"The Mother Lodge"
(notes by George Kieffer)
What attracted him was Freemasonry's emphasis on universal brotherhood in a country riven by caste and race. Lodge Hope and Perseverance was neutral territory, where Indians and English met as equals:'I was entered by a members of the Bramo Samaj (a reformist Hindu movement), passed by a Mohammedan, and raised by an Englishman.. He wrote to The Times: 'Our Tyler was an Indian Jew, we met of course on the level, and the only difference anyone would notice was that at our banquets some of the Brethren who were debarred by caste rules from eating food not ceremonially prepared, sat by empty plates.'In contrast to his dismal record of attendance as a Punjab volunteer, Ruddy ws a regular attender at every monthly meeting, and acted conscientiously as the Lodge Secretary for a year. He also researched the subject of Freemasonry well enough to be able to present papers to his brother Masons on the 'Origins of the Craft', and 'Some Remarks on Populat Views of Freemasonry', and he took the opportuniy to attend meetings at the Military Lodge at Mian Mir, from whose rolls he purloined the names of two fellow Masons, Surgeon Captain Terence Mulvaney, and Lieutenant Learoyd of the Royal Artillery....
Raised as a non-believer, Ruddy nevertheless had a strong religious impulse, which freemasonry satisfied by providing a spiritual centre ground, a sanctuary from which he could emerge as he pleased to explore the plethora of creeds about him.
Once when visiting Jamalpur, a railway manufacturing town in Bengal, he consoled himself with the thought that at the local lodge, St George in the East, there were:
...men who will talk to me as though they had known me all their lives on subjects which both I and they will be able to discourse about with freedom and camaraderie.There he probably met the model for Olaf Swanson, the mail train driver .. in his didactic story "The Bold 'Prentice" ... within the Craft, Rudyard would come to know a hitherto unknown body of men, the mechanics and foremen who ensured that British India ran efficiently. Through these blue-collar labourers and the middle class engineers and public works officials at the Club, he honed his ideas about the importance of work and duty, both for the individual and the community.