Annie Besant and Theosophical Society

Annie Besant was born on 1st October 1847, her father was English and mother was Irish. She was married at the age of 20 to a clergyman, Rverant Frank. The couple had a boy and a girl. Annie Besant got divorced in 1873, son went with father and girl was with Annie.
Annie Besant founded a school in Varanasi, nowadays known as BHU (Benares Hindu University).
Annie came in contact with Charles Bradlaw, a radical politician of England and leader of Free Thinkers Movement. Soon she started writing and came to know that she can be orator as well.
George Bernard Shaw was the leader of Fabian Society and helped Annie Besant to join Fabian Society.
She was the first to organize British Trade Union for women in England.

Theosophical Society was founded in USA in 1875 by a Russian Lady Blavasky and English Col. O.H. Olcott. The main objects of the society were:
(1). To form a universal brotherhood of man.
Annie Besant and Olcott (L-R)
(2). To promote the study of ancient religions, philosophies and sciences ie, ancient wisdom.
(3). To investigate the laws of nature and develop divine powers latent in man.

In 1889, Annie Besant decided to join Theosophical and left all other societies. After the death of Blavasky in 1891, she took over the Theosophical society and because of this society she came to India in 1890. She wrote her autobiography before coming to India and she used to say that she had been incarnated many times in India.
She wrote "Universal textbook of religion and morals", which is compendium of basic truth of all great religions of the world. Theosophical society doesn't consider any religion for its membership, it was not a sect or religion.
Through this society, Annie gave Indian back their pride who had lost faith in themselves. She brought a new self respect, a pride in the past and firm belief in the future. She considered education as the very fundamental of civilization. She started her crusade of education from the bank of river Ganges, Benares. In 1898, she established a central Hindu college and was supported by Bhagwan Das and Govind Das. After the completion of college she handed over the responsibility to Madan Mohan Malviya, latter this college developed into university, Benares Hindu University. She also started a girls college in Benare. Later she shifted to South India when she was elected president of Theosophical society in 1907 for seven years.
On the basis of YMCA and YWCA she opened YMIA (Young Men Indian Association) and latter also opened YWIA. It became so popular that people started considering it as some branch of YMCA.
Baden Powell  is regarded as the father of the World Scout Movement. He refused affiliation with alienate group in India because number of English people were less in number to be started with. Annie Besant founded Indian Boys Scout Association with the help of leaders like Tarani Prasad Sinha and Sanjeev Kamath. She insisted that boys should wear Indian turban and they must also sing Indian song instead of Powell's scout who had to wear a uniform and used to sang their own song. When Baden Powell came to India and saw Indian Boys Scout Association, he requested for the amalgamation of British and Indian Scout Movement. He appointed Annie Besant as honorary scout commissioner of India.
Annie Besant entered Indian political arena in 1913. To express her political ideology she started a weekly magazine "Common Weal", it became very popular and then she started daily newspaper "New India". Her political ambition had two goals to fulfill : (1). Home Rule for India and (2). India's right to prepare her own constitution.
Her endeavor led to the reunion of Congress (Extremists and Moderates). Home rule was also started by Tilak but both had different areas. Motilal Nehru, Mohd Ali Jinnah and Ramaswammy Aiyyer joined Home Rule Movement with Annie Besant.
Annie Besant was made house prisoner. Even American president Rudolf Wilson pressed the British government to meet the demands of Home Rule Movement. S. Subramanyam Aiyyer, retired judge of High Court, renounced his title. Annie Besant was released on 16th September 1917 and this was the time when she became the living symbol of Mother India. She became the first woman president of Congress in December 1917. In the congress session at Calcutta she took the initiative that Congress should have their own flag and the color was red, white and green horizontally to be install in flag (this combination was upto 1930).
Annie Besant was against the policy of Civil Disobedience Movement, for the people opposing the law. She died on 20th September 1923.

Causes of the Conquest of British and Defeat of Indian States

The defeat of Indian states against Britishers was not the defeat of Indian army but the defeat of stationary and backward society against dynamic and regressive society.
Britishers suffering from intrinsic superiority complex defeated Indians. According to Indians, Britishers were unduly cruel so they were victorious. Now, these two theories doesn't exist. 

Difference in the quality of leadership:: India was inferior to the Britishers in the case of second class leadership. Success of leadership depends on the situation existing at that time and the Indian leaders didn't had that opportunity.
The sources of India were divided and used against herself while the resources of British were unified, replenishing and resilient. Once the loss of Indian resources was lost forever and the British loss at one place was compensated by the reserves of other place. Indian resources were non expandable. Both the Indian and the British army were fighting at the cost of India herself. There was no fight for India but it was used as instrument.
Lack of concept of Nationalism:: The modern concept of nationalism doesn't existed at that time instead it was tribal nationalism.
In Europe the medieval  feudalism concept was relinquished and was rising into state power whereas in India, after the breakage of Mughal empire, feudalism was strengthening. At that time Europe was having industrial revolution. Indians were not having concept of modern nationalism and Europe had negative nationalism ie, the prosperity of one nation depends on exploitation of other nation.  

