Chennai: One of the world’s oldest enigmatic organisations — the Freemasons — who spend hefty sums of money for social cause but seldom publicise, has built a grand structure at Mambakkam in Chennai’s southern suburbs to provide healthcare facilities besides improve the livelihood opportunities of the villagers around by providing skill development training.
Of course, there is a Freemasons Hall, which will be made available for the use of other Masonic Lodges in the neighbourhood and a Masonic Temple too.
Not many are aware of the Freemasonry. Their secret and elaborate rituals involve a checkered-board floor and their lodges are run well by 'Grand Masters.' Their architecturally striking buildings bear the 'Square and Compass,' so conspicuous of Freemasons. As the name indicates, they are expected to be experts in architecture and possess knowledge of astronomy.
“Over the years distinguished personalities from diverse field got initiated into the organisation and there are many medical doctors too,” says R.W. Bro. S Krishnan Founder Mason of Lodge Satsang No: 396.
India's first President Rajendra Prasad, first Vice-President S. Radhakrishnan, Swamy Vivekananda and a host of other eminent Indians, were also Freemasons.
Tracing the origin of Freemasonry, the leading fraternal organisation in the world, Mr Krishnan, said in 1717 A.D., the Grand Lodge of England took shape at a meeting of the local Lodges of London, to elect a Grand Master. A United constitution was drawn up and recognised by all the Lodges. A democratic tradition in the election of the Worshipful Master of a Lodge was prescribed. The Worshipful Master was authorised to appoint his team of officers.
“The Freemasonry unites men of good character who, despite with different religious, ethnic or social backgrounds, share a belief in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of mankind. We believe in this religiosity,” he says.
The honor of receiving Freemasonry in India goes to Calcutta. In 1730 officers of the East Indian Company held their meetings in Fort William, Calcutta and the number given to the Lodge was 72. Next to it Chennai (then Madras) was the oldest Lodge and they held meetings in the Fort St George. Freemasons built their magnificent Hall on Commander-in-Chief (now Ethiraj) Road in the 1920s and the first Mount Lodge was at St Thomas Mount
“And ours is the youngest here, probably in the country, too. Lodge Satsang No.396, was consecrated on April, 30, 2015,” Mr. Krishnan adds.
W. Bro. M Venkateswaran, Worshipful Master Lodge Satsang No.396, says his organisation has been a force uniting men to reach out to society and in the process groomed them to be ideal citizens. “The Freemasons is a great platform for men who aspire to become better in life and to develop leadership qualities,” he said.
The Masonic Temples at Mambakkam (on Vandalur-Kelambakkam Road), city's periphery, will enable brethren to have a convenient place to meet. “This is the first new Temple constructed in the city over the last 95 years,” he said. It was dedicated on December 2.
The Primary Health Centre will cater to the needs of nearly 5,000 people in the village and more around in the nearby villages and function 6 days a week.
The skill development centre, will primarily support women in the neighbourhood villages, to supplement the income of the households, besides gainful utilisation of their time....