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Theo Devagnanam
Brethren,
10.08.2019

Good evening Brethren and warm welcome to the hospitality of St. John's Lodge No.434, which is the fourth oldest Lodge in our District. Our thanks to the Wor. Master and members of St. John's Lodge for the amount of work that must have gone into organizing this event. As it has become customary in recent years we have with us this evening two very distinguished visitors to whom I would like to extend a warm welcome from all of us. R.W.Bro. Pratap Karan Paul, Past Deputy Grand Master, Grand Lodge of India, Deputy Regional Grand Master, and his officers, who are here representing the Regional Grand Master of the Regional Grand Lodge of Southern India. V.W.Bro. Pichumani Venkatraman, PG Swd Bearer, United Grand Lodge of England, Deputy District Grand Master of The District Grand Lodge of Bombay and his officers who are here representing the District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of Bombay.

Brethren it is a pleasure to have all of you with us and I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed the week-end so far.

Grand Lodge

The Grand Secretary VW Bro. David Staples and his team are now working diligently to complete digitalization of routine Grand Lodge administrative functions. They have just successfully commissioned the Adelphi2 software which will be used to communicate with the Districts, and are working towards using the same software to communicate with every single Lodge. This function is not quite ready and it should be available early next year. "SOLOMON' – a website created by the UGLE for resources is now available to all members and I urge you, Brethren, to make use of this very interesting site in order to further your Masonic knowledge.

The District

Keeping pace with the UGLE we at the District Grand Lodge are also working towards complete digitalization. Our District Grand Secretary and others have worked very hard to get this done as soon as possible. I have in fact asked them to go with slow considering the efforts that are being made by the UGLE. At the end of the day we will be required to use the systems introduced by the UGLE and I see no point in us trying to duplicate those systems. Our District Grand Secretary is closely in touch with the team who are developing the software at the UGLE and we have offered, to be one of the Districts, in which the software may be tested. I request all Lodge Masters and Secretaries to please keep in close contact with the DGL Office and to make use of the digital forms which are now available on the DGL website. I must say that the Secretary of the Kerala Lodge Bro. Nandakumar has made an effort and used these forms, which made the work of the DGL staff far easier. I request all Lodge Secretaries to follow suit as over a period of time the DGL will stop receiving physical forms.

Our District continues to maintain its high standards in governance and finance. We have always been the first to settle our dues to Grand Lodge and to contribute to the Masonic Charitable Foundation in London.

Brethren I was extremely pleased to see that the Coromandel Courier has been revived and is being published, on our website, quarterly. I have just read the July issue and found it most interesting. Brethren a quick look at the Coromandel Courier will give you an insight as to what your District is doing particularly in the call of charity.

Those of you have had reason to visit the DGL Office recently would have seen that it has been completely renovated and wears a new and modern look. I sincerely hope that the more comfortable working conditions will encourage the office staff to be more efficient.

Charities

The charitable activities of the District have been very thoroughly covered in the Coromandel Courier but I would like to bring you all up-to-date:

On the 1st of June I had the pleasure of visiting Cochin where we have rebuilt six homes that suffered extensive damage during the floods in Kerela last year. We handed these homes back to their owners having completed rebuilding. The following day we visited Thiruvella where we rebuilt twenty two houses which were formally handed back to their owners. This work was made possible with valuable financial support from the UGLE, the DGLEA, DGL of Sri Lanka, but last but least you, my Brethren. Your generous contributions have been very thankfully received and even more faithfully applied.

Brethren I would like to personally and on behalf of all of you offer my very sincere thanks to W.Bro. Mathew George, who single handedly took care of the rebuilding of the twenty two houses in Thiruvella. This necessitated a substantial amount of time and travel apart from getting around all manner of village politics. I must say he did a remarkable job and we should not only be grateful to him but we must take a queue from his selflessness. My grateful thanks are also due to W.Bro. Joseph Zacharias and W.Bro. Mohan Pulimood who were entirely responsible for the rebuilding of the six houses at Puthenvilikara near Cochin. Once again they spent a high amount of time and effort in getting this work done. Our sincere thanks to both of them.

During the year W.Bro. Mathew Joseph, President of the District Grand Charity recommended supporting PRISM, a project for the rehabilitation of young, first time, offenders who are imprisoned in the Saidapet Jail. Members of the Charity Council visited this project and had a long and fruitful discussion with the people running it. The Council then decided to support this project financially by paying the cost of counseling for the inmates of the jail.

The District Grand Charity also continues its grants to NGOs, scholarships to students, living expenses to Masons and their families and medical aid to Masons and others.

Brethren, I am very pleased to announce that since we last met W.Bro. Kanaklal Abhaichand, Lodge Ampthil No.3682 completed 60 years of unbroken service to Masonry. The citation and the lapel pin were presented to him by V W Bro. S. Sampath on the 19th of January this year.

I had the honour of presenting the citation and lapel pin to W.Bro. N. Jayakrishnan Nair, in the Installation meeting of Lodge Minchin No.2710 on 4th March and to W.Bro. K.K.Varma in the regular meeting of Kerala Lodge No.2188 on 5th of March, on their completing 50 years of unbroken service to the Masonry.