The greatest mean of culture is language, it is the spirit of culture and in India there had been the tradition of learning rulers language ( get government jobs and trade facilities by language..)

Increase in Foreign Capital in India and Emergence of Modern Industries

India could not be kept away from the modern industries to fulfill the capitalist requirement of the world.
In 1833, the British government permitted English to buy lands in India and can do plantation. The first tea plantation was planted in 1835 and tea produced in India was first time sold to London in 1838. In 1839, Assam tea company was established.
The Textiles, Jute and Coal mining industry started in India in the decade of 1850.
The British rulers realized that if they have to get their goods consumed in a large scale in India and have to obtain raw materials for their industries then a cheap and easy mode of transport must be developed. The main purpose of introducing railway in India was to connect the ports with markets so that raw materials could be obtained easily. The first train ran in 1853 between Thane and Mumbai.
The laying of railway tracks till 1859 was done by the company. After 1859, the government of India started the work of railway tracks. These railway tracks had 350 crores invested in it and all these investments was that of British capital investors.
In 1853, the first telegraph line was started between Calcutta and Agra.


Britishers deliberately kept India away from the fruits of Industrial revolution and tried to keep India as agrarian economy so that they could obtain cheap raw materials for their industries and sell their products in India. Thus Britain converted India into agricultural colony industry of Britain.
The British artisans who were unemployed due to industrialization were absorbed by the industries, whereas in India handicraft  industry was destroyed but the modern industry did not developed.
R.C. Dutta calls the replacement of Indian goods as "most sorrowful chapter of British-India history".
The disruption of balance between agriculture and industry reduced the national income and millions of workers became unemployed and they shifted back to agriculture leading to ruralization of India.
As the agriculture had become non profitable, the farmers were unable to help the artisans. With the coming of foreign goods, demands for domestic goods declined.  During the British rule, rural  industry was gradually destroyed while urban industry were abruptly and completely destroyed.
The victory at the battle of Plassey provided political power to the Britishers and  they started imposing conditions on peasants and artisans for promoting their trade and started forcing them for buying imported goods.
By 1720, laws were made regarding Dyed Clothes and Indian textiles. Excluding Holland/Netherland, all European countries prohibited the import of Indian textile. The Indian industry reached their lowest after the industrial revolution in England. The East India Company destroyed the princely states, the biggest customer of Indian industry.
By 1813, the industrial class in England had become politically powerful and the monopoly of East India Company was ended by the Chartered Act of 1813 and door was opened for every citizen of England to trade with India.

Disintegration of Village Community and Rise of Middle Class of India

Foreign rule in India had demolished ancient Indian social order and relations that linked different classes of villages/rural community. The joint family system was weakened. The agricultural production was no more in accordance with the needs of the people but was in accordance with the market.
In the words of Carl Marx. " The changes in wealth relation led to social revolution".
Backwardness of Agriculture:: The increasing land revenue hampered growth of agriculture and condition of peasants was like helpless slaves. The foreign rule had destroyed Indian trade and industry and so the burden of taxes fell on farmers alone.
Famine, Plague and unemployment were the consequences.
All the agricultural surplus went into the hands of zamindars and the peasants were not left with any cash or crop.
Rise in Rural Debt::  As a result of the aforesaid reasons, the debt on peasants rapidly increased during the British rule. The main cause responsible for this was that more than 75% of the farmers were not able to earn their livelihood from farming. The farmers took debt from local mahajans to pay revenue dues and due to the non payment of debts, their lands went into the hands of mahajans. The rate of interest was different in different regions and it ranged from 12% to 200%.
In the British period, land became sellable. The farmes got the right to sell  or mortgage their lands.
Commercialization of Agriculture::  With the establishment of new land relations, the purpose of rural agriculture changed from producing for the villages to the producing for the markets. As a result of the commercialization of agriculture, farmers started growing some particular crops like Sugarcane, Indigo, Opium, Cotton, Jute, Oilseeds etc.
Increase In Poverty::  Several factors were responsible for the increase in poverty of farmers such as agricultural prices, famine, flood, epidemic etc. According to William Digby, approximately 24 famines occurred between 1854 AD and 1901 AD in which 290 lac died.
Decline of Rural Industry and Handicraft::  Prior to British rule, rural industry was a component of the balance and self sufficient rural economy. These villages were capable of fulfilling their needs locally.