Closed to outsiders for more than two centuries, the group finally opens up

The ‘secretive’ Freemasons, the stuff of lore, have opened up their doors for the public to know what the group is all about. After staying closed for more than two centuries in India, the group held its ‘Divine ceremony’ on Saturday and allowed media and public to be part of it.

The ceremony was held at the three-century-old Goshamahal Baradari Masonic Building here on Saturday. The city last played host to such an event 22 years ago. The service was conducted by Grand Master of Grand Lodge of India Vasudev J. Masurekar.

Dressed in the customary dress, the Grand Master and his subordinates marched up to the stage in a procession holding different religious scriptures.

After a brief welcome address, a few verses from the Bhagavad-Gita, Quran, Bible, Guru Granth Sahib and Zend Avesta were read and their meanings explained in English so as to emphasise oneness and commonality of all religions.

A portrait of the Grand master was also unveiled on the occasion.

For most in the audience, the event resembled a stately function as the group members were attired in dresses and uniforms similar to those worn by royals.

People also got to know about the activities and meetings.

“There is nothing secretive about the society or its activities.

The group with over four million members world over does not want to make public its charitable activities,” the Grand Master told presspersons on the sidelines of the event.

Freemasonry came to India in 1730 with officers of the East India Company holding their meetings in Fort William, Calcutta. In Hyderabad, it was started in 1810 and now has about 17 lodges (branches) in the twin cities with about 700 members.

More In: Hyderabad