Jumat, 31 Juli 2015

Fathimapuram - Forgotton Pains And Pangs

One afternoon four of us sitting on chairs within the feebly fenced 4 feet high compound made of wooden reapers around our house at Marianad, we were discussing, as usual, about many things connected to our work and the developments in the Diocese with Bishop Peter Bernard Pereira. Bishop Pereira was the first native bishop of Trivandrum Diocese, who founded Marianad out of barren land as a model village and Community Development Project (MCDP) to experiment the possibilities of improving the living conditions of the traditional fisher folks, who formed majority in his Diocese. The objective was to extend the lessons learned for a wider development work in his Diocese and elsewhere. Bishop Pereira used to visit us whenever he had important visitors interested in development to visit Marianad and on rare occasions, whenever he wanted to take couple of hours away from his regular work to visit us on the way after inspecting his Menamkulam and Vettuthura properties. He used to come in a 4Weeler Jeep, sometime himself driving even though he would have his driver with him. That afternoon discussion touched on some sad events in his official life as a Bishop connected to Fathimapuram village, which is located 5 KMs South of Mariand on the outskirts of St. Andrews Parish boundary. We found him bit emotional while explaining about a recent event wherein a coastal parish, St. Andrews Parish, in his Diocese denied cemetery space for a person from Fathimapuram village in spite of his direction to be buried in the local St. Andrews cemetery. Finally, after waiting for a long time, the frustrated relatives had to take the dead body to 50 Kilometres South to Karumkulam, to be buried. While talking to us about it, we found his voice changing, pausing for a while, removing his spectacles and cleaning his eyes with his kerchief.

Fathimapuram village 20 Km North of Trivandrum City, is a newly created settlement, located on the banks of Parvathiputhanar canal connecting Trivandrum and Quilon. For fishing reasons, active fishermen migrate to other less congested and new fishing areas during off season and when they find fishing in their village less economical. In 1960, Bishop Pereira started Trivandrum Social Service Society (TSSS), the first Diocesan Social Service Society in India, through which he initiated number of cooperative fishing and marketing attempts in different coastal villages and encouraged fishing families from the overcrowded fishing villages to migrate and settle down in Marianad, where they were provided with Cooperative housing and possibilities of socio-economic and community development. The author of this article worked as a social worker in Marianad under TSSS from 1969 for two decades and a third decade through other NGOS in India and Sri Lanka. Some of the fishermen families thus migrated from the overcrowded villages made huts on the seashore of St. Andrews and started fishing. However they kept their ties and were visiting their native villages for social and religious purposes particularly visiting en-mass during important religious festivities. On one such occasion when they returned after attending the annual festival of their Parish Saint, they found all their huts were destroyed deliberatively and thrown into the sea. 

When they tried to reconstruct, they were prevented to do so and further they were also prevented using St. Andrews beach. Couple of nights sleeping on the available open space; it came to the notice of local politicians. Seeing the plight of the landless and houseless fishermen and their families including children, the local Marxist Communist Party workers headed by their leader Mr. Ravi, the then President of Kadinamkulam Panchayat, helped them to put up their huts on the banks of the canal, which is a unassignable government land and situated one Kilometre away from the sea shore. The political party also intervened and made a settlement to allow the fishermen to use a narrow pathway to the seashore between St. Andrews and Puthenthope, neighbouring village –– only to use for the purpose of entering the sea. They were also denied of keeping their fishing equipments on the sea shore, whereby they had no control of the seashore, where the fisher folk generally live and keep their implements and do their fishing related work. The situation left the fishermen completely vulnerable to the sharks on land, which is more dangerous than those at sea. The new settlement on the banks of the canal - they called as Fathimapuram, with a religious connotation. As fishermen generally find collective psychological security in having their own Church and since they were prevented from entering in the local St. Andrews Church, they requested Bishop Pereira to help them with a priest for their Sunday services for which Bishop also helped them to have a temporary small place of worship. Priestly services were provided from the nearby St. Xavier’s College. Having own worshiping place and a priest provided fishermen without any assets a big moral strength to continue with their life. Fishermen compensate their poverty by adding grandeur and wealth to their Church in which they find pride.

Even before the discussion with Bishop Pereira in question, as social workers, we were aware and have had personal experience about the existence of caste in the form of class differentiation and consequent discrimination within the coastal population. But that day Bishop Pereira explaining about it and admitting its active operation among the Catholic fishermen of his Diocese and his helplessness saddened us as well as made us angry. According to him the people of St. Andrews are also from the fishing community, but some of them had the privilege of working in distant towns and different countries, thereby felt that they were a privileged set of people, and hence developed a caste discriminatory type of attitude towards other fisher folks, particularly the migrant traditional fisher folk. After Bishop left, we, Ms. Lauretta Farina, originally from Italy and a trained Medical person who came to work in Trivandrum Diocese and Marianad in 1961 as a member of a lay congregation called Catholic Feminine Auxiliaries (AFI) with HQ in Brussels, on the invitation of Bishop Pereira to work among his fishing stock and Ms. Nalini Nayak from Bangalore who joined the Marianad Team in 1966, soon after her University studies and myself, the first Team member from the fishing stock joined in the beginning of 1999, who were the then Marianad team members, felt so shocked to see the active practice of discrimination and exclusion even within the same Catholic rite. Our shock further grew after seeing Bishop Pereira emotional. My traditional fishing family background triggered the anger within me against this injustice and it grew further deep in my mind.

During our next Team Meeting, we decided to help the Fathimapuram fishermen by extending our work. More or less at this juncture Fr. Mathew  Nambiaparampil S.J., who was one among the priests from Xavier’s College, which is also situated in St. Andrews at the outskirts of Fathimapuram, visiting Marianad every Sunday expressed his desire to  do something in Fathimapuram. This led to engage the first Community Organiser, Mr. Peter John Culas, my younger brother, to work in Fathimapuram employed by Fr. Mathew. He worked there for some months living in a rented house in St. Dominic Vettucaud. While helping Fathimapuram fishermen to carry their catch through the narrow lane, he was interrupted by some local anti-social elements who prevented him and beaten. With this St. Xavier’s College supporting Community Organisers also stopped. Later through Marianad C.D.P. and its other different off shoot outfits, we continued to help organise the fishermen at Fathimapuram against the discrimination and subsequent economic and social exploitation. (Other community organisers, followed were Mr. David, Jones, Johnson, Eugene Herbert, Stella, Andrews, Mary Dass, Kennedy, Johnson, Daisy etc.). These community organisers helped to start and develop a fishermen marketing Co-op in similar lines of that of Marianad Coop. Through their marketing coop – they availed bank loans, started acquiring their own fishing implements thereby showed signs of improving their living conditions. However they were still under the clutches of sharks on land and still under their mercy. They witnessed silently their catches forcefully taken away for no reason by anti-social elements with the tacit support of the local community which has imposed restrictions on their fishing and daily life, their nets bought with bank loans destroyed on the sea shore in their absence when they were in their homes, far away from the sea shore and not allowed to lead a normal life in their own country amongst their own fishing stock.

The cooperative spirit that was developing enabled the Fathimapuram people to have serious discussions on the implications of their future without having any proper access and control on the seashore. At the end, they decided to exert their citizen’s rights and to put up huts on the sea shore, a public place normally used by fishermen for fishing related activities and for housing purposes. They sought cooperation from Marianad fishermen who also extended their support. After much planning, they collected coconut leaves, bamboos and other temporary building materials and built their houses on the midnight of 14th August 1984 to declare their freedom on 15th August, the country’s Independence Day, a symbolic and meaningful gesture.

Constructing, the huts at midnight on the sea shore without the waking up of the locals from their midnight slumber was not any easy task. The insulated and closed bodied fish van of Marianad Fishing Cooperative Society (MMUCS) brought the building materials. The team consisting fishermen and labourers were busy engaged in the construction. Some of them were to be on the look out for any possible leak of information or any counter actions. But soon found that none of them was reporting back. As a result, individuals from the spot, were sent out one after another to find out and report if something was happening outside, but soon we realised that none of them were returning. The number of people working diminished. However the work continued.  Some individuals of the local villages saw the hectic activities taking place in the thick of the midnight on their shores. They alerted their leaders and the people of the neighbouring villages. Within no time the Church bells started ringing informing unexpected calamity for their Parish and asking people to assemble. Needless to say that within no time people in hundreds from three surrounding parishes, a big hostile mob assembled with sticks and batons etc. They marched towards the huts and started beating all those whom they could find – say about 15 - 20 of us. Seeing a big crowd approaching us, some, who were with us, started jumping into the sea. Others who were left including Mr. Xavier Culas (he is the present Chair of CECT) and Mr. Pauline of Marianad and me received heavy beatings.  Providentially, by this time I heard a familiar voice from the crowd and identified one of the local political leaders from Puthenthope, Mr. Mousolini, who was known to me and a personal friend of mine. A few years back when we were travelling together on my motor bike in Trivandrum, both of us met with a road accident and were taken to the nearby Medical College Hospital. Realising that I was in the group and as he found me in real danger, he came out from the crowd, held us with his arms around us,  led us away and told us the seriousness of the situation and to save ourselves from the scene in no time. That is yet another occasion I personally experienced the presence of God through fellow beings.

