ABOUT ANNIE BESANT Born in London in 1847, Annie Wood was only five years old when her father died. Unable to care for her, Annie’s mother sent her to live with a friend, where she was privately educated. At the age of 19, she married the Rev. Frank Besant and by the age of 23 had two children. Due to certain issues pertaining to her religious beliefs, Annie Besant's marriage with Rev.Frank didn't last.
Annie joined the Secular Society and began writing articles on marriage and women’s rights for the radical National Reformer. She helped to form the Matchgirls' Union in 1888, to defend the rights of women workers and led a strike against the Bryant & May match factory. She also joined the socialist group, the Fabian Society, where she became friends with Walter Crane and George Bernard Shaw. In 1889, she contributed an article to the influential book, Fabian Essays, and joined the Theosophical Society, soon moving to the Society's international headquarters at Adyar, Chennai, India. Even while in India, she remained active in the women’s rights movement and continued to write letters to British newspapers advocating women’s suffrage.
While in India, Annie worked with Mahatma Gandhi, who credited her with "awakening India from her deep slumber." She also led the Nationalist movement, founded Central Hindu College at Banares, and organized the Indian Home Rule League, becoming president in 1916. During the First World War, she was interned by British authorities. Elected president of the Indian National Congress in 1917 and general secretary of the National Convention of India in 1923, she became a well-known figure remembered by many Indians to this day.