Brief history of the creation of the GLM by MW Bro Lindsay Descombes, Past GM1968, March 12, was the day Mauritius acquired its independence, I undertook the necessary procedures to become a Freemason, probably because in my mind I associated 'Freemasonry' with a certain idea of 'freedom' and independence!
1969, January 16, I was initiated in one of the two British Lodges which had a total monopoly over ‘regular’ Freemasonry in Mauritius for over a century. Not a single new Lodge was created during that time..
1991 : twenty-three years after the independence of Mauritius, I participated with a few Masons from several francophone lodges, not recognized by the two British Lodges, in the creation of the French Lodge "Louis Auguste Ormières No. 710" under the auspices of the Grande Loge Nationale Française.
My involvement was motivated by a desire and will to move out of the monopolistic system in which I had found myself with other 'regular' Masons practicing a single "Rite" introduced over a century ago.
As a passionate of the history of Freemasonry, I was also intellectually motivated nurturing a constant quest for knowledge and truth - which is the essence of a Masonic initiation.
Wise and happy association with the GLNF
The decision to partner with Grande Loge Nationale Française (GLNF), a multi-rite Masonic body was felt judicious, appropriate and full of hope. The variety of rites offered and the possibility of working rituals in French were most welcomed by Masons in Mauritius who, mostly bilingual, come from different cultural, religious and ethnical backgrounds. Membership increased substantially and new lodges were established.
Moreover, GLNF proposed to assist the Brethren in Mauritius in creating their own Grand Lodge if they so wished. With regard to that proposal, an action plan was established. On March 12, 2005, on the occasion of the 37th anniversary of the independence of Mauritius, GLNF consecrated the Grand Lodge of Mauritius. GLNF transferred the seven lodges it had created between 1991 and 2005 under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Mauritius, henceforth independent and sovereign.
Six years of independence
Masonic independence, from the perspective of Masons in Mauritius, was a means to turn a new leaf over the history of ‘colonial’ Freemasonry which was not always praiseworthy.
In six years, the Grand Lodge of Mauritius has to a great extent strengthen its relationship with the other independent and sovereign Grand Lodges of the region, all of which having more or less similar Masonic histories.
The Grand Lodge of Mauritius is multi-rite and has forged an identity which reflects the Mauritian society, multicultural and multilingual. Masons in Mauritius enjoy a unique privilege. They are exposed and can 'interface' with a dozen of Masonic rites among the widespread and practiced worldwide.
Young and rich legacy
What should we do to preserve this young and rich Masonic heritage?
History teaches us that there is no great concern at organizational level with Grand Lodges operating in hegemonic societies where generally, the Lodges practice only one rite or ritual. Generally, a Masonic rite is rooted in the sociological, cultural, mystical and mythical background of the country where it takes its rise.
However, it should be noted difficulties, sometimes insurmountable, arise in some Grand Lodges situating in hegemonic societies, but, having adopted the multi-rite system which includes rites imported or inspired from other cultures.
In a heterogeneous society. like Mauritius, problems could still be different.
All this implies that it pertains to each Grand Lodge to choose the ritualistic system (mono or multi-rite) most conducive to the socio-cultural environment in which it operates. It must in all circumstances, ensure and uphold the sacrosanct and fundamental principle that Grand Lodges should have total control over the ‘rites’ and ‘rituals’ together with the Lodges under its jurisdiction they form but ONE body.
Having been in the architecture of the Grand Lodge of Mauritius since its inception, I am conscious of having opened the Grand Lodge to a variety of rites and rituals, unknown of before. Therefore, it was important for me to put in place appropriate structures for an effective organization and management of same. The layout of those structures and the philosophy of the GLM were outlined and explained under several articles in GLM magazine (Masonic No. 6 - September 2010).
I have put it all my heart and know-how in achieving that “Guideline”, hoping it would prove useful and practical, enable the different rites to develop side by side in harmony and allow the Brethren to appreciate happily the beauty of the rites.
I have always placed the interest of our Grand Lodge above any other consideration since its creation. I know that I have given the best of myself during the past twenty years to make this Grand Lodge a reality. The task would not have been possible without the help and support I have received from numerous Masons, friends and my family above all.
May the Great Architect protect our Grand Lodge and bestow upon you courage and strength to continue, under the leadership of the new Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mauritius, my good friend and Brother, MW Bro Bika Seewoosunkur Jhuboo who has my confidence, the work already started.
May our Grand Lodge continue to prosper in peace and harmony for the happiness of the Brethren and Universal brotherhood.
'Long live' the Grand Lodge of Mauritius.
Past Grand Master