As soon as we reached the main road, we walked away, we deliberately avoided running, through those who were running towards us towards the beach. We, escorted by Eugine Herbert, went to the neighbouring village Menamkulam, beyond Fathimapuram into his house. Eugeine Herbert was one of our colleagues, who have also worked as our Community Oorganiser in Fathimapuram. We were taken that night by him to another house in a distant place, where I lived underground for almost a week. Meanwhile, making use of the connection with some fellow judicial officers of my brother, who was the first Community Organiser in Fathimapuram and at that time an Inspector in the Excise, I was produced before the Magistrate in his house and obtained bail. Later I was told that at the instigation of some local politicians who had direct contact with the then Home Minister Mr. Vayalar Ravi and also because the night was leading to the Independence Day, in the thick of midnight itself a large contingent of police had arrived at the scene looking for us. Early morning they went and searched for me in Marianad and arrested some of the fishermen, who were active members of Marianad community. I also heard that Mr. Oliver from Marianad, who took no part in the attempted hut construction was picked up from his house and taken to the Police Station and badly beaten. Mr. Vijayan who was driving the Marianad fish van also was taken to custody and later released.

Later, after a few weeks, having realised the real reason behind the attempted hut construction on the sea shore, which is public property, some friendly police officials and other sympathisers advised us to purchase some land for housing the Fathimapuram people. Although this was not a new idea, it was an impracticable one as all the local parishes around Fathimapuram have already proclaimed their unwritten law not to sell any land to the Fathimapuram fishermen families even though the later may have means for it. If anyone from the three nearby and surrounding Parishes of Fathimapuram – ie. St. Andrews, Puthenthope and St. Dominic Vettucaud - sell land to them will be excommunicated – that was the unwritten law of the Parishes. In this predicament, Mr. Joyachan Antony, who was the President of the District Fishermen Union and a native of one of the nearby coastal villages, Thumba, volunteered to buy the land in his name provided we raise the necessary cost. We promised to raise the required money and Mr. Joyachan Antony found Mr. Lazer Silva wanting to sell about two acres of his land and building on Puthenthope coast. As both of them knew each other very well and worked earlier in the same political party, Mr. Lazer Silva agreed to sell his property for a very unreasonably high price. We raised the Advance money and an Agreement for Sale reached between the two.

As the sale of land had been announced earlier, within a few weeks, Mr. Lazer Silva had to disclose about the Agreement for sale to Mr. Joyachan Antony about whom others in Puthenthope had doubts of his intention to settle the fishermen from Fathimapuram. Hence Puthenthope church leaders demanded Mr. Lazer Silva to withdraw from the sale of land to Joyachan Antony and threatened with the consequence of ex-communication. Mr. Silva informed this to Mr. J. Antony and requested him to withdraw from the attempt as a friend. Mr. Joyachan Antony refused. Mr. Silva who wanted to avoid an excommunication action against him and his family reported the matter to the Puthenthope Parish. On this, we were told that later the Puthenthope Parish under the leadership of its Parish Priest - Fr. Stephen Mathessery, had held a special One Hour Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for the sole purpose of praying for the change of heart of the person – Joyachan Antony, who was going to purchase the land for Fathimapuram fishermen. Upon this, we were told that Puthenthope Parish, in which most of its members are absent economic migrants in many foreign countries, also contacted the Home Minister of the State to intervene. It was beyond his legal purview to stop the sale. However, he assured that if that land was purchased for the housing purpose of the fishermen of Fathimapuram, against the wishes of Puthenthope Parish, the Minister would help the Puthenthope people by not providing protection for enjoying the land. This again put us into further difficulties and complications – as even after raising a huge amount and purchasing the land it would not be available for the purpose for which this was bought. Further, the land would be illegally encroached. Needless to say the situation in which we were caught – it was like between the devil and the deep sea. My be Puthenthope people’s  prayers were answered, final wisdom prevailed to withdraw from the Sale Deed and receive the advance back from Mr. Lazer Silva, who later was very thankful to Mr. Joyachan for his great gesture of understanding his and his family’s plight in his community.

Back to square one – our search for land continued endlessly. Now, our new search was geared to locate a plot of land in the vicinity, which does not belong to anyone from the neighbouring three parishes where the ban to sell land for Fathimapuram people was in force. It was at this time, one of our friends Mr. Sharma, who in 1978 helped us to locate the land and building in the heart of Trivandrum near the Secretariat, adjacent to the Accountants General’s Office, came forward and with the details about a four acre of land, where the Fathimapuram fishermen live now, as belonging to some outsiders. Although this was on the vicinity of their settlement, we never new that it belonged to some outsiders. The land was attached by Bank of Baroda as a recovery asset for a loan given to a local business man to start an Ice-plant cum Fish processing Plant and the Bank was about to sell the land through Court Auction.. So we engaged Mr. Sharma on our behalf, as our direct involvement would elicit wrath from St. Andrews Parish people, to participate in the Court Auction only to realise that for some unknown reasons, the bank preferred direct sale to someone with high offer. By this time the St. Andrew Parish leaders came to know that we are behind that land and they equipped themselves to buy the land at any cost. Upon this we have decided to use one of our earlier and successfully tried strategy of invoking the Land Acquisition Act to acquire land for housing purpose of fishermen through Alillathura, which means village without people, which was later changed to Mariand, Houseing Cooperative Society, which was originally started by Bishop Pereira for implementing the Housing Scheme at Marianad. Although within the same Panchayat (local Council), this Coop did not have Fathimapuram within its area of operation – a lion without teeth as for the purpose of land for Fathimapuran people. The matter was discussed in the Marianad Housing Cooperative Society Governing Body which, subsequently, decided to extend its area of operation throughout Kadinamkulam Panchayat area to include Fathimapuram people to have their housing. Accordingly, the Bye-laws of the Housing Coop were amended in its General Body. The whole process took a long time. Meanwhile almost all fishermen of Fathimapuram were enrolled as members of the Housing Coop. The amendment was finally approved by the State Department of Cooperation. The General Body of the Housing Co-op took decision to approach the State Government to acquire the four acres of land belonging to the Bank for Fishermen Housing Purposes. All paper works were done meticulously and cautiously and moved through the Cooperative Department to the District Collector, who is vested with the authority to make notification through the Government Gazette for acquiring land for public purposes including for fishermen housing purposes, which was duly notified. This was an unexpected blow for the leaders of St. Andrews who then changed their strategy of opposing the purchase and turned into physical opposition.

Although the initial inspiration and support for the work out side of Marianad CDP were given by Mariand Team, number of which increased by now including Mr. John Kurien and other members working in other villages, in 1977, a new Non Government Organisation called Programme for Community Organisation (PCO) was formed with the Patronage of Bishop Pereira and Marianad Team Members and other colleagues in other villages as members. This was done with the idea of providing a legal umbrella for all the work initiated in the coastal areas of Trivandrum Diocese. With the failed attempt to put up huts on St. Andrews coast, our work started getting direct attacks from several quarters and different thought process evolved in PCO to address the Housing problem of Fathimapuram fishermen. The dominant one was to resort to a political solution to the problem. The second line of thought was to help the fishermen to own their own housing plot and then resort to political intervention. This means strategies including chasing land etc. Although approaching it through political process received majority, some of us were for the second option. This division also came to reflect in the Marianad Housing Coop. Hence, some of us decided to implement next steps through another NGO called the Coastal Educational and Cultural Trust (CECT). CECT was registered in 1984 for the purpose of taking up initiatives which were not covered by the existing organisations which were created by us at different times for working in the coastal belt of Trivandrum. Some of us borrowed money right and left from private individuals, including from Rev. Fr. Bosco, my close relatives and many others and negotiated with the Bank. With acquisition notification hanging over its head the Bank was now willing to sell for the price it had to recover from its creditors to anyone willing to come forward. Accordingly, it was sold to the nominees of CECT which was willing to purchase it on the background of the acquisition orders of the Government. The land was purchased in the name of Mrs. Reggie Nelson, from Kochuveli and then Chair of CECT, Mr. S. Franklin from Valiya Veli and Trustee of CECT, Mrs. Helen Mary Dass, Puthenthope etc. Land was registered and assigned in the name of private individuals in order to protect it from any eventual illegal physical attack from the locals who were against the fishermen occupying it.