MW Bro. The Duke of Kent was pleased to confer grand ranks on the following brethren of our District, at the Annual Investiture Meeting of the Grand Lodge in London in April this year.

First Appointments W.Bro.M.Lakshmanan – The Lodge of Rock No.260 Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies
W.Bro.Viji Joseph – The Lodge of Perfect Unanimity, No.150,Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.
Promotions W.Bro.K.Ravindran, The Lodge of Faith Hope & Charity No.1285, Past Junior Grand Deacon
V.W.Bro.Lt.Cdr.Paul Richard Engeham, RN – The Archibald Campbell Lodge No.4998, Grand Sword Bearer

On my behalf and on behalf of all Brethren, I congratulate them on the honours conferred.

Installations

I had the pleasure of attending the Installation meetings of:

The Lodge Anchor of Hope No.1093 on 23rd February 2019
The Lodge Minchin No.2710 on 4th March 2019
The Lodge of Faith Hope & Charity No.1285 on 9th March 2019

Inspection of the records of these Lodges were carried out by W.Bro.Sunil Koliyot

I was represented at the other Installation meetings by

V.W.Bro.Abdul Jifri The Kerala Lodge No.2188 05.01.2019
W.Bro.Sukesh Menon The Lodge of Rock No.260 05.01.2019
The Lodge Quilon No.5839 12.01.2019
The Lodge Cochin No.4359 19.01.2019
The Golconda Lodge No.3249 01.02.2019
The Lodge Cauvery No.3848 13.07.2019
W.Bro.D.Rajasekaran,  The Pitt Macdonald Lodge No.1198 08.01.2019
The Lodge of Perfect Unanimity No.150 11.01.2019
V.W.Bro.S.Sampath The Lodge Ampthill No.3682 19.01.2019

The above Brethren also carried out the inspection of the records.

I must thank the above mentioned Brethren for having taken time and effort to represent me at the various Lodges. Even more so seeing as they travelled all over our district at their own cost.

I thank on my behalf and on behalf of all of you Brethren before we close,

W.Bro.Sukesh Menon, the President of the Board of General Purposes,
W.Bro.Viji Joseph, District Grand Treasurer, 
W Bro.Sunil Koliyot, District Grand Director of Ceremonies,
W.Bro.Ilango Raphael, District Grand Secretary

who have all given of their time and made a great effort in running the affairs of the District. Brethren, I must also say a very big thank you to W.Bro. K.M. Sukumaran who was our auditor for many years and who retired on the 31st of March this year. We wish him a very happy retired life.

I, likewise, welcome and congratulate W.Bro. Prasanna Varma, Chartered Accountant of Varma & Varma, who was elected as the auditor of the DGL and its Trusts on the 29th of June this year.

I must congratulate W.Bro. M.S. Duleep, District Grand Mentor on the very successful programme we had yesterday. He has been visiting Lodges regularly and I am sure that they have all benefited from his visits. Our sincere thanks also to W.Bro. Mathew George, the District Grand Orator. Last but not least a special word of thanks to W.Bro. P.B. Shanker and his team at the DGL Office. They have all worked hard to keep the administration going and I am sure that we will continue to have the benefit of their hard work.

Obituary

Brethren since we last met the following Brethren have been called to the Grand Lodge above:

W.Bro.S.Rajkumar, PDG Chap, Lodge Southern Brotherhood No.3311 10.01.2019
W.Bro.P.R.Narayanaswamy, PDJGW, Lodge Ampthill No.3682 14.02.2019
Bro.D.Babu Paul, MM, Lodge Minchin No.2710 13.04.2019
W.Bro.K.Rajagopalan, PDJGW, John Miller Lodge No.1906 18.04.2019
W.Bro.S.L.Chitale, PJGD, Archibald Campbell Lodge No.4998 20.05.2019

Brethren, I request you all to be upstanding and observe a minutes silence in memory of those departed.

The next DGL meeting will be at Chennai in February, 2020 under the banner of the Lodge of Universal Charity. Until then Brethren goodbye and God speed.

The Most Excellent. Grand Superintendent's speech at DG Chapter Half Yearly convocation at Secunderabad on 10.8.2019 – Morning

Good morning Companions and welcome to Secunderabad and the hospitality of St. John's Lodge. I trust that all of you are comfortably accommodated.

I am extremely glad to see that so many of you have made the effort to travel all the way here and I trust that you have all enjoyed the week-end so far.

These gatherings are always enhanced by the presence of our visitors and I have great pleasure in extending a warm welcome to ME. Comp. Pratapkaran Paul, Past Second Grand Principal, Supreme Grand Chapter of India, Second Regional Grand Principal, Regional Grand Chapter of Southern India, and his officers, E.Comp. Pichumani Venkatraman, Past Grand Std. Bearer, Supreme Grand Chapter of England, Past Second District Grand Principal, District Grand Chapter of Bombay and his officers. I thank you all, Companions, for your gracious presence and I trust that you are being well taken care of.

