Masonic Lodge and Picquet Tank, Secunderabad.
Photographer: Dayal, Deen
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Masonic Lodge buildings in Secunderabad, taken by Lala Deen Dayal, c. 1890. In the 19th century era of pioneering photography mostly dominated by Europeans in India, Deen Dayal earned renown as a hugely successful Indian photographer. Born to a Jaina family in Sardhana near Meerut, he studied photography while an engineering student, and took it up professionally encouraged by mentors such as Sir Henry Daly. His technical excellence and attention to detail made him much in demand and he took official photographs of colonial events and administrators, including Lord Dufferin, Viceroy 1884-88. In 1884 he was appointed court photographer to the Nizam of Hyderabad and founded a studio in Secunderabad which is still run by his descendents today. He specialised in portraiture and Indian views.
Secunderabad is situated in Andhra Pradesh next to Hyderabad, its older twin city (founded c. 1590). The Nizam of Hyderabad, Sikander Jah, entered into a subsidiary alliance with the British East India Company in 1798, involving military and political cooperation. Under the alliance an area north of Hussain Sagar lake was to be made a cantonment. Soon after the alliance was signed 5,000 British troops arrived and camped north of Hyderabad; the cantonment was laid out in 1806 and named after the Nizam, and thus was Secunderabad founded. The cantonment developed into a major township as its military functions and business opportunities drew large numbers of people from the surrounding rural areas.
Masonic activity in India began as far back as 1728, with the first Lodge being established in Calcutta. A Lodge was founded in Secunderabad in 1822. There are about 277 lodges in India, and the oldest building in India used as a Masonic Lodge is in Hyderabad: the Goshamal Baradari built in 1682.