The fishermen gained confidence once the land was bought for them, although it was with borrowed funds and in the name of private individuals. However, it took several months to further organise them, prepare them to get out of the shock they received from the failed attempts and constant opposition and assign individual plots in the name of fishermen. Three acres of land was divided into 5 cents each and assigned to 60 families. The balance 1 acre with an existing building turned into a Community hall was earmarked for community purposes – which was assigned in the name of Trivandrum District Fishermen Federation, an off shoot of South Indian Fishermen Federation (SIFFS) started while I was the Coordinator of PCO in 1980 – as network of all Fishermen Societies in the District with fish marketing as the core activity initiated under the guidance of Marianad Project and PCO. Once the land assignment was complete, the fishermen with land titles approached the State Fisheries body – MATSYAFED - for housing loans. When they received the Housing Loan, the Housing Programme became a Government Programme and a function was organised to inaugurate the laying of foundation stone on………..for the housing Programme. Two State Ministers, including the Fisheries Minister Mr. Rama Krishnan and the Minister for Youth Mr. Neela Lohida Dasan Nadar participated. To commemorate the memory of a great visionary behind bringing changes in the coastal belt of Trivandrum, a name - BISHOP PEREIRA NAGAR- was carve in a big Foundation stone and unveiled by the two State Ministers present. Although the police intelligence report was against the Minister’s participation, on the grounds of law and order, they had expressed personal commitments towards such a noble cause and attended the function. The function was a great success. The minsters participated also because the local left political parties by that time came to the rescue. Mr. Stellus Netto, Mr. Newman, Mr. Carmal Miranda, Mr. Maria Dass and many others played an important role in this. I remember many including my 77 year old father and mother, my sister and many of my relatives who were with me during all trials and tribulations and who borrowed huge amounts for purchasing the land solemnly participated in this function as if it was a award giving ceremony for me personally.

One would imagine that further journey towards the construction of houses would go without much difficulty. Matters did not end there. It was only the beginning of another chapter. By this time, many things also changed in Marianad, where the Parish Priest took forceful control of all people’s organisations working in the village under the pretext of his position as Parish Priest. The St. Andrews Parish leaders with political motivation and back support given by the same elements in the neighbouring Parishes, particularly by Fr. Joseph Maria of Marianad Parish vehemently started opposing the housing scheme by filing police cases, law and order cases against individuals and as a group. Years later, when providence had taken me to be settled in the United Kingdom, I met with some of the NRIs from St. Andrews. They have told me about their financial contributions towards legal, police and other expenses related to their Parish campaign against the alleged Fathimapuram encroachment in the very heart of their village. However, with the involvement of the State Government, fishermen felt more confident of reaching their goal and took it on themselves the responsibility of bringing building materials, arranging masons and carpenters, supervising the buildings etc. The first stage of construction of foundation went ahead without much problems and they obtained 1st Stage Completion Certificate, the families received their Second instalment of housing loan. The second stage of constructing the wall also progressed without many problems.

One evening the local Parish leaders collected their anti-social elements and hired thugs from neighbouring Parishes – lead by Fr. Joseph Maria of Marianad Parish marched towards the housing site and demolished all constructions, including the foundations. Although matter was reported to the police, no action was taken and nothing much happened. Later, we tired to negotiate by involving the local Panchayat President Mr. Basline Perira, who outwardly expressed sympathy and cooperation. We have offered to reduce the number of houses to 1/3rd and use the rest of the land for community purposes. Agreement was reached in Trivandrum. After the agreement six of un including Mr. Perira, we went for a lunch to a hotel opposite to the Ayurvedic College. Even now I remember the taste and size of Neymeen fish fry we had for the lunch. With renewed hopes the fishermen borrowed money and started re-constructing their houses. After completing the wall structures, they mobilised timber for their roof with the hope of completing the constructions and having their house warming ceremonies within weeks. Again, the inevitable happened – mobilising anti-social elements from and outside the St. Andrews Parish, the gang moved towards the housing site and demolished the constructions including burning the timbers collected. The culprits with the backing of the local Parish which was mobilising money from their NRIs from foreign countries for averting ‘encroachment of their village’ were untouched and unpunished. By this time, it became too much for the poor fisher folk without any external support and with the burden of two sets of loans from the government and from private sources. God alone knows how they survived. Every time they were attacked, apart from demolishing the constructions they were also beaten up not only family members but also the Community organisers who were appointed to work with them, thereby demoralising each and everyone involved in helping the fisher folk. After the second attempt also failed, the fishermen lost all hopes and the supporting mechanisms from the NGOs also met with severe internal difference of opinions and resource crunch. Finally we had to withdraw our involvement from Fathimapuram.

Rest of the story, what I know, is that during the next general election period, the Fathimapuram people were promised physical support by the left political parties and during the campaign they constructed huts in their land and started living there. It did not lost for long. Towards the end of the campaign, their huts were burned, upon which they retaliated with all their force and with the support of the political parties. They attacked the houses of those who were directly responsible for demolishing and burning their houses. This time it was not safeguarding their land and properties, but inflicting physical damage and injuries to the perpetrators that provided them with the courage and strength to rebuild their huts again and live there. This slowly led to construct their houses one by one and remained in the condition in which they are now – it is the result of their fifth attempt to construct a dwelling place on their legally owned land.

During the period of regular oppositions against constructing houses for the fishermen, Fr. Theo Simons of CEBEMO, the Netherland Catholic Agency which provided partial support through CECT for initiating a Community Development Programme including the Housing Programme in Fathimapuram on the strength of our experience and commitment to the fishermen cause asked us two questions:
1) Was it wise to purchase the land when there was so much of opposition, especially from the local Catholic Church/s?
2) Would it not have been wiser to negotiate with the local Church leaders before going for purchasing the land?

My answer was – negotiation have to be on equal grounds; and not based on mere mercy of one party - of the enemies of the fishermen, who were illegally denied land right and right to life. This is unchristian. Only after land has been purchased, fishermen acquired legal right over their land, and only after that the fishermen acquired the right and confidence to negotiate around the table on equal terms. So ownership of a piece of land is basic to lead any decent human life.

This is the story behind the Fathimapuram fishermen against all oppositions and odds to have a settlement of their own in their own country. Any attempt to understand the history of their new Church building will be incomplete without understanding the struggle for their own settlement in Fathimapuram.

 In January 1999, six months before I left India for good, I made a short visit to Fathimapuram to introduce a foreign friend to its history and situation as part of my development experience. Reaching UK, along with other UK and Indian friends, together we founded Voice of Dalit International (VODI) - (www.vodintl.org.uk), an International NGO to highlight the human rights and developmental aspects of Dalits, ‘the historically broken people’ who are made intergenerationally poor due to caste reasons. They constitute 1/3rd of the global poor.

With all the best wishes for the people of Fathimapuram on the occasion of the inauguration of their new Church on 13TH October 2011.





Kamis, 30 Juli 2015

Lokpal Bill Needs To Address Indian ‘Corrupt Mindset’ For Eradicating Corruption

Dear Mr. Anna Hasare and other following Indian dignitaries:

Justice Santosh Hegde; Prashant Bhushan; Arvind Kejriwal; Shanti Bhushan; J M Lyngdoh; Kiran Bedi; Sri Sri Ravishankar; Swami Agnivesh; Arch Bishop of Delhi, Vincent Concessao; Mahmood A Madani; Kiran Bedi; J M Lyngdoh; Shanti Bhushan; Prashant Bhushan; Arvind Kejriwal; Mufti Shamoom Qasmi; Mallika Sarabhai; Arun Bhatia; Sunita Godara; Swami Ramdev; Fr.Thomas Kocherry, and others who supported Fast unto death of Anna Hasare,

First of all, I salute you, Sir Anna Hasare, and congratulate others for supporting the Fast unto  death. All of you have helped to touch the cardinal problem of India – corruption at all levels; hence an overwhelming public support, which culminated ‘successfully’.

Following is an edited version of a communication I prepared a day before the completion of the Fast as a response to some of the supporting emails circulated. What specifically prompted my response was the expectation of the struggle: “it should not end up only with acceptance of desired changes in the Lokpal Bill but until and unless the corruption is wiped out in real sense which has become unbearable for the common people"

Apart from helping to understand the degree of extent to which individuals and organisations are addressing the problems of the 'common people', I presume the supporting groups are the creamy layer of the vocal category of the 'common people'. I see also an organisation/ movement - 'India Against Corruption' formed with a beautiful name and concept, to eradicate corruption from India once and for all.



