by Govind Menon, The New Indian Express, 11th March 2023
The Freemasons often misunderstood group, has been active in Kochi for over 100 years, with Lodge Cochin serving as their meeting place. Their origins trace back to the Biblical figure Hiram Abiff, but historians believe they began as a guild of stonemasons. Freemasonry emerged as a codified constitution in England in 1717 and later came to India with the British. Lodge Cochin, established in 1921, is a historic landmark in Fort Kochi, and the group focuses on community betterment, with an emphasis on charity in housing, health, and education.
Lodge Cochin members describe the fraternity as similar to other social welfare organizations but with unique, elaborate rituals. The Kochi unit operates under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of England. Despite pandemic-related challenges in celebrating their centenary, Lodge Cochin has undertaken charitable projects such as renovating a school and reconstructing houses.
Freemasonry is a secular fraternity with the only non-negotiable requirement being belief in God. Those interested in joining must do so on their own accord and can approach a senior Mason for more information.