At the last meeting Secretary Tim Wills gave Rotarians a travelogue of his time spent on tour in India in February 2017.
Tim acknowledged that despite significant misgivings, based on incorrect preconceptions held by himself and shared by others, it was indeed fortunate that he he found himself obliged to go, as the trip was not only thoroughly enjoyable but those areas he visited were both extremely interesting and overall very well organised and presented to the tourist.,
although some of the difficulties faced by the second largest population on earth were also clearly evident. ...he quoted figures that India had a million-plus millionaires, yet most Indians live on less than $2.00 a day, with 35% of this massive population living below the poverty line.

Over the centuries India had been the birth place of many aspects of everyday life, chess was invented there, as well as calculus, trigonometry, and algebra were all from India. In the year 100B.C. they developed the Dewey Decimal System and the concept of zero as a number is attributed to India. And education continues to be a key investment across the nation today.
Every major world religion is represented in India and by and large live harmoniously. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism all emanated out of India.

The British Raj or Rule lasted from 1858 to 1947 although their presence on the sub-continent goes back to the early 1700s. Hindi and English are the official languages of India although 17 other languages are recognised by the Indian Government.

It is the world’s largest tea producer and produces 70% of the World’s spices. Something which gave his listeners a moment of thought was that it is reported that Indian farmers often use Coca Cola or Pepsi as an inexpensive form of pesticide.

Tim said that some 14 million adults and children are reported to be  trapped in modern slavery and that the air in New Delhi is the most polluted in the world.

Another thought provoking fact was that more Indians have a mobile phone than access to a toilet.
           Kochi Cathedral                                            Alappuzha 'Backwagers'                             Up close and personal
Tea plantation near Thekkadi                                   Meenakshi Temple, Madurai  
Kerala according to Tim was a fascinating place; it has the highest ratio of women to men and a literacy rate of 94% the highest in the nation. With a life expectancy of 74 years it is also the highest in India. India is the 4th. largest producer of rubber and Kerala accounts for 91% of India’s output of the commodity.
There is a very strong Christian/Catholic community in Kerala, traditionally believed to have been established by St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles; the first Catholic Church was built in 52 AD. You can generally recognise a catholic man because his surname will be "Thomas". As well Kerala has the claim of having the first mosque in India and the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations constructed in 1567. The Hindu Temple of Padmanabhaswamy has no peer as the richest place of worship with an estimated $22 billion worth of gold and jewels stored in underground vaults.
The State of Tamil Nadu came into existence on January 26th. 1950 and according to the 2011 census has a population of more than 72 million, the 7th. highest in the Country. Its official language is Tamil which is one of the oldest surviving languages in the world, the capital is Chennai formerly known as Madras.

Tamil Nadu has a literacy rate of 80.3% and had the second highest Gross National Product based on mining and agriculture.
Kolkata was a lot more "full on", but a wonderful and exciting place to visit. And he would love to go back some time soon.

In summarising Tim said that it was a fascinating place to visit, with experiences of seeing extreme wealth and luxury to the depths of poverty and decay. In thanking Tim, Chairman for the evening Rotarian Dick, commended Tim for his excellent and informative presentation, reminding Members that Tim had once been an excellent teacher and that he had brought all his teaching skills to better educate the very attentive class of Rotarians.