Annie Besant: Short Notes For PSC

Annie Besant: Short Notes For PSC

 This post presents a brief overview of the life and achievements of Annie Besant, a social reformer, political leader, women's rights campaigner, writer, and orator who was instrumental in the fight for Indian independence.

Life and times of Annie Besant: Short Notes

  • Birth – 1847 October 1 (London).
    • Irish Origin.
  • Former Name – Annie Wood.
  • Nickname  Diamond Soul, Grand Old Lady of Indian Nationalism.
  • Autobiography – Annie Besant: An Autobiography.
  • Joined the National Secular Society in 1874.
  • Participated in Bloody Sunday demonstration and the London matchgirls strike of 1888. 
  • The year in which Annie Besant reached India was  1893.
    • as a part of the Theosophical Society.
Annie Besant
  • Founder of  
    • Central Hindu School and College in Banares (now Varanasi, 1898),
      • which later became the famous Banaras Hindu University in 1916. 
    • Central Hindu School for Girls,
    • Theosophical Order of Service (1908),
    • Young Men’s Indian Association (1914),
    • Indian Scout Movement (1918),
      • as Lord Baden Powell thought that Indians were unfit to be scouts. 
      • Later seeing the success of Indian scouts, he decided to amalgamate it with his world organization and Annie Beasant became Honorary Scout Commissioner for India.
    • Hyderabad (Sind) National Collegiate Board (1922),
    • Order of the Brothers of Service,
    • Society for the Promotion of National Education.
  • Worked for the revival of Hinduism and for the upliftment of women.
  • Founder & President of Women’s Indian Association at Adyar.
  • Adopted Son  Jiddu Krishnamurti.
  • Famous Words – England’s need is India’s opportunity.
    • During World War 1, when England declared war against Germany.
  • Death – 1933 September 20, Adyar (Chennai).
    • Resting place – Garden of Remembrance (Memorial park in Adyar, Chennai).

Newspapers & Publications

  • The Commonweal, New India & The Adyar Bulletin (1929).

All-India Home Rule League

  • Established in – September 1916 (Chennai).
  • Co-founder – Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
  • Organizing Secretary – George Arundale.
  • The Muslim leader who joined the Home Rule League – Mohammed Ali Jinnah.
  • First political organization in India to demand self-rule.

Theosophical Society

  • Founders – Madame H. P. Blavatsky & Colonel Olcott (New York, 1875).
  • Alias – Brahma Vidyasangham,
  • Headquarters – Adyar (Chennai, Tamil Nadu).
  • Annie Besant joined the Theosophical Society – 1889 May 21.
  • Second International President of Theosophical Society (1907-1933).
  • Participated in the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago as a member of Theosophical Society.

Indian National Congress

  • Became member of Indian National Congress in 1914.
  • First Woman President of Indian National Congress (1917).
    • The oldest woman to become president of the Indian National Congress at the age of 70.
  • Mrs. Besant presided over the 1919 Kolkata session of the Indian National Congress.
  • Opposed Gandhi's non-cooperation movement and civil disobedience which made her unpopular with the Indian leaders.

Annie Besant and Kerala

  • President of the Malabar District Congress's First Conference at Palakkad (1916).
  • President of the first ‘Reform Conference’ in Malabar (1921).
  • Name the Malabari member of the Home Rule League Delegation led by Annie Besant that traveled to London in 1917 to deliver a memorandum to the Secretary of State  K.P. Kesava Menon.
    • Secretary of Malabar Home rule league  K.P. Kesava Menon.
  • In 1917, at the age of 29, who was asked by Annie Besant to travel to England with her, Syed Hussain, and BV Narasimhan to talk about Home Rule? George Joseph.


Authored over three hundred books and pamphlets. Some of the famous ones are:
  • Occult Chemistry
  • Esoteric Christianity.
  • The Ancient Wisdom.
  • The Doctrine of Hurt.
  • The Law of Population.
  • Seven Great Religions
  • The Political Status of Woman.
  • English Translation of Bhagavadgitâ (1905).
  • The Future of Indian Politics.
    • Events of Mapila Rebellion.

Awards & Recognitions

  • Doctor of Letters (1921)
  • ‘Silver Wolf’ medal ( the highest Scout distinction) in 1932.
  • First Foreign woman to appear on the Indian Stamp.

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