Google celebrates Annie Besant's birth anniversary with special doodle

Oct 01, 2015, 11:01 IST | A correspondent

Online search engine Giant Google commemorated eminient British women's rights activist Annie Besant's 168th birth anniversary with a special doodle

Drawn by Lydia Nichols the Google Doodle depicts Annie Besant seated in a chair holding a copy of New India.

British social reformer Annie Besant was born on Clapham, London, United Kingdom on October 1, 1847. She was a staunch supporter of Indian self-rule.

Annie Besant's Google Doodle
Pic courtesy/Google

Besant became involved in Indian politics post the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. She joined the Indian National Congress and helped launch the Home Rule League to campaign for democracy in India and dominion status within the Empire.

Annie Besant was later elected president of the Indian National Congress in 1917. She continued to campaign for Indian Independence following World War I until her death on 20 September 1933.

Apart from her involvement and contribution to Indian politics, Besant was also a prominent figure in the Bloody Sunday demonstration in Ireland (she also supported Irish self-rule) and the London matchgirls strike of 1888 in her native England.

Annie Besant married clergyman Frank Besant at age 20 and bore him two children but her increasingly anti-religious views led to a legal separation in 1873. She travelled to the United States with her protégé and adopted son Jiddu Krishnamurti in the late 1920s, whom she claimed was the new Messiah and incarnation of Buddha but the latter rejected these claims in 1929.

Besant also helped establish the Central Hindu College in 1898 and in 1922 the Hyderabad (Sind) National Collegiate Board in Mumbai. 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 in Adyar, Madras, (Chennai).

While in England, Annie Besant was a leading speaker for the Fabian Society and the Marxist Social Democratic Federation (SDF) and was also elected to the London School Board for Tower Hamlets, topping the poll even though few women were qualified to vote at that time.

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