice in Rotary International, the group went through tens of classifications and short-listed 50 applicants by cross checking credentials through several sources.
Ensuring adherence to all Rotary requirements, they then finalized the charter membership of what would soon become one of the most envied clubs in District 323. Madras Central was provisionally inaugurated on 2nd November 1981 into Rotary District 323. (The District was re-zoned as 3230 much later). Rotary International admitted the club as its member on 29th January 1982 and the Charter was presented by the then District Governor G Swaminathan to President CR Ramakrishnan on 9th April 1982 at the just opened Taj Coromandel.
Principles on which the club was formed were: Discipline in attendance, Discipline in Time (Punctuality), Projects to be passed on & maintained by subsequent Presidents and Strict adherence to Rotary principles focusing on Community Service and Club Service.
Meetings even today follow the official protocol that was initiated from the beginning; they start on the dot, regardless of who is present. The President is first collared after which he officially calls the meeting to order with the strike of the gavel. It has been an on-going tradition in Madras Central, to conduct a mid-year dipstick assessment of milestones achieved and progress made – a practice that can be benchmarked with the midyear Pioneer in many programs.
The club had set several milestones in the Charter year itself. Some of them are:
Margaret Sidney hospital was taken over in the very first year itself from Ganesh Mandali. Rotors sports was conceived and conducted for all the clubs of Madras for Rotarians and their families Won the RAT Award for the best club of the district given by Rotary International, in the first year itself.
A directory consisting of all members of the club and their families and the program for the entire year was printed, circulated to the members in advance!!!
The club newsletter, ‘The Tower’, an extra- ordinarily designed monthly bulletin, was started in the first year due to the efforts of Rtn M Ramasubramanian who was in the publishing business and Secretary Chandrasekar. This was an ambitious project at that time, but one that has proved a great success through the years. The editorial committee keeps everyone updated on all club happenings, including members’ birthdays and anniversaries in the month through this Magazine.
Fellowship meetings were conducted during very last Saturday. This was attended by spouses and children of members who contributed to develop a team work culture in the club. This went a long way to make RCMC families into a single family.
Over the years RCMC has spawned four new clubs – Rotary Club of Central Aditya, Rotary Club of Maraimalai Nagar, Rotary Club of Chennai Central Elite and Rotary Club of Chennai Radiance; it has produced two District Governors, the first PT Prabhakar and the second, SVRM Ramanathan; it successfully started the Inner Wheel Club of Madras Central as well as Rotaract and Interact clubs, today we have 7 interact clubs; it has won several awards over the years, including the Golden R.A.T. (Rationalization action Trophy) for the Best Club in District 3230 and the Silver R.A.T. for the most balanced activities, more than once