Annie Besant was a prominent Theosophist, social reformer, political leader, women's rights activist, writer, and orator. She fought for the rights of the Indian people, and she was the first woman president of the Indian National Congress. She was the president of the Theosophical Society of India and founder of the Home Rule League in 1916.
Annie Besant was born on October 1, 1847 in London as Annie Wood. She was of Irish origin and made India her second home. Her father died before she turned five, so her mother supported the family by running a boarding house for boys at Harrow. As a young woman, she traveled extensively in Europe to broaden her outlook.
An individual who has a lot of experience and wisdom is Annie Besant. She was married twice, but her marriage to Frank Besant didn't last long. They legally separated in 1873. After the separation, she began questioning not only her long-held religious beliefs but all of her conventional thinking. She began writing about attacks on the Churches and their impact on society. In particular, she attacked the status of the Church of England as a state-sponsored faith.
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Annie Besant fought for causes she thought were right. She became interested in Theosophy as a way of knowing God. The Transcendental Society is against discrimination based on race, gender, and color, preaching the universal brotherhood of all humanity. To serve humanity at large was its supreme goal. She came with her husband and members to India in 1893 as one of the members of the Transcendental Society in India.
At an early age, she became fascinated with India and its middle-class values. Her interest in education led to the establishment of Central Hindu College at Benares in 1898.
Annie Besant became involved in the Indian freedom movement and often made controversial statements. In 1916, she founded the Home Rule League which advocated for self-rule by Indians. Most notably, she became the president of the Indian National Congress in 1917. She was an influential journalist who criticized British rule and was jailed for sedition after Gandhiji's arrival. After differences arose between Mahatma Gandhi and Annie Besant, she gradually withdrew from political life.
Annie Besant died on September 20, 1933, after traveling to the city of Madras. The location where she chooses to be honored by the public is the Ganges in Varanasi until she's cremated.
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