Members Aashish Kumar Das (left) and Parvinder Kapoor at Masonic Temple on Tuesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
What do Johann Christian Bach, Henry Ford, Clark Gable, George Washington and Winston Churchill have in common apart from their fame?
Well, they were all freemasons, part of the western world’s oldest known fraternity, an enigmatic cult of brotherhood where members meet for spiritual and intellectual enlightenment and social work, which has a global membership of five million and counting.
In Jamshedpur, too, 24 freemasons celebrated Universal Brotherhood Day on Tuesday at Masonic Temple at Northern Town in Bistupur.
The event started with a brief payer service for people in distress and for world peace.
The freemasons then distributed food at the children’s ward of MGM Medical College and Hospital.
“Very few people know about us because we don’t boast about our work,” said freemason Parvinder Kapoor. “We gather on the second Saturday of every month for a meeting on social causes. We don’t take up large projects but work according to donations that we receive from members,” added the social worker and businessman.
Like freemasons everywhere, Kapoor prided in their mysterious philosophy. “We have a code of brotherhood and secret rituals that we don’t disclose to the outer world,” smiled Kapoor.
“But basically, we are a socially driven outfit of like-minded individuals. Many people consider this place (Masonic Temple) mysterious and haunted but we are just a society that does lots of good work. People may find it weird as we meet only once a month and the bungalow stays dark for the rest of the days,” he added.
But that’s a part of the boy gang’s charm the world over. Something that even Dan Brown’s thrillers have capitalised on.
On a serious vein, Kapoor explained freemasonry was fundamentally a cult based on brotherly love, relief and truth, ethical principles acceptable to all good men.
“We believe in reinforcing kindness at home, honesty in business, courtesy in society and fairness in all things,” he said.
In the west, explanations of their origin abound, some more inexplicable than most. Some say freemasons descended from druids, knights and kings. The more accepted explanation is that freemasons descended from stonemasons who built King Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem in 967 BC.
Freemasons in Jamshedpur are now looking for new members.
“We’d love to have more like-minded people to join us. Read up on freemasons on the Internet or in books. You’ll know what we are about,” Kapoor said.