The Burnes Medal

(The Fundators Medal)

Lodge Rising Star of Western India completed its first year successfully with 50 members on its roll, and resolved to reinstall Bro. Dr. James Burnes as its Master for the second time, which was done in the presence of two distinguished visitors from overseas, namely, The Marquis de Farriere La Voyar, French Ambassador enroute to China, and Viscount Sandall. The Lodge resolved in 1844 to commemorate its foundation, and to express its sense of gratitude to its founder, Bro. Dr. James Burnes by striking a Medal known as the Fundators or Burnes Medal.

Obverse viewReverse view

It was struck in pure silver and executed by the famous artist R. Wyon, in London. On the obverse it bears a bust effigy of Right Worshipful Brother Dr. James Burnes, surrounded by the inscription "Frat Insig et dilect Jacobus Burnes fundator" meaning - James Burnes, Founder, distinguished and beloved brother. On the reverse are the full size effigies of Brothers Maneckji Cursetji and Mahomed Jaffer, each clothed in the full dress of their community, and with an apron and ribbon of the Order, and wearing the jewel of their office, and bearing a banner in their hand, standing near a pedestal on which are placed two volumes of the Sacred Law and a jewel, at the foot of which are the working tools, and behind which is a palm tree. On the pedestal appears the inscription "Lodge Rising Star at Bombay". On the rim is the inscription "Founded for the reception of native gentlemen Dec 15. 1843". The diameter of the medal is 45mm, and it weighs 37 grams. The Lodge has always highly prized this Medal, and has presented it sparingly to great and distinguished Masons, who are not members of the Lodge, as a token of great esteem and respect of the Lodge for them. We may mention a few recipients.

In 1862 it was voted to be presented to our Honorary member Bro. Dr. George Oliver. As Bro. Dr. Oliver had never visited India, Bro Maneckji Cursetji travelled to London and handed it over to Bro. Dr. Oliver. In honour of Bro. Dr. George Oliver; Doctor Oliver Lodge #3964 UGLE, was consecrated on the 23rd September 1919 within the Province of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, the Warrant being granted on the 1st of January 1919. Lodge Rising Star of Western India had the good fortune of being contacted by W.Bro Ian R McLachlan, LGR Prov.Grand Std Bearer (Northants and Hunts), Treasurer Dr Oliver Lodge, in March 2014, to communicate that the Lodge had in its possession, the Burnes medal, the original letter of presentation, and also his Certificate of Affiliation to the third Degree in 1846 (being made an Honorary member of the Lodge). By kind courtesy of the brethren of Doctor Oliver Lodge, the scanned copies are available for viewing here.

In 1875, this Medal was presented by the Lodge to King Edward VII (then The Prince of Wales) whilst laying the foundation stone of the Princes Dock at Bombay, and is displayed even this day in U.K. with the other masonic regalia and jewels of His Majesty, who was the Grand Master of England, and Patron of Scottish Freemasonry. Another member of the Royal Family of England, who was presented with this medal, was H.R.H. The Duke of Connaught.

In 1904, a new die was cast (on the identical model of the previous medal) and new Medals were ordered out.

The Medal has also been presented amongst others to the Earl of Dalhousie (the Viceroy of India), Lord Elphinstone (the Governor of Bombay), the Grand Masters of England, Scotland and Ireland, the Duke of Caze, the Most Venerable of the Grand Orient of France, and Royal Princes of Persia. The last presentation to a non-Member was to Most Wor. Bro. The Earl of Eglington and Winton, the Grand Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1959, through Lord MacDonald, the Immediate Past Grand Master of Scotland during his visit to our Lodge on 7th March 1959.