However, going through the Fast unto death documents and publicity materials, I find that the demand made has only a very limited scope - being the “enactment of a strong anti-corruption law - Jan Lokpal Bill - to ensure swiftness and certainty of punishment to the corrupt”. Apart from adding one more law into the annals of Indian jurisprudence, I am unable to see how this law could establish a corrupt free India? The demand is silent as how the “corruption is wiped out in real sense which has become unbearable for the common people"? If corruption is not “wiped out in real sense" what is the earthly use of subjecting a noble human being to go fast unto death; and what is the benefit of these dignitaries joining the campaign? Hence the need for scientifically diagnosing the cause which is more than Jan Lokpal (Ombudsman) legislation rather than the symptom - corruption, which is only a symptom.

On earlier occasions, when "Anna sat on fast - 6 corrupt ministers in Maharashtra had to resign ; *400 corrupt officers were dismissed from job; *2002 - Maharashtra RTI Act was passed; *2006 - Central Government withdrew its proposal to amend Central RTI Act". Great achievements! If this is the case, this time also his fast unto death is likely to draw some impact, more specifically enactment of a law, which is only a part of the final goal. Why should his fast achieve a partial goal? Why political corruption alone? Why not the real corruption in Indian society as contemplated?

What is the real corruption in India? -  The Fast unto death is addressing corruption in the Political field - political corruption - hence boycotting political parties etc. Political corruption is only a part of corruption practiced by the political masters and their stooges including all public servants. India follows a democratic form of government which is a”system guaranteeing that we are no better governed than we deserve". So corruption in the political system is only the reflection of existing corruption in the general society in the form of a 'general mindset'. That is nothing unusual. Corruption is only delivered by a corrupt mind - a collective corruptive mind of Indian society. Political corruption which we focus now to eradicate is only the miniature of the existing general mindset. It is hypocrisy to believe that political corruption can be eradicated without addressing societal corruption.

For over 30 years I was involved in grass-root, state and national level organisational work with the marginalised global poor wherein I had the opportunity of being very closely tied with two state and one national level legislations. As part of my patriotism, I never dreamt of working outside India, although I had a couple of occasions to study abroad. However destiny has now taken me to UK where I am one of the founders and Director of a Charity for the past 11 years and closely linked with a recent legislation passed by the British Parliament. 95% of my 30 years of developmental work in India was wasted on combating opposition against development - only 5% of the developmental time, resources, energy was available for real development work. The opposition to development of the poor was due to a certain 'general mindset' of the society based on caste discrimination. We all know that caste dominates almost all spheres of life of the people in India/ South Asia. From birth to death, from morning till night, each and every individual in India is guided by Caste. Caste dominates our personal morality to politics; our culture to religious beliefs (all Indian religions follow caste).

Caste, which is carried by almost every Indian in his name, is a corruptive concept. It corrupts our minds, so much so 15% of the populations, who are the beneficiaries of the caste system, consider others as ‘slaves’ and ‘untouchables’. These two last categories having lived over 3000 years in this situation have internalised their discriminations very much that they are unable to think otherwise. All the glorified traditional value systems of India, including personal ethics and morality, are based on caste. Caste differentiates Indians as privileged castes, who are caste perpetrators on the one side and ‘slaves’ and ‘untouchables’ on the other. Incidentally, there are few countries in the world which castigates its citizens as ‘untouchables’. India with 1/3rd+ of the global poor to its credit, brands its 85% of the population as ‘slaves’ and ‘untouchables’, the historically broken people, the Dalits. 90% of Dalits, which includes Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists etc. live intergenerationally poor without being considered as human beings, leave alone fellow human beings. According to studies, more than half of the Indian populations, 500+ millions live below the poverty line, with every year adding 1 million to the ranks during the last 10 years. This is despite India having strong economic growth, rising from low to middle income status and producing several billionaires. Comparisons show that in many respects, Indian poverty amounts to worse than the poverty of Sub- Saharan African countries.

India is a highly ‘spiritual’ country with many ‘spiritual leaders’. Its privileged castes over centuries have punished the masses through indoctrination to accept fate, destiny and caste. Caste teaches man to behave with man in an inhuman manner; caste does not recognise a human being as a human being; caste permit the touch of an animal, but the touch of a human being pollutes; caste precludes some classes from education and forbids them to accumulate wealth; it permits animals to drink water, from where humans prohibited. Apart from corrupting the mind with the notion of unequal position by birth and inequality before law and Supreme power, caste necessitates inter-caste practice of corruption and criminal activities with impunity for the privileged castes. Even punishment system is graded. Caste compels practice of intra-caste nepotism and favouritism against other caste members. Further, the rulers are asked to implement caste laws. Hence the ruler’s reluctance to bring changes, in spite of golden laws and Constitution. Any attempt to remedy ‘historical injustices’, through affirmative action is brutally opposed by the privileged castes and such actions are accepted as their birth right to continue enjoying unjustly accumulated privileges.  Although these are against all notions of ‘justice’ in democracy, they are justified within caste laws. Even during times of field leveling natural calamities, relief and rehabilitations rendered on caste basis. Inter-generational poverty is an award for the poor according to the caste mindset; hence the 'general mindset' has developed callousness towards poverty, injustice and human rights of half of Indian masses. The result is the perpetuation of world records in poverty and plenty at the same time. It is difficult to find any country where money is literally ‘worshipped’ as in India. Hence the belief that money acquired through any means, including through corruption, as God given. Notions of poverty, injustice, human rights, if at all exist, are practiced within the castes/class groups and not outside one's caste. Exceptional spillovers are considered as great acts of Charity.

Caste “is a primitive form of systemic exploitation of a large mass of people by few, denying their human development, including socio-economic, educational, faith, cultural and political rights; aimed to reducing them to sub-human levels, even to the extent of  treating them worse than animals; with laws of deprivations and restrictions in all walks of life for the victims; and undue privileges, benefits and criminal immunity for the perpetrators; based on a religiously / culturally -linked notion of birth in certain caste groups - which stratifies and grades the society with fictitious status, human and material values”. (VODI newsletter August/ September 2010).

It is not the fault of an individual to be born into a certain caste and it may not be his or her fault to enjoy the privileges of caste system and grow thick as trees in the forest. But nothing stops him or her to express their views and changing the caste mindset’ in favour of the poor, marginalised, discriminated and excluded. However, India’s elite class and privileged castes, including the dignitaries mentioned above, do have the opportunity and capability to understand how caste discrimination affects the psychology and welfare of individuals and society as a whole and how caste causes corruption. Instead, they act as ostriches, burying their intellectual honesty and progressive face in the sand. When it comes to the question of addressing caste discrimination, they leave it to corrupt politicians, who are also the product of the caste mindset. Shockingly, caste based corruptions are not mentioned among the features of the contemplated Jan Lokpal Bill.

The UK Government Department for International Development, (DFID) has analysed the impact of caste on poverty, of more than 500 million people in India as given below:
*Caste ‘causes poverty and gets into the way of poverty reduction’. *It ‘causes the poverty of a particular people, leading to higher rates of poverty among the affected groups’. *It ‘reduces the productive capacity and poverty reduction of a society as a whole’. *It ‘deprives people of choices and opportunities to escape from poverty and denies them voice to claim their rights’.
*‘Poverty reduction policies often fail to reach socially excluded groups’ – Dalits- ‘unless they are specifically designed to do so’. (‘Reducing Poverty by Tackling Social Exclusion’, DFID, 2004). If caste causes poverty, sure enough, it causes a corruptive ‘mindset’, resulting to a ’general mindset’. With these kinds of caste impacts in the country, no Indian can claim that corruption will be wiped out by legislation!

Many feel that ‘One Anna Hazare is enough' to achieve the demand for legislation. In fact, that proved to be true also. To them and to those who supported the Fast with the assertion that - "the whole country minus the political parliamentary parties are with you on this issue of the fight against corruption", I have a question.  Does this 'whole country' include the 500+ million poor in India, who are victims of the daily corruption due to the Indian ‘general caste mindset’? If not, why not include caste caused corruption in the demand and thereby address the daily corruption subjected by the poor? Removing the ‘general corrupt mindset’ would automatically  remove corruption in all walks of life in India, including political corruption. Perhaps, Anna Hazare and those who supported his fast should rethink for another campaign so that “the corruption is wiped out in real sense which has become unbearable for the common people".

Indian Democratic Mansion Is Built On Sand - Rape & Reality

The call given by PUCL (Delhi) appears to be a balanced approach to analyse the problems and challenges facing India and to suggest remedies, especially in the light of the recent uprising in Delhi due to December 16th rape case.

