|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
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
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.”