Address of R.W. The Regional Grand Master - AIM'21
Address of R.W. The Regional Grand Master
RW Bro. Raja Mukherjee RW the Dy Grand Master and representatives of the MW Bro. Rajeev Ramakrishna Khandelwal, OSM, MW the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of India and the Esteemed member of Grand Lodge Deputation, R.W. Bro. Ajit Shah, R.W. The RGM Eastern India, R.W. Bro. Dr.Yoguesh Thakkar, R.W. The RGM Western India. R.W. Bro. V. Narshimhan and R.W. Bro. A.P. Chitra, R.W. The Past R.G. Masters of Southern India and my dear Brethren.
At the outset I would like to pray to the Great Architect of the Universe for the speedy relief and recovery of MW Bro. Rajeev Ramakrishna Khandelwal our MW The Grand Master who is not well presently and could not attend this Annual Investiture Meeting of the Regional Grand Lodge of Northern India.
I would like to welcome you all at this historic event. Historic because we are meeting for the first time in such a large Masonic gathering after an unraveling year of learning, unlearning and relearning. There are points in history when things change; times when the status quo is jolted. After such events, things never seem to be quite the same again because they change us as individuals and the way that we look at the world is never again, quite as it was. The past year was completely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in terms of regular Masonic interactions and also our daily life’s, but it gave us time to reflect and improve upon a lot of things, it provided us with an opportunity to adapt more efficient means of doing things, i.e. Use of technology, most of us never thought about having meetings on Zoom or Google meet platforms and now it is in routine.
During the previous year we have guided all our Lodges to start their Lodge meetings online on Zoom Platform for this purpose detailed guidelines were circulated by the R.G.L office. To make it successful numbers of meetings on Zoom were organized with our ARGM’s and several meetings were held with W.M’s and Secretaries of all Lodges in groups of 10 Lodges each time.
I am happy to inform you that during the Lockdown period Masonic Activity in Northern Region did not stop, most of our Lodges had upto 9 virtual meetings and till the Physical meetings were permitted by the Grand Lodge all the Lodges were having virtual meeting every month.
Amongst all the upheaval the world was going through and the mounting losses faced by everyone be it psychological, Financial or health one thing has proved very strongly i.e., the predominant wish of a freemason’s heart i.e., charity, when there was huge loss of employment, loss of earnings of daily wages earners and sufferings were manifold, proper medical facilities were not available and there was a need to setup quarantine centers at various places our Brethren from the Region came out in large number to serve the humanity at large, many of our brethren supplied cooked food to thousands of suffering people on daily basis in Delhi, Gurgaon and many other places.
Regional Grand Lodge also formed a committee of 50-60 brethren for distribution of dry ration to thousands of needy people at various locations in the presence of police personnel and on the information received from various govt. agencies.
RGL has also provided Beds, PPE Kits and other materials for setting quarantine Centers in Delhi and other areas. We have also supplied PPE kits and other material to Govt. Hospitals who had no funds for these facilities.
A total sum of Rs.70 lakhs was spent by the Region. In addition, RGL has also provided financial assistance to our various centres to carry out charitable projects.
The total charity disbursed by the Region and various Centers was more than 1.30crore during this period.
I am grateful to my brethren and Lodges for liberally donating funds for these activities. Total sum of Rs.54 lakhs was contributed by individual brethren and Lodges.
During this period we have also very successfully organized Universal Brotherhood day through Webinar in which more than 1400 brethren from every part of the region participated, MW Bro. Rajeev Ramakrishna Khandelwal OSM, M.W. The Grand Master also participated and addressed and motivated us. In this programme all the brethren and lodges who contributed financially were recognized and virtual certificates of appreciation presented, which were physically posted to them later.
One of the most unique and uplifting Masonic events that took place in this challenging year was The Divine Service, which was conducted by our beloved leader MW Bro. Rajeev Ramkrishna Khandelwal, in such an impeccable manner, that it has been clearly etched in the memories of all our brethren, particularly the way in which our Grand Master co-related the teachings of Freemasonry to the teachings of all the Holy Scriptures and showed how similar all of them were to each other. The Divine Service was organized to invoke the blessings of the Great Architect of the Universe to Pray to Almighty to grant us relief from our suffering, Mrs. Padmja Iyer, a renowned holistic therapist and wellness programme consultant, also joined us in this webinar to counsel and guide us through the difficult times. She joined us from Bengaluru. It was indeed a momentous event, attended live by over 2400 brethren from all parts of our Region and brethren of other regions and overseas as well and left the indelible mark of positivity amongst all of us.
Brethren, we have been helping a society by the name of “Earth Saviors Foundation” which is a unique facility of its own which helps the destitute who have been neglected by the families and picked by the Foundation from the streets and brought to the organization shelter where they are given Proper shelter, food, medical care and other facilities for reminder of their life. During the Lockdown period we have provided them 2.5 Metric tonnes dry ration two times. Seeing to the number of inmates that are rising gradually, the founder of that foundation has donated further land of about 3 acres for developing additional facilities to accommodate about 2000 more intimates. They had made a request to the Northern Region to sponsor their modernized kitchen which they are developing in new facility so that some part of the expenses could be met.
The Northern Region has contributed Rs. 12lakhs for the construction of the kitchen which would be ready very shortly and would be named under the Masonic banner. This will be inaugurated in the next week by M.W.Bro. H.P. Mathur, M.W. the past GM. I am grateful to R.W. Bro Suman Kapoor for coordinately and R.W. Bro. Puneet Sohal for visiting twice to survey the proper implementation.