It appears to be balanced because, initially, there is an admission of the reality that "the experience shows that making amendments in laws may not be sufficient to prevent such violence". This is the reality in India. In spite of having a well built Indian democratic edifice in the form of a solid Constitution, protective and welfare laws, which we proudly project to the world, amongst the community of civilised nations and as the modern phase of economically powerful India, rape/ killing/ gang rape incidents are common in all nook and corners of the country. The Delhi case is not an isolated one, as three other major rape/ rape related murder cases were also reported. Additionally there are several unreported cases, including 19 rape cases in October 2012 in Haryana, near Delhi. When these things happen on a daily basis, it is time for all concerned citizens to begin to understand the 'why' of the problems and search for a scientific approach to prevent further atrocities being committed. In this sense I welcome the move of PUCL (Delhi).

Can one imagine the largest democracy in the world, which is about to be in the Security Council of the world body, with the responsibility of providing security to the world, failing to provide security to its citizens! Providing security to the life and property of its citizens is the first and foremost duty of any civilised government; providing security to its borders comes second only. During the past 62 yrs of sovereignty (supreme authority/ power with the people, who include 15% of caste beneficiaries/ perpetrators and 85% caste of victims, the ‘historically broken people’), history shows that successive governments ruling India have failed miserably on a daily basis, to provide protections of life and human dignity to majority of its citizens, leave alone democracy, secularism, socialism, and welfare.

However governments alone are not to be blamed for what has happened in the country. A democratic form of government is only a “system guaranteeing that we are no better governed than we deserve". So various Union/ States governments in India at different times were those its people deserved at that given time. It is illusory to think that there could be some celestial beings to rule us, except our own representatives. So what is the problem now? The finger points to what PUCL (Delhi) says, "The prevailing insensitivity in the society on gender issues, demeaning social attitudes towards women in families, communities, politicians, courts, police & military forces etc. are understood as some of the causes which perpetuate such evil". This is true, but only partially, because it covers 'attitudes towards women' only, although women form half of the population and who shape the next generations.

Generally, basic beliefs and attitudes towards life, and in particular towards women, are formed not from politicians, courts, police & military forces, but from home - starting with the order of mother - often based on religious beliefs, then father, siblings, joint family members, relatives, then religious institutions, community, educational settings etc. Politicians, courts, police & military comes much later, after a good part of conscience about what is morally/ ethically right and wrong has been formed in the individual. It is untrue to presume that politicians, courts, police & military could be entrusted with the responsibility of shaping the ethics and morality of individuals and society. 99% of attitude formation, especially towards women, is shaped from what one hears and sees in the family, religions and community settings. These values/ attitudes thus shaped will generally be also in tune with the political systems which are created to safeguard the political/ Constitutional values. The role of politicians, courts, police & military etc. comes when these values /attitudes, which of course will be subjected to the political values are violated. Put in another way, there has to be some amount of concurrence of individual / general morality/ ethics with that of the political values/ morality /societal values and / or vice versa.

In any democratic society, one can easily identify two distinct powers -moral power and political power. Of these, moral power is the superior one. Normally these two powers act as checks and balances. In India, the moral power is already corrupted by the mother of all corruptions - caste. Likewise political power is corrupted by caste. So, in India there is an absence of moral power to check political power when it goes astray. The already corrupted political power also fails to act as check when moral power goes out of control. In India, these two powers compete to please each other, leaving the victims of the system in lurch with no faith in any form of leadership. The present uprising of educated youth was triggered when one of them became rape victim; it fails to include similar cases in the society. It also resembles the middle class / caste uprising in Delhi a few decades back, opposing a government decision to provide some relief in the form of reservations to caste victims – the 'historically broken people'. This negative attitude of the traditional 15% of caste profiteers against caste victims (incidentally, in India caste and class are synonymous) can be seen throughout Indian history. Even during the British rule, there was strong opposition against admitting caste victim children into schools. Many barbaric atrocities against ‘historically broken’ communities, including rape and gang rape of their women, so commonplace, have barely made national news, or caused Delhi type of uprisings!

Let us look at the consequence of moral and political values from the Indian context. Before Independence, caste was: the law governing the individuals and society and; inspiration for social morality and ethics for the country as a whole. Over thousands of years these laws have shaped the morality/ ethics, education, economics, religion, culture, societies, communities and politics- executive, judiciary - profiting for 15% of the population, whilst the remaining 85% were made victims of these laws. The laws were based on graded inequality, social status, punishment, profession, property, wealth, marriage systems, discrimination, exclusion, marginalization and de-humanisation. The laws prescribed sanctions of Untouchability/ unseeability, with denial of basic human rights and access to land, water, food, property, housing, education, health, wealth, faith etc. for the victims to live as a living [not human] being in the country. After Independence, with a beautiful constitution and its protective and welfare laws, a new political system came into existence, ensuring values of liberty, fraternity and equality. These new values are diametrically opposed to individual/ social/ religious beliefs and morality/ ethics of the Indian society - 'the general mindset', shaped by caste. So what has happened during the past 62 years is a struggle between the old and new legal systems, offering: democracy to the already profiting sections under the old law – the caste profiteers/ caste beneficiaries/ caste perpetrators / caste criminal communities on the one side and; caged democracy for the multitudes – the caste victims /extreme victims of caste laws on the other side. The recurring incidence of caste based killings, gang rapes, including the recent one in Delhi is based on the unwillingness to accept and integrate the meaning of India’s Constitutional values based on fraternity, equality and liberty; hence we see individuals and communities frequently practicing old values overpowering the new value. Caste perpetrators use different forms of rapes and killings on caste victims often with impunity, as a form of community humiliation and disciplining. Caste victims in India are not even allowed to have a faith of their choice because of the so called 'Freedom of Faith' legislation in the majority of states, whereas there is no restriction to change of faith in political parties. If there was a willingness to accept the new political values by the caste perpetrating communities, the same would have been reflected in the Indian Governments (legislative, executive and judiciary) will,to enforce these new values. Killings, abduction, rape etc. takes place in all societies, in all countries but the systems in place to deal with them are as effective as the society’s belief in democracy and its values.

Coming to the PUCL’s quest: "Besides strengthening the criminal justice system, what could be other ways to achieve gender equality and justice for women?" Already we have seen that the problem is not in the criminal justice system alone. It is in the 'general mindset' of the Indians, with 15% enjoying more than what they deserve and 85% made victims and whose exclusion and sufferings are made internalised - that is the real problem. However, for academic sake, let us see how by ‘strengthening the criminal justice system we could help achieve gender equality and justice’. Take the case of the High Court judge who decided a rape case by acquitting the culprit on the ground that the man accused is a caste perpetrator who treats the victim as an Untouchable woman; hence raping the woman itself is out of the question? Another High Court judge washing the Chair with water from a certain river to purify it because his predecessor judge was from a caste victim community! To crown all these, adoring the statue of 'the first law giver' – Manu, in front of the High Court of Rajasthan? Instances of the Supreme Court, refusing to provide reservation to the weaker sections, based on their population strength? Law, often in India, is not what the Parliament makes but what the judiciary says what it is. Hence let us examine the caste compositions of the High/est judicial institutions; of the criminal justice system in the country? By the way, what is the caste composition of PUCL (Delhi), and other units? Is PUCL taking up the daily occurring rape cases against the caste victims?

As fait accompli, I am in UK for 13 years, after 30 year's development work among my Indian disadvantaged brethren (this work became a model for more than one state’s legislations); additionally two years I lived in a dilapidated Dalit hut - sharing their family life, reading and reflecting on several volumes, by and about the architect of the Indian Constitution and emancipator for India’s downtrodden masses. This helped me to understand some of the very basic and serious contradictions of my mother land and provides me with confidence to say that no intellectuals/ leaders in India, or elsewhere, acquires eligibility to work for the 85% of less fortunate Indian masses within the Constitutional framework without studying his biography, 'Life and Mission (by Dhananjay Keer)' and his own volumes on 'Annihilation of Caste’ and 'What Congress and Gandhi have done to the Untouchables' and also the 'Manusmriti' in full.

