Born: Annie Besant Died on October 1, 1847: September 20, 1933
Accomplishments: Indian Theosophical Society President; established the Home Rule League in 1916 and demanded India's independence; became the Indian National Congress' first female president.
Annie Besant was a well-known Theosophist, social reformer, political leader, activist for women's rights, author, and speaker. She made India her second home and was Irish. She was the first woman to lead the Indian National Congress and fought for Indian rights.
On October 1, 1847, Annie Besant, also known as Annie Wood, was born into a middle-class family in London. She was of Irish beginning. Her dad passed on when she was just five. The family was supported by Annie's mother's Harrow boarding house for boys. She traveled extensively throughout Europe as a young woman, which broadened her perspective.
Annie Besant married Frank Besant, a clergyman, in 1867. However, the marriage was short-lived. 1873 saw their legal separation. The marriage resulted in two children for Annie Besant. Annie began to question not only her long-held religious beliefs but also conventional thinking as a whole after her separation. She began writing critiques of the Churches and the ways in which they ruled over people's lives. She specifically criticized the Church of England's status as a faith supported by the state.
Women's rights, secularism, birth control, Fabian socialism, and workers' rights were among the causes Annie Besant supported. As a means of understanding God, she became interested in Theosophy. Theosophical Society preached universal brotherhood and opposed race, color, and gender discrimination. Its primary objective was to serve the entire human race. She arrived in India in 1893 as a member of the Theosophical Society of India.
She went on a tour of India's entire territory. It provided her with firsthand information about India and middle-class Indians, who were disproportionately affected by British rule and its educational system. The Central Hindu College in Benares was established as a direct result of her persistent interest in education.
She also joined the Indian independence movement. She established the Home Rule League in 1916, which advocated for Indian self-government. In 1917, she became the Indian National Congress's President. She was the primary lady to hold that post. She started a newspaper called "New India," spoke out against British rule, and was put in jail for sedition. Differences arose between Mahatma Gandhi and Annie Besant after Gandhiji entered the Indian national scene. Steadily, she pulled out from dynamic legislative issues.
On September 20, 1933, Annie Besant passed away in Adyar (Madras). Her ashes were buried in Benares in the Ganga in accordance with her wish.