Monday, May 9, 2011

Masons Spreading Light—Literally—in India

Light is a central symbol within Freemasonry. Metaphorically, the progress of a Mason through Masonry’s degrees of initiation is a journey to light. Masons also hold dear such values as relief, and service to the community. The Grand Lodge of India is combining these aspects of symbolic Masonry, by spending resources to bring electrification and light to villages throughout India.

The online news service DNA: Daily News & Analysis has reported that the Grand Lodge of India is celebrating its Golden Jubilee by bringing solar-powered electricity projects to 50 villages throughout India. DNA reports that the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Capt. Dr. Balaram Biswakumar stated the following: “We have embarked on project Jyotirgamaya (Let there be light), under which we plan to light up 50 villages in the country using solar energy. Work for the project is in different stages of implementation in 26 villages. We plan to cover 50 villages by October 31.”

You will find an English-language .pdf file describing the Jyotirgamaya project on the Grand Lodge of India website, here. At least for the moment, the home page of the Grand Lodge of India features links to news reports and photographs of the project, available here.

An article on the mobile edition of The Times of India reports how this project is taking shape in Ahmedabad, India, through the efforts of Fellowship Lodge. It looks like each one of these fifty electrification projects will change hundreds of lives.

Freemasonry in India dates back to 1730, less than a generation after the establishment of the first Grand Lodge in London (1717). In the 18th and early 19th centuries, lodges in India functioned under English, Dutch, French, Scottish, Danish, and Irish Constitutions. Although European Masons were the sole members of Indian lodges in early years, the initiation of ethnic Indians began in the early 18th Century, with Muslim Indians initiated at least as early as 1812, Hindu Indians following in 1857, and Sikh Indians in 1861. Lodges under English, Irish, and Scottish constitutions combined to form the Grand Lodge of India on November 24, 1961 (hence the push to electrify fifty villages by the end of October, in celebration of the Golden Jubilee year).

The Masonic brethren of India are to be commended for celebrating their Golden Jubilee with a massive act of service to their communities. This should be an example to all of us, wherever Masonry is found. Such an act of service, addressing a vital community need, is a good example of how Freemasonry is to exert its influence for the good of humankind. Each of us should ask himself, “What is my lodge/Grand Lodge doing?”

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Copyright 2011 Mark E. Koltko-Rivera. All Rights Reserved.