With this conviction, I dare to raise two simple questions to the activists and intellectuals of India, including PUCL members - Have you studied the above named books? Can you be intellectually honest in analysing the ills of India and in suggesting remedies? Eugene Culas

Freemasonry - First Recorded Masonic Initiation in England

THE FIRST RECORDED INITIATION IN ENGLAND
BY BRO. DUDLEY WRIGHT, ENGLAND
"At Neucastell the 20 day off May, 1641. The quilk day ane serten nomber
THE BUILDER 1921
off Mester and others being lafule conveined, doeth admit Mr the Right
Honerabell Mr Robert Moray, General quarter Mr to the Armie of Scotlan,
off Edenroth, quherto they heaue set to ther handes or markes. A.
and the same bing aproven be the hell Mester off the Mesone of the Log Hamilton, R. Moray, Johne Mylln. James Hamilton."
initiation of one of the most remarkable men of his time. His name, by
THUS RUNS the entry of the first ascertained recorded Masonic initiation on English soil into Speculative Freemasonry. It is the record of the
and a singular mistake occurs in the standard edition of Evelyn's Diary,
writers other than himself - for he always signed his name in bold characters as "R. Moray" - is spelt variously as Moray, Murray, and Murrey,
with the result that both forms appear in the General Index. In Chester's
where the entries occur as "Murray," while in the Correspondence, the only letter that appears from Moray is, of course, signed in the correct manner,
of the Landed Gentry and other authoritative works of reference state that
Registers of Westminster he is described as a son of Sir Robert Moray of Craigie, by a daughter of George Halket, of Pitferran, but Burke's History he was a son of Sir Mungo Murray, and this undoubtedly is correct.
XIII. He gained very high favour with Cardinal Richelieu, to such a degree
Sir Robert Moray was a descendant of an ancient and noble Highland family. He was educated partly at the University of St. Andrew's and partly in France, in which country he secured military employment under Louis
the rank of Colonel in the French army. When, however, the difficulties of
that French historians have remarked that few foreigners were so highly esteemed by that great minister as was he. It was possibly through the influence of the all-powerful Cardinal-statesman that Moray was raised to Charles I increased, Moray returned to Scotland and was appointed
evacuated by the soldiers. Moray was knighted at Oxford on 10th of
General of Ordnance when the Presbyterians first set up and maintained their government. He was in charge of the Scottish army at Newcastle at the time of his initiation, which took place two months before that city was January, 1643, by Charles I. Moray was also on good terms with Mazarin and fought with his regiment
I. His release in Bavaria was therefore obtained and he returned to
in Germany, and, in 1645, he was made a prisoner of war in Bavaria. About the same time he was appointed Colonel of the Scotch regiment in succession to James Campbell, Earl of Irvine, and he was nominated by the Scots as a secret envoy to negotiate a treaty between France and Scotland, by which it was proposed to attempt the restoration of Charles
stairs with Sir Robert, but fearing that it would scarcely be possible
England. In December, 1646, when Charles was with the Scottish army in Newcastle, Moray prepared a scheme for the escape of the king. One, William Moray, afterwards Earl of Dysert, provided a vessel at Tynemouth, onto which Sir Robert Moray was to conduct the king, who was to assume a disguise. The king put on the disguise and even went down the back
was sworn as a privy councillor, and, in the following month, was
successfully to pass all the guards without being discovered "and judging it highly indecent," says Burnet, "to be taken in such a condition, he changed his resolution and went back" After the accession of Charles II to the throne of Scotland, Moray, in May, 1651, was appointed Justice-clerk, an office which had been vacant since the deprivation of Sir John Hamilton, in 1649. A few days afterwards, he
However, at the Restoration, Sir Robert Moray was re-appointed
nominated a lord of session, though he never officiated as a judge. His various appointments were, however, merely nominal, in order to secure his support to the government, particularly if it be true, as Wood asserts, that "he was presbyterianly affected." His uncle, the Rev. John Moray, was a great opponent of the bishops and suffered imprisonment for his opinions. justice-clerk and a lord of session, in addition to being made one of the lords auditors of the exchequer.
sole president of the Society from its first formal meeting on 28th
The Royal Society may be said to have been founded by Moray: it was certainly the outcome of suggestions made by him, and Bishop Burnet says that "while he lived he was the life and soul of the Royal Society." A quibble has frequently been raised over the statement made by writers that Moray was the first president of the Royal Society, since the name of Viscount Brouncker appears in that capacity on the Charter. Moray was the November, 1660, until its incorporation on 15th July, 1662, with the
and was willing to encourage it and, generally he was the organ of
exception of one month from 14th May to 11th June, 1662, during which short period Dr. Wilkins occupied that honourable position, though in a Latin letter addressed to M. de Montmor, president of the Academy at Paris, dated 22 July, 1661, he styled himself "Societatis ad Tempe Praeses." Nor is too much to say that it was through his influence the charter of incorporation was obtained. He was the bearer of the message from Charles II to the effect that his Majesty Approved the objects of the Society communication between the king and the Society. Moray was also the
Sir David Lindsay, the first Earl of Balcarres, "chose a private life without
prime mover in the framing of the statutes and regulations. Wood, the well-known Oxford historian, states that he was "a single man and an abhorrer of woman," but here he is in error, for he married the Hon. Sophia Lindsay, elder daughter of the first Earl of Balcarres, who died, without issue, at Edinburgh, and was buried at Balcarres on 11th January, 1653. If the daughter inherited the tastes and pursuits of her father, the marriage must, indeed, have been a felicitous one, since it is recorded that ambition, was learned, and had the best collection of books in his time and
among your fellow virgins when you dy. You never maet with such a cold
was a laborious chymist. There is in the library of Balcarres ten volumes written by his own hand upon the then fashionable subject of the philosopher's stone." He was raised to the peerage when Charles I visited Scotland in June, 1633. After the death of his wife, which apparently affected him greatly, Moray lived, apart from his philosophical meetings, a hermit-like existence. In a letter dated 23rd February, 1658, he wrote to a friend who had accused him of being in love: "If you think no more of a mistress not take more pains to look after one than I do, I know not why one may not think that you may lead apes
One of the first he converted into a laboratory and there he spent his days
wooer as I: since ever I came to this place I never visited male nor female but two or three cousins, and they never three times. The truth is I never go out of doors but to the church except I have some glasses to make, and then I go to the glass house. Nor do I receive visits from anybody once in two months, except it be the commander, so that I am here a very hermit." In his correspondence with Kincardin during that year (1658), he describes how he was making chemical experiments on a large scale. At one period, when he was at Maestricht, he had two rooms with a kitchen and cellar. in perfect content. "You never saw such a shop as my laboratory," he wrote,
his medical and mechanical investigations, and his philosophical friends
"so there's a braw name for you, though means matters." He constantly speaks of his chemical labours in the language of an enthusiast. "It is somewhat considerable that I afford you such volumes in the amount of my chemicall operations. I have had seven stills going these two days with one fire, most upon juniper berries, some with water, some with sack, and some dry." Moray was naturally of a retiring disposition. During a portion of his life he was called upon to take up a prominent position, but he never cared to be "in the limelight" in politics and he did his best to keep out of the political arena altogether. His books, his chemical furnaces and retorts, his music,
principles of that sect, the persuasion of absolute decrees. He had a most
were more to him than "such stuff," as he once impatiently caged politics. He was happier, far more satisfied to be President of the Royal Society than Deputy Secretary for Scotland, Lord of Commission, or Privy Councillor. There are few characters in history, particularly among those who have undertaken peculiarly difficult, and even dangerous, diplomatic tasks, so generally revered as was Sir Robert Moray. Birch, one of the historians of the Royal Society,describes him as being "universally loved and esteemed and eminent for his piety, spending many hours a day in devotion in the midst of armies and courts. He had an equality of temper in him that nothing could alter, and was in practice a stoic, with a tincture of one of the
excellent man of reason and learning, and understands the doctrine of
diffused love to mankind and delighted in every occasion of doing good, which he managed with great zeal and discretion. His comprehension was superior to that of most men. He was considerably skilled in mathematics and remarkably so in the history of nature." Nor is Birch a solitary appreciator of his character. Bishop Burnet, a historian of higher rank, styled him the "wisest and worthiest man of his age"; and, on another occasion, he wrote: "I have every joy that next to my father I owe more to him than to any other man." To Evelyn he was a "deare and excellent friend"; Sheldon, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was absolutely won by his charm of manner; Pepys speaks of him as "a most music and everything else I could discourse of very finely"; while his
placed in a position of responsibility and influence who did not encounter
sovereign and personal friend, King Charles II, tersely gave expression to his independence of character by the statement that he (Moray) was "head of his own church." A writer in the Scottish Review for January, 1885, said: "To the beautiful and remarkable character of Robert Moray justice has yet to be done. Few men of so strong and decided a personality have left behind them so little trace upon the public documents of their time: except in a few Privy council letters his signature does not appear at all." A writer in the Biographica Britannica says that "his general character was excellent in the highest degree. He was beloved and esteemed by men of every party and station." But these expressions of opinion found some exception. Was ever man enemies? From 1660 to 1670 the infifience of Moray affected the whole
practised in a very eminent manner his true Christian philosophy without
course of the Scottish government, and he guided, controlled, and supported Lauderdale against the cabals that were formed to oust him. Thus it was that Sharp, Alexander Burnet, and other apostles of repression came to look upon him as an enemy to be dreaded, and one, Lord Glencairn, made an attempt to break and ruin him. A letter was pretended to be found at Antwerp, as written by him to one William Murray, formerly whipping-boy to Charles I. This letter gave an account of a bargain alleged to have been made by Moray with another man for murdering the king, the plan to be put into execution by William Murray. Sir Robert was questioned and put under arrest, and the rumour got abroad that he had intended to kill the king, but, says Burnet, the historian, "upon this occasion Sir Robert showing so much as a cloud in his whole behaviour."
honourable order known as Freemasons. In any case, assuming, which is
It was in the society of such men as Andrew Marvell, John Evelyn, and Robert Moray that Charles II loved to linger; his delight was not, as some have asserted, in consorting with less noble types of humanity. Wood is of opinion that the degree of intimacy existing between Charles II and Sir Robert Moray was probably more upon a philosophical than a political basis "for he was employed by Charles II in his chemical processes and was indeed the conductor of his laboratory." Birch says that it was Moray who first interested the sovereign in philosophical pursuits. Charles II was a frequent visitor to the laboratory in Whitehall, which, though nominally Moray's workshop, is said to have been conducted by him for and on behalf of the king, and there may be truth in the opinion more than once expressed that Charles II was also a royal initiate of the ancient and
Moray's life came to an end in a very sudden manner. It occurred on 4th
very unlikely and improbable, that Sir Robert Moray was the first non- operative to be initiated into the mysteries of the Craft in England, Freemasonry has no reason to be ashamed when it looks to the rock whence it was hewn. Moray was the friend and benefactor of the well-known mystic, Thomas Vaughan, who, says Wood, settled in "London under the protection and patronage of that noted chymist, Sir Robert Murray, or Moray, Knight, Secretary of State for the kingdom of Scotland." At the time of the plague, Vaughan accompanied Moray to Oxford and the latter was with Vaughan when he died there. Vaughan was buried in the church of Aldbury, or Oldbury, about eight miles from the university city, "by care and charge of the said Sir Robert Moray." This was in 1673, shortly before Moray's own death and but a few hours after he had informed Wood of the passing of Vaughan.
July, 1673, and Burnet, recording the event, wrote: "How much I lost in so critical a conjuncture, being bereft of the truest and faithfullest friend I had ever known: and so I say I was in danger of committing great errors for want of so kind a monitor." Under date of 6th July, 1673, Evelyn wrote in his Diary: "This evening I went to the funeral of my dear and excellent friend, that good man and accomplished gentleman, Sir Robert Murray, Secretary of Scotland. He was buried by order of his Majesty in Westminster Abbey," and then he added in a footnote: "He delighted in every occasion of doing good. He had a superiority of genius and comprehension." Moray was not only buried in the Abbey by the King's express command, but also at the King's personal expense. His grave is by the Vestry, door, close to the grave of Sir William Davenant, sometime laureate to Charles II; the name appearing in the register as "Sir Robert Murray."
"25th January, 1665. This night being at Whitehall his Majesty came to me
His memory remained green with John Evelyn, for six years afterwards - on 11th July, 1679 - writing to Dr. Beale, he said, referring to the Royal Society: "You know what pillars we have lost, Palmer [Dudley Palmer, d. 1666, one of the first council, with Moray, of the Royal Society], Moray, Chester [Dr. John Wilkins, Bishop of Chester], Oldenburg, etc." Evelyn made frequent mention of Moray in his Diary, as will be seen from the following excerpts: "9th March, 1661. I went with that excellent person and philosopher, Sir Robert Murray, to visit Mr. Boyle at Chelsea, and saw divers effects of the coliple for weighing air." "9th May, 1661. At Sir Robert Murray's, where I met Dr. Wallis, Professor of Geometry at Oxford, where was discourse of several mathematical subjects." "22nd August, 1662 (the day after Evelyn was sworn one of the Council of the Royal Society), I dined with my Lord Brouncker and Sir Robert Murray." standing in the withdrawing room, and gave me thanks for publishing The
July, 1647, on the occasion of the admission of "William Maxwell, doctor off
Mystery of Jesuitism, which he said he had carried two days in his pocket, read it, and encouraged me; at which I did not a little wonder; I suppose Sir Robert Murray had given it to him." "19th July, 1670. I accompanied my worthy friend, that excellent man, Sir Robert Murray, with Mr. Slingsby, Master of the Mint, to see the latter's seat and estate at Barrow-Green in Cambridgeshire." Wood, recording the demise of Moray, wrote: "He had the king's ear as much as any other person and was indefatigable in his undertakings. . . . He was most renowned chymist, a great patron of the Rosi-Crucians, and an excellent mathematician. His several relations and matters of experiment, which are in the Philosophical Transactions (of the Royal Society, many of which referred to the phenomena of the tides) show him to be a man well vers'd in experimental philosophy." After his initiation into the Craft there is only one other record of his attendance at a meeting of the Lodge of Edinburgh, which was on 27th
It is also of interest - may it not even be said, of significance - to compare
Fisick ordinate to his Maj'stie hines," when he signed the minute of the meeting. ln his correspondence, however, he frequently made use of his Masonic mark (a five-pointed star), particularly in his correspondence with Lauderdale, and this has been reproduced in the Lauderdale Papers without comment, beyond the mere statement that Moray frequently made use of his Mason mark when he referred to himself or had anything of importance to communicate. If this had been an unusual occurrence in correspondence at that day one would think that more notice would have been taken of such an incident. An interesting story might be woven around "Moray and his Circle," for the men who composed that circle bore names which are familiar to every student of the history of the Craft. Such men as Wren, Ashmole, Brouncker, and others, all of whom are accredited with having been initiated into Freemasonry. Moray's name, together with that of Christopher Wren, is to be met with on almost every page of the early volumes of the Journal of the Society.
Whatever, however, may be the deductions on this ground, it will
the constitutions of the Royal Society with those of the Masonic Order. Sprat, the earliest historian of the Royal Society, says that they freely admitted men of different religions, countries, and professions. "This they were obliged to do, or else they would come far short of the largeness of their own declarations. For they openly profess not to lay the foundation of an English, Scotch, Irish, Popish, or Protestant Philosophy, but a Philosophy of Mankind." Members were elected by ballot, being proposed at one meeting and balloted for at another. The duties of the President were to call and dissolve the meetings, to propose the subjects for discussion or experiment, to regulate the proceedings, to change the enquiry from one thing to another, to admit the members elected. The President, on his installation, took an oath as follows: "I . . . do promise to deal faithfully and honestly in all things belonging to the Trust committed to me, as President of the Royal Society of London for improving Natural Knowledge. So help me God."
of Freemasonry on English soil.
unhesitatingly be admitted that none could more have sought the study of the liberal arts and sciences that came within the compass of his attainment
than did Brother Sir Robert Moray, the first known initiate into the Craft

