Fozdar, Vahid Jalil, “Constructing the 'brother': Freemasonry, empire, and nationalism in India, 1840—1925”, PhD thesis, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY, 2001. Brief summary.

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This dissertation explores the role of Freemasonry in the development of modern India, by bolstering the British Empire in India, and by informing the Indian nationalist movement. Freemasonry … did not require that one apostatize one's religion, yet it was a quasi-religion with its own rituals and doctrines to which followers of diverse faiths, it was thought, could subscribe…. (It) was a vehicle for both Enlightenment and Romantic thought. Also, Masonic antiquarian scholars sought to identify elements of Masonry in every religion, in order to establish an ancient basis of brotherhood. Various British colonial officials sought to employ this in fostering imperial unity ….  Many prominent early nationalists were Freemasons. Freemasonry contributed to Indian nationalism in four main ways. First, by serving with, and being increasingly accepted by, British Freemasons in the administrative work of the lodge, Indians found it difficult not to think that they should be accorded similar responsibilities … in the management of the British Raj. Second, Indian Freemasons were often leaders in socio-religious reform movements in their respective communities, whether Hindu, Muslim, or Parsi, and the reformed religions they sought to construct looked much like Freemasonry,… in conformity with science, and without … barriers, such as caste. Third, by bringing Indians of various communities together … Freemasonry allowed Indian Masons to imagine a pluralistic, secular Indian nation in which all could be equal citizens, much as they were in the lodge. Finally, the structure of Freemasonry, based as it is on constitutionalism and written laws, enabled many Indians to participate, within the lodge, in an environment characteristic of a liberal democracy even before they could do so in the larger society.” From the abstract.