The Bar Dive

Constituted in 1944, the Prehistoric Order of ancient free-and-easy Old Bar Stewards, of which the Dive Old and Mild is No.1 and distinct in its form. This is a unique degree prevalent only in the jurisdiction of The District Grand Lodge of Madras. The working of this degree is held on the first day evening of the District Grand Lodge Meetings.

The Dive, for short, was consecrated by the first Indian District Grand Master, RW. Bro. T. V. Muthu Krishna Iyer (Muthanna, as he was referred to by the then Brethren) primarily to aid coalescence of European expatriate and ethnic Brethren, in a convivial setting. At the inception membership was restricted to forty-five with due personal approval of R. W. Bro.  Muthu Krishna Iyer the then RW. The District Grand Master. Available history does not record the creator or the institution of the Ritual of the Dive which is whimsically brilliant. This is probably the only unique degree in which colloquial terminology like ‘Mamool’ and ‘Chucker out’ are still in vogue. The prime objective that inspired the creation of this degree was Charity and it continues to contribute greatly to many noble causes. Towards the end of the Dive a charity charge is rendered by the Treasurer. The entire proceeds of the Dive is directly contributed to the DGCFT to be faithfully applied to worthy causes

Here's the Charity charge

“Comrades, as was hinted in the opening ceremony and was fully proved in the presentation of the Treasurer’s statement, our fun is not all foolery. From time immemorial it has been the custom among Bar-Stewards and their co-workers the World over, to retire after closing time to some secluded den or “glory-hole” of their own, there to relax and enjoy themselves for a while before going home to their well-earned repose. Joking and friendly banter are then the order of the evening, stories are swapped, and legs are pulled. Wit darts its shaft against the buckler of Humour. Laughter rings out freely, and a good time is enjoyed by all. But in the midst of this mirth, a thought is spared for those less happily situated; for the Comrades in distress, for the widow, the orphan, the sick and the crippled, for the man who once was a jolly comrade like themselves. On such occasions an appeal is made and meets with generous response.”

The membership to this degree is open to all Master Masons who have been in regular attendance at their respective Lodges, and is in good standing for a minimum of five years in the fraternity under The United Grand Lodge of England. All candidatures requires the prior approval of R.W. The District Grand Master. Prospective candidates first attend a Dive Meeting as guests titled ‘sympathisers’ before being accepted as ‘Victims’ as candidates for membership are appropriately described.

The ‘Bar Dive’ is the only one of its kind Degree practiced in the realm of Freemasonry.