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Article # 31
Oration at Memorial Service

Author: R.W.Bro.R.Ratnaswami P.A.G.M    Posted on: Monday, July 22, 2002
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[ R.W.Bro. G.Ramaswami was one of the distinguished Assistant Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of India. He has had a distinguished career as a lawyer and as jurist. As the Attorney General of India he had represented and appeared for the Union of India in innumerable cases. He had addressed several International Seminars on various branches of Law. He had an attack of cerebral stroke and was called to the Grand Lodge Above on May 22nd 1999. The five Lodges in which he was a member, namely Lodge Justitia (No.82), Lodge Sri Brahadeeswara (No.150), Lodge Veeraswami (No.200), Lodge C.A.Ramakrishna (No.192)and Lodge Ramaprasad (No.228) conducted a Memorial Service in memory of late R.W.Bro. G.Ramaswami on June 14 th 1999 in a Joint Meeting, which was graced by R.W.Brethren. Justice V.Ramaswami, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India and R.Krishnamurthy( Former Advocate General) , Past Deputy Grand Masters and very many Grand officers Past and Present. The Oration was delivered by R.W.Bro.R.Ratnaswami, himself a Past Assistant Grand Master. We are publishing the Oration to perpetuate the memory of the distinguished brother, in our series of famous Orations --Moderator ]

Brethren, we are in the midst of paying our homage and the last sad tribute of respect and of our affection, to our well beloved departed brother, Late R.W.Bro. Ganesa Iyer Ramaswami P.A.G.M, who in pursuance of the will of the G.A.O.T.U, had laid down his working tools and the mortal part of his body and had ascended to the Grand Lodge Above and has become a living stone in that spiritual edifice eternal in heaven.

2. R.W.Bro.G.Ramaswami, affectionately called by the brethren and friends and respectfully referred to by the legal fraternity as "G.R", was born on 9-9-1929, as the eldest son of Late. Shri. Ganesa Iyer, a leader of the Thanjavur Bar, who was noted for his great legal learning and uprightness, as well as great piety. He was a great scholar of repute in Sanskrit and religious literature and the Shastras. R.W.Bro. G.R has imbibed all those noble qualities of his illustrious father. He graduated from St.Joseph's College, Tiruchirapalli and joined the Madras Law College and took his Bachelors Degree in Law in 1951. After his enrolement as an Advocate in 1952, he commenced his practice as an Advocate in Thanjavur.

3. He was a trial lawyer in the initial stages handling very many criminal as well as civil cases. Later he took to the practice of Transport Cases, wherein he had a meteoric rise and became an outstanding lawyer. Finding that Thanjavur was too small a place for his talents, he shifted his practice to the Madras High Court. Steadily he built up a lucrative practice in all branches of law and especially in Constitutional Law. It was by sheer hard work, mastery of law and the sincerity and whole hearted devotion to the practice of law, that he became within a short period one of the acknowledged leaders of the Bar. The State Government recognising his merits and abilities appointed him as the Government Pleader, to represent the Government before the High Court and the Supreme Court, in the early seventies, which post he held with dignity and further won the esteem of all concerned. Top political leaders, leading industrialists and businessmen sought his advice and became his clients. The Union Government appointed him first as Additional Solicitor General and he then shifted to New Delhi. Ultimately he was appointed as the Attorney General of India, which post he occupied with great erudition and dignity. He has had the unique distinction of having appeared in all the High Courts in India as well as in Courts in several foreign countries. He had represented India in numerous International Seminars, Conventions and Conferences. True to the masonic teachings, he had risen to eminence by merit and hard work and merit had been his title to all his success and the same can be more appropriately delineated only in the following words of the poet .

" The heights greatmen reached and kept

Were not attained in sudden flight,

They, while their companions slept,

Were toiling upward in the night. "

4. Bro.G.R was initiated into the mysteries and privileges of Freemasonry on 14 th August 1964 in Lodge Cauvery (3848 E.C), Thanjavur. Eversince, he saw the light of Freemasonry, he has been scrupulously practicing outside the Lodge, all those duties he had been taught in it. The Charge at the N.E, had a profound influence on him and he never hesitated to cheerfully embrace the opportunity to practice the Masonic virtues of benevolence and charity, whenever anyone in distress solicited his assistance. He remained steadfast to his friends and brethren and did not allow any external advantages of rank and fortune to assail him from that steadfastness. There is a long list of brethren and their families, whom he had been helping for a long time, when circumstances of unavoidable calamity and misfortune had overtaken them and reduced them to distress. Likewise, he was helping friends in distress. Helping others was his distinctive trait, particularly his friends, who were numerous and all of them were very much attached to him. All his friends remained with him so till the end. He never had an enemy. To be more exact in the words of Alexander Boswell

“ His was a lot that few are blessed to know

More proved, more valued, fervent yet so kind,

He never lost one friend, nor found one foe”.

