In 1717 A.D. when an era of comparative peace and harmony dawned on the
European scene, the United Grand Lodge of England and Scotland took shape at a meeting of the local Lodges
of London, to elect a Grand Master. A United constitution was drawn up and recognized by all the Lodges.
A democratic tradition in the election of the Worshipful Master of a Lodge was prescribed. The Worshipful
Master was authorized to appoint his team of officers. It is therefore of interest that within 12 years
of the constitution of the Grand Lodge of England, constituted for the purpose of exercising supervision
over the lodges in London, and its neighbouring areas, a petition was sent by a few Brethren in India to
constitute a Provincial Grand Lodge in Calcutta. The Petition having been granted, a Provincial Grand Master
was appointed to supervise Masonic activity in India and the Far East in 1728 A.D. Full details regarding
how the First Lodge was constituted in India, are preserved in the Minutes of the Grand Lodge in London.
First a petition was presented on December 28, 1728 and at the end of the minutes of that meeting,
the text of the “Deputation” from the Grand Master: “to Empower and Authorize our well beloved Brother
Pomfret…. that he do, in our place and stead, constitute a regular Lodge, in due form at Fort William in
Bengal in the East Indies….” This was signed and sealed “the 6th day of February 1728 and in the year of
Masonry 5732 (which shows that Grand Lodge used Usher’s Chronology in dating the Masonic era – as the Grand
Lodge of Scotland still do).
The Lodge at Fort William — that is, Calcutta — appears in the Engraved List
of 1730, as No. 72. It was to meet at Fort William in Calcutta. The coat of Arms was adopted from the East
India Company a golden lion, rampant guardant, supporting between the forepaws a regal crown. In 1729,
Captain Ralph Farwinter was appointed “Provisional Grand Master for East India in Bengal” and also James
Dawson as “Provincial Grand Master” for East Indies.
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Madras was formed in 1752 and The Provincial
Grand Lodge of Bombay was created in 1758. Although it appeared in the Roll of Grand Lodge there is no
record of how it came into being.
The first Indian Mason was Omdat-ul-Omrah, Nawab Carnatic, initiated in 1775.
The doors to Hindu Masonry was flung wide-open might one say, by the unstoppable determination of one
Mr. P.C. Dutt of Calcutta to become a member of the craft. After much opposition from the Provincial
Grand Master (Hugh Sanderman) and nine years after he was proposed for initiation Mr. Dutt became
Bro. Dutt in Anchor and Hope, No. 234, in 1872. Twenty-three years later, he was Deputy District Grand
FOUNDATION OF BIRTH OF GRAND LODGE OF INDIA
It was towards the end of October 1959 that the Most W. Grand Masters of
England, Ireland and the Immediate Past Grand Master Mason of Scotland met in London to discuss the future
of Freemasonry in India. The three Grand Masters considered that “an independent Grand Lodge of India is
desirable and that its establishment should be gradually but actively pursued.” A representative Steering
Committee was set up consisting exclusively of Indian Brethren in proportion to the number of Lodges under
each of the three Constitutions, with R.W. Bro Lt. Gen. Sir Harold Williams, K.B.E., C.B., as Chairman,
with the aim of establishing an independent Grand Lodge of India on the best possible foundations.
The Steering Committee met at important centres of Masonic activities in the North, East, South and West
of India and its report was unanimously signed early October 1960. On December 1, the three Grand Masters
issued “Notes on the proposed Grand Lodge of India for the information and guidance of Lodges in India.”
Therein they reiterated their declared attitude towards an independent Grand Lodge of India, but left it
to Lodges in India to decide whether to opt for or against joining such a body, adding that if the Brethren
in India decided in favour of an independent Grand Lodge, they would accept the decision and establish with
it the closest fraternal relations and that Lodges not wishing to participate would continue to enjoy
the existing rights under their respective Grand Lodges. Out of a total of 277 individual Lodges in India
(excluding Pakistan, Ceylon and Aden, which were excluded for the poll) 145 opted for the new Grand Lodge
of India. This represented a little over 52 per cent.
The Grand Lodge of India was officially constituted at ten minutes to
six o’clock on Friday the 24th November 1961 in the Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi. There were three delegations
from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, Ireland and England in that order.
After the three delegations were received and greeted, the Grand Master
Mason of Scotland proceeded with the Consecration. Thereafter, The Deputy Grand Master of Ireland officially
constituted the new Grand Lodge saying “in the name of the Grand Lodges of England, Ireland and Scotland
and by the command of their Grand Master, I constitute and form you, my good Brethren into the Sovereign
Grand Lodge of India, you are empowered henceforth to exercise all the rights and privileges of a Grand
Lodge according to the ancient usages and landmarks of the Craft. May the Grand Architect of the Universe
prosper, direct and counsel you in all your proceedings.”
After the Consecration and Constitution, the Deputy Grand Master of England
assumed the Throne and installed Major General Dr. Sir Syed Raza Ali Khan, G.C.I.E., D.Litt. LL.D.,
His Highness The Nawab of Rampur, as the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of India. The Aprons,
Collars, Gauntlets etc. for the new Lodge were provided jointly by the three parent Grand Lodges.
In addition to the three parent Grand Lodges the M.W. Grand Master of the
Grand Lodges of the State of Israel, the M.W. Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta (Canada) and
about 1,491 Brethren from all over India were present at this historic event.
FOUNDATION OF REGIONAL GRAND LODGE OF WESTERN INDIA
The Regional Grand lodge of Western India,is one of the four arms,administering Masonic activities,Lodges and Brethren,on behalf of M.W.
the Grand Lodge of India, in the Western Region comprising of the States of Maharashtra,Gujrat,Madhya Pradesh Chhatttisgarh and the Union Territory of Daman,Diu,Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
The Regional Grand Lodge of Western India was inaugurated on 6th December 1961 at the Sandhurst Temple, Freemasons’ Hall. Raveline Street(Damodardas Sukhadwala Marg),Fort Mumbai, at the august hands of M.W.Bro.Bhogilal C. Shah,OSM when R.W.Bro.Pestonji P Kapadia was installed as the first Regional Grand Master of the Regional Grand Lodge of Western India.R.W.Bro Pestonji P. Kapadia appointed,invested and obligated W.Bro.Dr. Rustom.S Davar as the first Deputy Regional Grand Master and W. Bro Jay Kishan Narang as the Assistant Regional Grand Master, respectively.