Dr. Annie Besant can easily be included among the most remarkable personalities of the last century. Born in London on 1st October 1847, she achieved in one life time what it would take the average person several life times to achieve. For years she inspired countless people all over the world, and can be recognized as one of the great moral forces that swayed the Indian Sub-continent for many years. The founder of Pakistan Mr. Mohammed Ali Jinnah admired her greatly and always respectfully addressed her as “Amma” meaning mother.

Her brilliant life was expressed in many ways. Her oratory was compelling and she had the power to speak to the very heart of men. She spoke from the theosophical as well as political platforms and attracted vast crowds who came to hear her speeches. It was not unusual to see the vast gathering rise from their seats when she entered the lecture hall which fell into pin-drop silence in anticipation of her speech.

Right from a young age she was a seeker after truth and she joined many movements and societies before she finally found what she was searching for. When she was asked to review “The Secret Doctrine” by Madam Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, she read those books and knew that she had come at last to “Truth.” She became the most ardent and brilliant exponent of theosophy. After Col. Olcot’s death, she was elected as the President of the Theosophical Society and remained so till her passing away.

She had an extraordinary tenderness for the weak, and those who suffered or were exploited, oppressed or depressed. In 1908, she founded the Theosophical Order of Service (TOS) in order to enable members of the Theosophical Society to put into action its first object “To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour”. The TOS would be the service wing of the Theosophical Society ……… Theosophy in action. She became the champion of not only oppressed individuals but causes too in different parts of the world, and due to her inspiration, the TOS spread its work through branches all over the world.

Annie Besant was a pioneer in the Labour movement and helped to secure for the labourer better conditions of work, medical care for their families and many other amenities. She was against capital punishment and the maltreatment of prisoners, and agitated for and brought about reforms in the prisons of England. She also took up the cause of the starving East London Dockers and the unemployed. She worked for the emancipation of women in England and took an active part in the women’s suffragette movement. Her work in her homeland was extensive but her achievements in the Indian sub-continent were the fulfilment of her life. She worked for religious, social, educational and political   reforms.  She  encouraged  women  to  come  out  and take their rightful place in the struggle for the freedom of their motherland.  She established universities and educational institutions and under her guidance the All India Women’s Association was formed, and today its counter part exists, in Pakistan as the All Pakistan Women’s Association (APWA).


Dr. Annie Besant with Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah, The founder of Pakistan.

The author of innumerable books and pamphlets, her writings show her inner strength and her fearless outspokenness. She gave years of selfless devotion to her writings and her work which covered not only theosophy, but other fields where her splendid talents could be utilized.
She passed away on 20th September 1933 at the age of 86, having lived a brilliant and at times stormy life filled with ups and downs. Yet, despite all that life sent her way, she always faced life with dauntless courage. She was faithful and steadfast to the last to Theosophy and to what she believed to be “Truth.”


  Theosophical Order of Service - Pakistan.  webmaster