After the inauguration of the Grand Lodge of India at Delhi on the 24th November 1961, Masons throughout the four regions were eagerly looking forward to the inauguration of their respective Regions. The Masons of the Southern states were filled with joy and jubilation, that they could witness the birth of a Masonic Region, a unique occasion.
Most Worshipful the Grand Master, H. H. Maj. Gen. Dr. Sir. Syed Raza Ali Khan, Nawab of Rampur deputed R. W. the Dy. Grand Master R. W. Bro. Bhogilal C. Shah, to inaugurate the Regional grand Lodge of Southern India and to Install the Regional Grand Master.
The inauguration function was planned and executed meticulously with the minutest detail takeninto account to ensure maximum comfort to the brethren, and absolute order and decorum for the conduct of business. The Freemasons Hall at Egmore was given a facelift and was well decorated for the occasion.
The historic meeting started at 6.00 p.m on 19th December 1961 after R.W. Bro. Bhogilal C.Shah, R. W. the Dy.Grand Master accompanied by the Grand Officers entered in procession. The pro tem Regional Grand Lodge was opened in due form with R. W. Bro. P. M. Sundaram as Dy.Regional Grand Master. R. W. Bro. Bhogilal C. Shah Dy. Grand Master was saluted with nine. R. W. Bro. T.V. Muthukrishna Iyer, District Grand Master of Madras was received in the customary manner and saluted.
R. W. the Deputy Grand Master then briefly detailed the formation and inauguration of the Grand Lodge of India and the Installation of H. H. Maj. Gen. Dr. Sir. Syed Raza Ali Khan, Nawab of Rampur as Grand Master on the 24th November1961. R. W. the Dy. Grand Master in his inaugural address extolled the brethren to serve the Grand lodge of India faithfully, zealously and conscientiously and to promote its interests to the best of their skill and ability. He then proceeded to Install the first Regional Grand Master of the Regional Grand Lodge of Southern India.
After the patent of Appointment was scrutinized by the Installing Officer, R. W. Bro. Rao Bahadur Sarukkai Tiruvenkita Srinivasa Gopala Chari, Regional Grand Master Designate was escorted to the Lodge with a suitable deputation. After the patent of Appointment was read out in open Lodge and after the customary prayer invoking the assistance of The Supreme Governor of the Universe, R. W. Bro Rao Bahadur S.T.Srinivasa Gopala Chari was Installed as the first Regional Grand Master of the Regional Grand Lodge of Southern India. R. Rao Bahadur S. T.Srinivasagopala Chari saw the light of Freemasonry in Lodge Rock No. 260 E.C., Tiruchirapally on the 27th October 1908. He was a founder member of Lodge Justitia No. 82 GLI of which he became Worshipful Master in 1914. He has held the office of District Grand Secretary of the District Grand Lodge of Madras for over 25 years before he was appointed as the Dy. District Grand Master.
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W. Bro. Dr. M. N. Mahadevan the Deputy Regional Grand Master, Bro. M. M. A. Navas the Assistant Regional Grand Master and the rest of the officers were then Installed by the Regional Grand Master.
Out of the 31 Foundation Lodges 26 Lodges were represented at this meeting with over 250 brethren in attendance. Lodge Santhi No. 146 consecrated on the same day morning was also represented.
As on the day of Inauguration, the Southern Region had 32 Lodges with a total strength of 1694 brethren. The Regional Grand Chapter of Southern India was inaugurated by M.E. Comp. Lt. Col. Sir.Harold Williams on 21st December 1963 and he Installed E.Comp. S.T.Srinivasa Gopala Chari as the Grand Superintendent of the Southern Region.
The Regional Grand Mark Lodge was inaugurated on the 6th March 1965 and R. W. Bro. S. T. Srinivasa Gopala Chari was Installed as the Regional Grand Mark Master.
Inauguration of the Regional Grand Chapter of Southern India
Regional Grand Chapter of Southern India was inaugurated on 21st December, 1963 with eleven Chapters which opted from English Constitutions. They are as follows:St.Johns - Secunderabad
St.Johns - Chennai
Eureka - Bangalore
Goodwill - Bellary
Madras - Chennai
Waltair - Visakhapatnam
Southern Cross - Palayamkottai
Pandyan - Madurai
Kistna - Vijayawada
Salem - Salem
Mysore - Mysore
Two Chapters Viz., Discovery No.42, Chennai was consecrated on 20th December, 1963 and Sri Brahadeeswara No.45, was consecrated on 21st December, 1963. The total membership of these Chapters as on 21st December, 1963 was 568.
The Regional Grand Chapter of Southern India was inaugurated at the Freemasons Hall, Madras by M.E.Comp.Bhogilal C. Shah, M.E.The First Grand Principal assisted by M.E.Comp.Padmabushan Prof.M.S.Thackar, II.G.Pr. and M.E.Comp.Lt.Gen.Sir Harold Williams, III.G.Pr.E.Comp.Rao Bahadur S.T.Srinivasa Gopalachari was installed as M.E.The Grand Superintendent, E.Comp.Dr.M.N.Mahadevan and E.Comp.M.M.A.Navas were installed as Second and Third Regional Grand Principals respectively. E.Comp.Rao Sahib K.A.M.A.Kaliappa Nadar as President, Regional Committee of General Purposes, E.Comp.S.Kandaswami Mudaliar as Regional Grand Treasurer, and E.Comp.R.Krishnaswamy as Regional Grand Scribe E.
Inauguration of the Regional Grand Mark Lodge of Southern India
Regional Grand Mark Lodge of Southern India was inaugurated on 6th March, 1965 at Freemasons Hall, Madras by M.W.Bro.Bhogilal C. Shah, M.W.The Grand Master with eight Mark Lodges and 3 R.A.M.Lodges which opted from English Constitutions. They are as follows:St.Marks In The East - Chennai
Hiram - Bangalore
Aubrey Saunders - Bellary
Hannay - Vishakapatnam
Chera - Palayamkottai
Kudal - Madurai
Coromandel - Vijayawada
Salem - Salem
At the time of inauguration the total membership was 227 in the Mark Lodges and 56 in the R.A.M.Lodges. R.W.Bro.Rao Bahadur S.T.Srinivasa Gopalachari was installed as R.W.The Regional Grand Mark Master, R.W.Bro. Rao Sahib K.A.M.A.Kaliappa Nadar as Deputy Regional Grand Mark Master, W.Bro.B.S.Dod Sankarappa as Regional Grand Senior Warden, W.Bro.C.Prasada Rao as Regional Grand Junior Warden, W.Bro.Lodd Mohanakrishnadas as R.G.Treasurer, W.Bro.A.Veeriah Vandayar as President, Regional General Board, W.Bro.R.Krishnaswamy as Regional Grand Secretary and W.Bro.E.P.B.Manian as R.G.Director of Ceremonies.