Freemasonry - Early Legends of the Craft

Early Legends of the Craft
Introduction
Legends and Myths

The difference between legends and myths involves two dimensions: the degree
to which the narratives in questions are sacred, that is, emotionally
important and intensely real to the tellers; the degree to which they are
grounded in historical, geographical, and scientifically plausible (at least
at the moment when the assessment is made) reality. What separates these two
genres is the extent to which the tellers themselves assess the tales in
question as real beyond any question and culturally important, not whether
they are any more or less objectively real.

That is why myths tend to emphasize the actions and include narratives about
how the human society and other important phenomena began and their
interactions with mortals.

Legends by definition focus primarily on an historical ambiance. Not that
every important character in a legend is a real historical figure whose
objective existence can be documented; far from it. But the folks that
populate legends operate for the most part in a recognizable historical and
temporal framework rather than in the realm of once upon a time or the
dream-like world inhabited by gods and goddesses and, with some major
exceptions, are generally subject to the same constraints that affect all
life forms on this planet.

In short, the Craft narratives clearly belong to the genre of legend,
regardless of whether there are any objectively documented, historical
prototypes of Freemasons.


The legend of Lamech's Sons and the Pillars

The traditional history of Masonry now begins, in the legend of the Craft,
with an account of the three sons of Lamech, to whom is credited the
discovery of all sciences. But the most interesting part of the legend is
that in which the story is told of two pillars erected by these sons, and on
which they had inscribed the discoveries they had made, so that after the
threatened destruction of the world of knowledge which they had gained might
be handed on to the human race after the Flood. (Josephus, Antiquities of
the Jews, B. I., II, Whiston's translation).


