Hyderabad: The Freemason brotherhood, an ancient, international and quite secretive fraternity has been known for charity work across the globe. Closer to home, the Freemasons of Telangana have been doing the same and a lot more in the last year of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Madanmohan Lal, one of the three Assistant Regional Grandmasters (ARGM) of Freemason of Telangana, one of the key activities of all the chapters, or Lodges as they are referred to, of Freemasonry in Hyderabad is related to food.
“We set up free kitchens and over the last one year, we served food to about 800 people every day. Apart from this, we also took up a novel initiative called ‘Project Bun’, where we distributed buns, bananas and biscuits to sanitation workers and homeless people, on a daily basis,” says Lal.
Apart from this, they also distributed personal protective equipment (PPEs), medical supplies, masks, sanitisers, dry fruits and juices to healthcare workers at Gandhi hospital, Durgabhai Deshmukh hospital and according to Madulette, another ARGM, they also initiated a programme where they started providing oxygen concentrators for the needy.
“We acquired 15 oxygen concentrators and we started giving them for free to the ones who need it. Whoever needed them, could use them and return them once they recovered,” says Madulette.
Additionally, through the Gift-A-Livelihood programme, they also enabled over 150 people to sustain themselves. “Many lost their livelihoods because of the pandemic and through this initiative, we ensured they got equipment and tools to enable them to start a small business or a profession. We did six rounds of this so far and we plan on continuing this,” says D Ramachandram, an ARGM, adding that the project cost Rs 7.5 lakh as part of which they gave cycles, stoves, sewing machines and other equipment.
What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is a 3000-year-old fraternity that exists all over the world. In India, it is 292 years old. It was brought to India in 1729 by the East India Company and it is 215-years-old in Hyderabad. The primary motto of this fraternity is charity, with the intention of making good men better. It is perceived as a secret society globally but apart from their ceremonial methods of instruction and mode of determining who their members are, nothing else is a secret, according to the three ARGMs.
Some of the notable Indian Freemasons include Motilal Nehru, C Rajagopalachari and Aga Khan. It was also patronised by the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, who handed over the Goshamahal Baradari, a Qutb Shahi-era palace to the Freemasons.
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