The real aim of education must be to make boys and girls good citizens of a free and spiritual commonwealth of humanity. - Dr. Annie Besant
Dr. Annie Besant (1847-1933)
We draw inspiration from our patron, who was a prominent British socialist, Theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule.
In 1890 Besant met Helena Blavatsky and over the next few years she became a member of the Theosophical Society and a prominent speaker on the subject. As part of her theosophy-related work, she travelled to India. In 1898 she helped establish the Central Hindu College and in 1922 the Hyderabad (Sind) National Collegiate Board in Mumbai, India.
In 1902, she established the first overseas Lodge of the International Order of Co-Freemasonry, Le Droit Humain. Over the next few years, she established lodges in many parts of the British Empire.
In 1907 she became president of the Theosophical Society, whose international headquarters were at Adyar, Madras, (Chennai).
She also became involved in politics in India, joining the Indian National Congress. When World War I broke out in 1914, she helped launch the Home Rule League to campaign for democracy in India and dominion status within the Empire. This led to her election as president of the Indian National Congress in late 1917.
After the war, she continued to campaign for Indian independence and for the causes of theosophy, until her death in 1933.
Besant institutions in Mangalore were founded under the auspices of Theosophical Society during her visit to Mangalore in 1918.
Women’s National Education Society (WNES) was formed in 1943 to take over management of the rapidly growing institutions from Theosophical Society and enable them to grow as an independent organisation.