The legend of Hermes

The next part of the legend of the Craft which claims our attention is that
which relates to Hermes, who is said to have found one of the pillars
erected by the sons of Lamech, and to have given to mankind the sciences
written on it. This story may, for distinction, be called The legend of
Hermes. As to Hermes, the legend is not altogether without some historical
support, although the story is in the legend mythical, but of that kind
which belongs to historical myth. He was said to be the son of Taut or
Thoth, whom the Egyptians made a God and placed his image beside those of
Osiris and Isis. To him they credited the invention of letters, as well as
of all the sciences, and they esteemed him as the founder of their religious
rites.


The Tower of Babel

Unlike the legend of Hermes, the story of the Tower of Babel appears in the
Halliwell poem, which shows that the legend was the common property of the
various writers of these old manuscripts. In the second of the two poems,
which as we have seen are united in one manuscript, the legend of Babel, or
Babylon, is given.


The legend of Nimrod

The universal sentiment of the Freemasons of the present day is to confer
upon Solomon, the King of Israel, the honor of being their first Grand
Master. But the legend of the Craft had long before, though there was a
tradition of the Temple in existence, given, at least by suggestion, that
title to Nimrod, the King of Babylonia and Assyria. It had credited the
first organization of the fraternity of craftsmen to him, in saying that he
gave a charge to the workmen whom he sent to assist the King of Nineveh in
building his cities.

That is to say, he framed for them a Constitution, and, in the words of the
legend, this was the first tyme that ever Masons had any charge of his
science. It was the first time that the Craft was organized into a
fraternity working under a Constitution of body of laws. As Nimrod was the
autocratic maker of these laws, it necessarily resulted that their first
legislator, creating laws with his unlimited and absolute governing power,
was also their first Grand Master.


The legend of Euclid

Having settled the foundation of Freemasonry in Babylon, the legend of the
Craft next proceeds by a quick change to tell the history of its movement
into Egypt. This Egyptian account, which in reference to the principal
action in it has been called the legend of Euclid, is found in all the old
manuscripts. This legend is the opening feature of the Halliwell poem, being
in that document the beginning of the history of Masonry; it is told with
very much detail in the Cooke MS., and is apparently copied from that into
all the later manuscripts, where the important particulars are about the
same, although we find a few things told in some which are left out of
others.


The legend of the Temple

From this account of the exploits of Abraham and his pupil Euclid, and of
the invention of Geometry, or Freemasonry in Egypt, the legend of the Craft
proceeds, by a rapid stride, to the story of the introduction of the art
into Judea, or as it is called in all of them, the land of the behest, or
the land of promise. Here it is said to have been principally used by King
Solomon in the construction of the Temple at Jerusalem. The general details
connected with the building of this edifice, and the help given to the King
of Israel, by Hiram, King of Tyre, are told either directly or at second
hand, through the Polychronicon, from the first Book of Kings, which, in
fact, is referred to in all the manuscripts as a source of information. (As
it is said in the Bible, in the third book of Kings, are the words of the
Cooke MS. In the arrangement of Scripture as then used, the two books of
Samuel were called the first and second of Kings. The third book of Kings
was then our first, according to the present practice.)


The extension of the Craft into other Countries

The legend of the Craft next proceeds to tell us how Freemasonry went into
divers countryes, some of the Masons traveling to increase their own
knowledge of their art, and others to use elsewhere abroad that which they
already possessed. But this subject is very briefly treated in the different
manuscripts.

The Halliwell poem says nothing of the progressive march of Freemasonry,
except that it details almost as an actual event the ill-use of the Four
Crowned Martyrs (Quatuor Coronati) as Christian Freemasons, in the reign of
the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and we should almost be led to believe from
the course of the poem that Freemasonry went directly into England from
Egypt. The Cooke MS. simply says that from Egypt, Freemasonry went from land
to land and from kingdom to kingdom until it got to England.

We find the later manuscripts are a little more definite, although still
brief. They merely tell us that many skilled craftsmen traveled into various
countries, some that they might acquire more knowledge and skill, and others
to teach those who had but little skill. Certainly there is nothing that is
myth or fable in this account. Every authentic history of architecture
agrees in the claim that at an early period the various countries of Europe
were traveled by bodies of builders in search of work in the building of
religious and other edifices. The name indeed of Traveling Freemasons, which
was given to them, is familiar in architectural history books.

Sufficient for the present, for us to show that in this part, as elsewhere,
the legend of the Craft is not a mere fiction, but that the general
statement of the spread of Freemasonry through-out Europe at an early period
is proved by historical evidence. When we examine the legend of the Craft,
it will be found to trace the growth of Freemasonry through its several
stages of progress from Babylon and Assyria to Egypt, from Egypt to Judea,
from Judea to France, and from France to England. Accepting Freemasonry and
the early art of building as meaning the same thing, this line of progress
will not be very different, with some necessary variations, to that assumed
to be correct by writers on architecture. But the study of this subject
belongs not to that which went before, but to the historical period of the
Society, that is based on the evidence of fully accredited records.


The legend of Charles Martel and Namus Grecus

The legend now gets near the field of authentic history, but still having
its traditional character, goes on to tell, but in a very few words, of the
entry of Masonry into France. We have this account given in the language of
the Dowland MS. Now, this legend is repeated, almost word for word, in all
the later manuscripts right up to recent times. But it is not even mentioned
in the earliest of the manuscripts - the Halliwell poem - and this proves
again that the two sets of recorded events and traditions are copied from
quite different sources. This whole subject is so closely connected with the
authentic history of Masonry, having really passed out of the pre-historic
period, that it claims a future and more detailed study in its proper place.


The legend of St. Alban

The legend of the Craft now goes on to tell of the history of the bringing
of Freemasonry into England, in the time of St. Alban, who lived in the 3rd
century. The legend referring to the first martyr of England is not
mentioned in the Halliwell poem, but it is first found in the Cooke MS., in
the following words: And sone after that come seynt Adhabell into England,
and he convertyd seynt Albon to cristendome. And seynt Albon lovyd well
masons, and he gaf hem fyrst her charges and maners fyrst in Englond. And he
ordeyned convenyent to pay for their travayle.

Later manuscripts, for some time, say nothing of St. Adhabell. When we get
to the Krause MS. in the beginning of the 18th century, we find mention of
St. Amphibalus, who is said in that document to have been the teacher of St.
Alban. But this St. Amphibalus, of which the Adhabell of the Cooke MS. is
seemingly in error in spelling, is so doubtful a person, that we may rejoice
that the later copyists have not as a rule thought proper to follow the
Cooke document and give him a place in the legend. However, the name is not
entirely mythical as we find it in the writings of Robert of Monmouth, 1140,
as well as, for example, in the William Watson MS., 1687.

A very interesting point of the legend of the Craft to which our attention
may be directed, is that referring to the organization of Freemasonry at the
city of York in the 10th century. This part of the legend is of much
importance. The prehistorical here verges so closely upon the historical
period, that the true account of the rise and progress of Freemasonry can
not be justly understood until each of these elements has been carefully
attached to the proper period. This subject will therefore get critical
attention.


The legend of York

The decline and decay of all architectural art and enterprise having lasted
for so long a period of time in Britain, the legend of the Craft proceeds to
account for its revival in the 10th century and in the reign of Athelstan.
His son Edwin called a meeting, or General Assembly, of the Freemasons of
York in the year 926, and there revived the institution, giving to the Craft
a new code of laws. Now it is impossible to attach to this portion of the
legend, absolutely and without any reservation, the taint of fiction. The
gathering of the Craft of England at the city of York, in the year 926, has
been accepted by both the Operative Freemasons who preceded the Revival in
1717, and by the Speculatives who succeeded them, up to the present day, as
a historical fact that did not admit of dispute. The two classes of the
legends - the one represented by the Halliwell poem. and the other by the
later manuscripts - agree in giving the same statement. The Cooke MS., which
holds a middle place between the two, also contains it. But the Halliwell
and the Cooke MSS., which are of older date, give more fully the details of
what may be called this revival of English Freemasonry. Thoroughly to
understand the subject, it will be necessary to compare the three accounts
given in the several sets of manuscripts.



Source:
Douglas Koop and J. P. Jones, the Genesis of Freemasonry, London 1978
Alber G. Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Chicago 1950-1966
Paul Naudon, Les Origines religieuses et corporatives de la
Franc-Ma├žonnerie, Paris 1972-1979
Jean-Pierre Bayard, Le Compagnonnage en France, Paris 1982
Keith B. Jackson, Beyond the Craft, Shepperton 1980-1982
Travaux de la Loge nationale de recherches Villard de Honnecourt, G.L.N.F.
the records of the Vialardi di Sandigliano Foundation Museum and Center for
History and Humaniti