* The International Business Times of September 17 has an article about the proposed Passenger Terminal Building that will link Hong Kong and Shengzen in Mainland China. The writer says: Hong Kong and Shengzen are two leading cities growing with a common destiny. The two entities are related to one another and both incorporated under the People’s Republic of China, with borders defining geographic boundaries of political entities and legal jurisdictions. A symbol: Two major cities growing as one, and together becoming truly “the parts of a part.” There are no symbols, without a deep and philosophical meaning attached to them, “nothing could be preserved in human memory without some outward symbol.” (Madame Blavatsky).
* The Journal of World History for September 2011 has a study by Vahid Fozdar on the function of Freemasonry in India: “‘That Grand Primeval and Fundamental Religion’: The Transformation of Freemasonry into a British Imperial Cult.” Fozdar notes: The Historians of the Raj have usually given the role of validating Hinduism and other Indian religions—and, consequently, in contributing to Indian nationalism—to another Western organization: the Theosophical Society (TS), founded by Helena P. Blavatsky and Henry Olcott.
In light of recent research on the role of Protestant Christianity in the British Empire, this article explores the possibility that the British actually carried to India a “religion” besides Protestantism, something that mimicked a religion so closely that it could virtually serve as an alternative to Christianity for purposes of imperial consolidation—namely, Freemasonry. The article posits that British Freemasonry, although it emerged from a Christian environment, progressively de-Christianized itself in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and increasingly espoused a religious universalism, which in turn allowed it to serve as an institutionalized, quasi-official, and de facto “civil religion” for the British Empire in India.