Annie Wood Besant (1847-1933) was a prominent Theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer, and orator. She was born in London into a middle-class family of Irish origin. She fought for the causes she thought were right, starting with freedom of thought, women’s rights, secularism (she was a leading member of the National Secular Society), birth control, Fabian socialism, and workers’ rights. Soon, she was earning a small weekly wage by writing a column for the National Reformer, the newspaper of the National Secular Society. She was also one of the leading figures in Theosophy.
Soon after becoming a member of the Theosophical Society, she went to India for the first time in 1893. She devoted much of her energy not only to the society, but also to India’s freedom and progress. Among her famous works are:
- Autobiographical Sketches (1885)
- The Seven Principles of Man (1892)
- Annie Besant: An Autobiography (1893)
- London Lectures of 1907 (1907)
- The Basis of Morality (1915)
- The Case for India (1917)