5. He was passed to the degree of F.C on 11th September 1964 and raised to the sublime degree of M.M on 9 th October 1964 in Lodge Cauvery. He joined Lodge Justitia (No.82- Grand Lodge of India) in 1967 and later Lodge C.A.Ramakrishna (No.192) and Sri Brahadeeswara Lodge (No.150). He was a Founder member of Lodge Veeraswami (No.200) and Lodge Ramaprasad (No.228). He was installed as the W.M of Lodge Veeraswami in 1973. He evinced keen interest in Freemasonry. Many Regional Grand Lodge Ranks and Grand Lodge Ranks were conferred on him. M.W.Grand Master appointed him as Grand Registrar in 1996 both in Craft as well as in Grand Chapter and as the R.W. Assistant Grand Master in 1997. 25 years Long Term Service Jewel was presented to him by the M.W.Grand Master on 4th May 1996. Until he shifted to New Delhi , he had attended all the meetings of the Regional Grand Lodge and numerous meetings of the Grand Lodge. On the eve of the annual Investiture meetings of the D.G.L and R.G.L, he used to entertain the numerous brethren from the other cities. He was a lavish host and his hospitality knew no bounds. He was a Connoisseur of all finer aspects of life and was an authority on refreshments from different parts of the world.

6. Among the brethren of the Southern Region, we have had a few brethren, who were good collectors of sculptures. R.W.Bro. G.R had excelled all of them. His collections from different parts of the world had made him the proud possessor of sculptures , next only to the premier art museums in India. All the pieces collected by him were exquisite. Like wise his collection of the Law and General books had made him the proud owner of the biggest library owned by an individual . He built a library building entirely at his cost and donated all his books to that library and dedicated the same to the legal fraternity.

7. Belief and trust in God is the first requisite of every Freemason. R.W.Bro. G.R was a very pious brother and following the Masonic teaching, he never used to embark upon any undertaking without first invoking the blessings of the G.A.O.T.U. His devotion to God was so strong, that in the little time, he was able to spare, he had visited almost all the important shrines in India. He never used to go temples alone, but had always taken several brethren with him. His was a life well spent according to the Masonic teachings. His duties to God, his neighbours and to himself including his family were all truly and well discharged. His father died leaving behind him a large family consisting of many young children. He along with his natural and Masonic brother W.Bro.G.Subramanian saw to it that, every one was properly settled in life. We have been taught that, we can find relief and succour in times of distress from brethren. True to that teaching, he was always there, ready and willing to provide relief to those in distress, “ even if friends had forsaken, the envious had traduced the good name, the malicious had persecuted and dangers, doubts or difficulties had assailed”, and he stood as the bulwark and administered relief in distress and comfort in affliction, by travelling through dangers and difficulties and forming a column of mutual defence of the afflicted brother. By rendering timely and effective help and assistance to brethren and friends, he “reigned sovereign in the hearts and affections” and that “was far more gratifying for his benevolent mind, than to rule over their lives and fortunes”. He was an embodiment of the quintessence of all the Masonic teachings and had proved to the world the happy and beneficial effects of our ancient institution and the world certainly knew that he is one to whom the burdened heart may pour forth its sorrow and to whom the distressed may prefer their suit. His heart had always been expanded by benevolence. Very few had offended him and he only dropped a tear of sympathy over the failings of the brother, who did so and never hesitated to pour the healing balm of consolation into the bosom of those afflicted.

8. Masonic Research had always fascinated him. He had planned to set up in Chennai an institute for Masonic research. But for his sudden illness, he would have fulfilled that wish also. When he was fighting for life, most of us prayed for him and special prayers were offered in many temples. But, the will of the G.A.O.T.U was different. Probably, He had urgent need of our brother in the Grand Lodge Above. His Summons, none can ignore or disobey and which neither virtue, nor bravery, neither wealth, nor honour, neither efforts of friends and brethren, nor tears of relatives can avert. His mandate, none can avoid. Nor can the tyled doors or the Tyler’s weapon obstruct. Perhaps, the following lines of the poet Omar Khayyam are apposite. . “ The moving finger writes

And, having writ moves on

Nor all thy piety can lure it back

To cancel half a line

Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it”.

9. Brethren, such are the attributes and the qualities of our well beloved departed brother. Here was a perfect mason, whence come one another. Amidst the sorrow, his departure has caused, we see before us a huge void left by him, who during his life time was a towering giant among men. Death alone could have laid him low. To be more exact in the words of the poet,

“ Alas, vindictive was the wrath,

And fatal was the blow

Thou pride of Masonic chivalry

In death that laid thee low”.

10. We have to comfort ourselves that our beloved brother has become a living stone in that Spiritual edifice, eternal in heaven and a bright ornament of the Grand Lodge Above. The best way we can ever pay homage to him is to emulate him and complete the unfinished tasks left by him, until such time, we are Summoned to join him. Let us with gratitude thank the G.A.O.T.U for having blessed us with the privilege of having been associated with such a distinguished brother during our life time and let us pray to the Most High to bless the departed brother with everlasting bliss.

Click Here To Post Your Comment

VELAYUTHAM, R. wrote on Friday, August 16, 2002:

Subject: ARTICLE No. 31

In the introductory paragraph, the Moderator has mentioned that the memorial service for R.W.Bro.G.Ramasamy was conducted by four lodges on 14th June 1999. Please note that it was a joint meeting of FIVE lodges. Lodge Ramaprasad No. 228 was the fifth one. W.Bro.R. Velayutham

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