ANNIE BESANT -Indian Freedom Fighters Biography


ANNIE BESANT -Indian Freedom Fighters Biography

ANNIE BESANT -Indian Freedom Fighters Biography

Annie Besant,    the daughter of William Wood and Emily Morris, was born in 1847 at Clapham, London. Annie's father, who was a doctor, died when she was only five years old. Therefore she had an unhappy childhood. Mrs. Wood unable to take care of Annie persuaded her friend Ellen Marryat to take responsibility for her upbringing. Later in 1866, at the age of nineteen, Annie married Mr. Frank Besant. They had two children. Annie was deeply unhappy because her independent spirit clashed with the traditional views of her husband. This resulted in their separation in 1873.

After leaving her husband Annie completely rejected Christianity and in 1874 joined the Secular Society. It preached 'free thought'. During the same period she edited the weekly, 'National Reformer' along with Charles Bradlaugh, which advocated advanced for the time on the topics such as trade unions, national education, women's right to vote and birth control.

In the 1890s Annie became a supporter of Theosophy, a religious movement founded by Madame Blavatsky in 1875. Theosophy was based on Hindu ideas of Karma and reincarnation with nirvana as the eventual aim. She came under the influence of Theosophical Society which was against discrimination of race, colour, gender and preached universal brotherhood. To serve humanity at large was its supreme goal. It is as a member of Theosophical Society of India that she arrived in India in 1893.

Her long interest in education resulted in founding of Central Hindu College at Benaras in 1898. Through a network of schools and colleges she tried to instill patriotism and contemporary spirit in the youth of India. She introduced inter- dining in hostels and allowed free transactions between British Indian scholars. The syllabus was a happy blend of Western and Indian philosophy, literature, history, and religious thought.

She became involved in Indian Nationalism and in 1916 established the Indian Home Rule League of which she became President. She started a newspaper, 'New India', criticized British rule and was jailed for sedition. Mrs. Besant and Tilak worked together till his death.

She believed that she should be born a Hindu in her next birth. She wanted to be cremated at Benaras on the banks of the river Ganga. She breathe her last when she was eighty-six years old in 1933.


Annie Besant was greatly admired and respected for her learning, dignity, grace, and eloquence. She was a great organizer. She wanted Indo-British commonwealth. The word 'Commonwealth' was coined by her. She earnestly wanted friendliness and modesty among those who ruled, and dignity and self-respect among the ruled. 

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