ME the First Grand Principal of the Supreme Grand Chapter of England has honoured our District by conferring the following grand ranks on our Companions:

Past Ranks –  E.Comp. Kirit Morzaria, Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.
E.Comp.M.S.Duleep, Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies
Promotion -  E.Comp.S.Ponnaiya has been promoted to Past Grand Standard Bearer.

These ranks were conferred at the Annual Investiture meeting of the Supreme Grand Chapter in April this year. I congratulate the above mentioned Companions on the honour they have received.

Companions, I am pleased to report that our District continues to be administered very well with our dues to the Grand Chapter duly paid in full. The President of the District Committee of General Purposes, E.Comp. Mathew Joseph has been exhibiting his usual commitment to the job by travelling all over the District and visiting our Chapters whenever he can and I am sure that his efforts will go a long way in promoting the Royal Arch. Our membership continues to be about 60% of our Craft Masons so there is still plenty of room for growth and I sincerely hope that we will see the Royal Arch in our District grow substantially over the next few years.

Since we last met E.Comp. Gopal Madhavan of Chapter School of Plato No.150 completed 50 years of unbroken service to the Royal Arch. Our Deputy Grand Superintendent, E.Comp. A.C. Patel presented the citation and the lapel pin to him on my behalf.

Installation Convocations

I thank the following Companions for representing me at the Annual Installation Convocations listed hereunder

E.Comp.Sukesh Menon Chapter School of Plato No.150 23.01.2019
Chapter Universal Charity No.273 24.01.2019
Golconda Chapter No.3249 01.03.2019
Chapter Excelsior No.1285 14.06.2019
Chapter Rock No.260 03.08.2018
E.Comp.K.Muralaidharan  Chapter Southern Brotherhood No.3311 31.01.2019
Chapter Quilon No.5839 23.02.2019
E.Comp.A.C.Patel Chapter Cauvery No.3848 09.03.2019
E.Comp.K.Ravindran Chapter Benson No.1093 02.08.2019

The inspection of records of the Chapter Universal Charity No.273 was carried out by E.Comp.Mathew Joseph.

Thank you Companions for having giving your time to represent me at these Convocations.

Companions, I must point out to all of you that the above mentioned Companions have travelled to various parts of our District to represent me at their own cost.

Obituary

It is with grief that I inform you of passing away of the following Companions since we last met:

E.Comp.S.Rajkumar, PDG Reg, Chapter Southern Brotherhood No.3311 10.01.2019
E.Comp.P.R.Narayanaswamy, PDG ScN, Chapter Ampthill No.3682 14.02.2019
E.Comp.K.Rajagopalan, PDG ScN, Chapter John Mille No.1906 18.04.2019
E.Comp.S.L.Chitale, PG Std Br, PDIIGPr, Chapter School of Plato No.150 20.05.2019

Companions, I request you to please stand and observe a minutes silence in memory of our departed Companions.

My sincere thanks to E.Comp. Mathew Joseph, the President of the Committee of General Purposes, E.Comp. Ilango Raphael, Dist. Grand Scribe Ezra, E Comp. Viji Joseph, District Grand Treasurer, E Comp. Sunil Koliyot, Dist Grand Director of Ceremonies, and the entire team at the District Grand Chapter office for the job well done during the last year.

Companions, till we meet this evening enjoy yourselves.

Archives

Message for July 2011

Brethren,

It's time to say 'farewell' – as this will be my last message as your District Grand Master – and as you will have my worthy successor installed in this Chair, next month.

I have conveyed more than one hundred such thoughts since it was first launched on our website in January 2003, with messages to the end of 2007 having been reproduced in a volume, and distributed to as many Brethren as asked for a copy, with a contribution of Rupees Fifty only each, for our Charity Fund.

My address at the last District Investiture Meeting in February in Chennai conveyed all my thoughts and completed tasks, and which anticipated my demitting office, as I had by then, already indicated to the Rulers of our Grand Lodge, my desire to step down, when I was still in good health. To depart when one is too ill to hold this prestigious office was not an option I wished ever to exercise, and as I had already accomplished all the tasks and objectives I had set out on assuming office in 2001 – it was time to bid good-bye.

I do not, however, propose to fade out into the good night, but will continue to participate in such Masonic activities, as my Lodges of which I have been a subscribing member for more than four decades, may require and to continue to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge.

My successor Bro. Theo Devagnanam, will be the fifth District Ruler since Independence, and by far the youngest to hold this office. I am sure you will all render him your unadulterated loyalty and support to continue the efforts to put the District of Madras, and its Masonic achievements up there with the best in the fraternity. Bro. Theo brings with him not only relative youth but a well-recognised record as a successful corporate chief, and above all, a solid record in charitable initiatives. May the GAOTU bless him, his charming lady Vasanthi and the Brethren of this District who have all given me their love and affection. Any success that has devolved upon the District as a Masonic enterprise has been almost entirely due to those sentiments having been translated into harnessed team-work by its Brethren. Thank you one and all !