The Medal has also been presented over the years to many of our own members in recognition of services rendered. Today only ten of these Medals remain in circulation and have been voted to Bros. Dinshaw S. Tata, Dr. Hoshung R. Mobedji, Dhunjishaw D. Karkaria, Naval P. Dadachanji, Rusi N. Sethna, Rohinton B. Dhalla, Farrokh C. Cama, Daraius J. Ranina, Pervez H. Mistry, and Pervez M. Mistry. Having worn this jewel with pride for over a decade, Bros. Dinshaw S. Tata and Dhunjishaw D. Karkaria have voluntarily returned their respective Medals to the Lodge for presentation to other deserving brethren. These have, in turn, been bestowed on Bros. Minoo J. Amra and Phiroze S. Shroff.
Subsequently Bro. Daraius J. Ranina in a noble gesture, surrendered his Medal to the Lodge in a very short span to allow more members the privilege of being awarded the prestigious Medal. His Medal has been voted to Bro. Dr. J. C. N. Joshipura in 1998.
In 1999, the Bro. F. C. Cama returned his medal to the Lodge, which was voted to Bro. Dr. B. M. Netarwala.
In December 2000 Bro Minoo Amra returned his medal to the Lodge which was voted to Bro. Dr. Pervez Hakim.
In December 2001 Bro Rohington Dhalla, whose family held the coveted Jewel for 3 generations, most graciously returned his medal to the Lodge, which was voted to Bro Rohington Dhunjibhoy.
In December 2002 Bro. Dr. J. C. N. Joshipura returned his Burnes medal to the Lodge which was unanimously and deservedly voted to Bro Kersi N. Wadia.

In 2003 Bro David Roberts (a Freemason belonging to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania), purchased some regalia from a pawn shop in London. Upon inspection it was found to belong Bro H D Cartwright, Bro. Harry Durance Cartwright was the third Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Western India, (as the District was then named), under the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The items were dated 1855. It was a box that contained his apron, collar, jewel, Burnes medal, his commission from GL of Scotland and other papers. Bro David Roberts handed over these items to Wor. Brother Ed Miles, District Deputy Grand Master 36, Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. While other items are kept in the museum of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, the Burnes medal was personally handed over to Bro Bomi Mehta, RWDGM, by Brother Ed Miles, District Deputy Grand Master 36, Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania; when he flew down to Mumbai to attend the re-dedication ceremony on the 175th anniversary of Lodge Perseverance No. 338 in January 2004. This rare Burnes medal is now in personal possesion of Bro Bomi Mehta RWPDGM.

In December 2003, three Burnes Medals were made available to the Lodge. One was returned to the Lodge by Bro. Dr. Hoshand Mobedji, who resigned from the Lodge, one each from the families of Late Bro Phiroze S. Shroff, and Late Bro. Phiroz Sethna. Late Bro. Phiroz Sethna was the Master of our Lodge in 1898-99. The family members to whom it was handed down, traced it back to our Lodge and magnanimously returned it to the Lodge enabling it to be presented to current deserving members. This Medal of Bro Phiroz Sethna returned to the Lodge has increased the number of jewels in the hands of the Lodge to eleven. These were voted to Bro. Aspi M. Mistry, Bro. Mehernosh Currawala, and Bro. Dr. Bejon P. Shroff.

Bro Aspi Mistry returned his Burnes medal, and on the installation meeting held in Jan 2009, this medal was voted and presented to Bro Godrej Dandiwala.

In 2009, on the demise of our dear Bro Pervez M. Mistry, his widow returned the medal to the lodge, which was voted and presented to Bro Dhurjati Prasad Mukherji.

During 2011, two medals were returned to the lodge from the families of late Bros. Dr. Behram Netarwala and Naval Dadachandji. At the installation meeting of the lodge held on 14-1-1012, these were voted and presented to Bro Furokh Santoke and Bro Hoshang Dastur.

In 2013 Bro Hoshang Dastur and Bro Pervez H. Mistry returned their medals which were presented to Bro Rashid Contractor and Bro Dara Avari on the installation night of 7th December 2013.

In 2015, the medal received from the widow of late Br. Godrej Dandiwala was awarded to Br Shavak Kapadia.

The Medal is presented to a member on the strict understanding that on his demise or on his resigning his membership, his surviving family members or he, as the case may be, will return the jewel to the Lodge, which in turn may then vote it to another deserving member.


The enlarged view showing the details of some of the medals/jewels are available if you will click on the pictures.


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