I would like to appreciate each and every Asst. Regional Grand master and Lodge In charges who had during the Lockdown helped me in interacting with the Lodges throughout the Northern Region. During year 2-3 rounds of interactions were happened with ARGM’s, Lodge Incharges and W.M and Secretaries. I am happy that our Dy. RGM and all the ARGM’s regularly motivated the WM’s, Secretaries and Brethren during this difficult time.
During this period Two Lodges namely Lodge Universal Brotherhood No. 100 of Amritsar and Lodge Karan No. 224 of Karnal have been revived, reactivated and all their returns received and now there is no dormant Lodge in the Region and one Lodge Gautam Budha was consecrated yesterday, I appreciate the efforts made by R.W. Bro Ashok Sharma our Regional Grand Secretary in activating these two important lodges.
Brethren, the Masonic Eye Centre which was inaugurated during first year of my term in September 2019 by M.W. The GM at a cost of Rs.1.70 crore had to be closed because of the restriction imposed by the central government and has been restarted 2 months back and cataract operation are being regularly done at least twice a week and all the departments of Eye Centre are fully operational, about 20 cataract operation have been done after the lifting of the Lockdown. Poor and needy patients are being treated at nominal of free of cost.
I appreciate the untiring efforts of R.W. Bro. Subhash Chawla in very successfully managing the affairs of Masonic Eye Centre besides managing General William Masonic Polyclinic in the best possible manner.
We have also undertaken massive project of Extension and Extensive Renovation of our Most Prestigious project, Amrit Masonic Spastic School at Noida with a total investment of about Rs. 45 Lakhs. The Capacity of the students will be increased from 50 to 100 and Modern technologies of teaching; training and physiotherapy will be provided including a dedicated computer lab and qualified special Educators and trainers. This was inaugurated on 18th by M.W. Bro. H.P. Mathur, M.W. The Past Grand Master.
I shall be falling in my duty if do not place on record the untiring efforts of R.W. Bro. P.K. Sharma and R.W. Bro. Puneet Sohal for concept designing and development of this project, My thanks are also due to R.W. Bro. Subhash Mahajan, who was the chairman of implementation committee of the project. I am also thankful to R.W. Bro. Subhash Malik who spontaneously paid a sum of Rs.1 lakh for this project. We are also grateful to our U.K brethren, 35 of them, whom I met on Zoom and they contributed Rs.3.50 lakhs for this project. As usual fraternity is always there to help our projects thanks to the President, Secretary and Management for giving us Rs.2.50 lakhs.
In this complex of Masonic fraternity also the first floor was redeveloped, its heritage aspects developed, and Temple was also renovated. Intensive water proofing with latest technology was provided on the roof of first floor complex, a total amount of about Rs. 38lakhs was spent on this project including the Air conditioning of first floor and banquet Hall on the Ground Floor. I want to place on record our sincere appreciation for Ms. Urvashi Sohal daughther of R.W. Bro. Puneet Sohal for her concept and designing of this project R.W. Bro. Subhash Mahajan, R.W. Bro. Gurinder Singh and R.W. Bro. Sanjiv Gandhi have contributed a lot. However, without the untiring efforts of R.W. Bro. Puneet Sohal and R.W. Bro. P.K. Sharma for the last 2-3 months for supervising this project day and night, this would not have been possible; we are grateful to Lodge East & West No. 127 for continuity Rs.4.00 lakhs and Fraternity club for Rs.2.00 lakhs
Brethren, we have recognized 4 very Senior Brethren of our Region for Life Time Achievement Awards and they are R.W. Bro. Gen S.N. Sharma, recipient of 70 years long term service as well, R.W. Bro Dr. Santokh Singh, Amritsar and R.W. Bro Dr. S.P. Sharma, Jaipur and R.W. Bro. Bhisham Bakshi for their numerous contributions to freemasonry. The brethren who are present are requested to please come to the dies. So that they can be honored by R.W. Raja Mukerjee.
Our Masonic Public School which has about 2400 student is continuously maintaining excellent results and we are proud of our Institution, with a nominal fee, providing best education to its students. I would like to place on record our sincere appreciation to R.W. Bro. M.K. Mahajan for his selfless contribution in the development and running school for the last several years. During the year we will add 4th floors to the existing Admin Block to add 25 more rooms so that strength can be increased by more than 1000. For this purpose, about 1.5 crore investment is required for this purpose I call upon you to announce liberal donations.
Now I will request R.W. Bro. Subhash Chawla to please come forward and have the Souvenir released by R.W. Bro. Raja Mukherjee , our R.W.The Dy.R.G.M.
I also place on record our appreciation to the Steering Committee headed by R.W. Bro. Sanjiv Gandhi for organizing this meeting so well during this difficult time.
I would like to convey my appreciation and gratefulness to R.W. Bro. Subhash Mahajan for his continuous support in having maintained the finances of the Region for the last 7 years and now I appoint him as the OSD in Region. I would also like to appreciate the efforts done by R.W. Bro. P.K. Sharma in bringing the Masonic Centre at Noida to a level which the Freemasons in the Northern Region will be proud of. I would also like to convey my appreciation to the staff of The Regional Grand Lodge of Northern India for the support that they have been rendering in the running of the Regional Grand Lodge of Northern India.