In November I had the opportunity to accompany the Pro Grand Master on his very successful visit to our three Districts in India: Bombay and Northern India, Bengal and Madras. This visit generally underpinned our supportive approach to the Districts under the jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge of England as well as further strengthening our rapport and communication with our Indian Districts in particular.
This is a clear example of the Grand Secretary’s role on overseas visits as compared with the role of Grand Chancellor. In other words I continue to work with and, as appropriate, visit all Districts under our jurisdiction.
The core aim in each District was to hold a business meeting with the District Grand Master and his executive team, to meet as many of the Brethren as possible and, importantly, their wives. This approach was positively received and we were shown great warmth and hospitality wherever we went on our hectic schedule.
It is of interest to note that in early January Bombay and Northern India will reform into two Districts. This will mean that the district of Bombay remains in Mumbai with Northern India being centred in New Delhi. I hasten to add that this is at the request of the District, based purely on the enormous distances between some of the Lodges.
You will already have noticed the mix between the old and new names of Indian cities; our travels took us to Mumbai (Bombay), Kolkata (Calcutta), Chennai (Madras) and Bangalore. Those of you who have travelled to India will have the distinct memory of the bustling communities and the ‘interesting’ driving styles! In general terms we share many of the same issues confronting modern Freemasonry, including questions of how to compete for the leisure time of quality young men. The presence of the Pro Grand Master was a sign of great support to the Districts and it was a very happy trip.