Dr. Annie Besant

Dr. Annie Besant, the founding member of Besant Hill School of Happy Valley in Ojai, California. A prominent women’s rights activist, president of the Theosophical Society based in Adyar, Chennai, India for 26 years, she was president of the Indian National Congress and a Fabian socialist. She fought for the causes she thought were right, starting with freedom of thought, women’s rights, secularism, birth control, Fabian socialism and workers’ rights. In 1926, Dr. Annie Besant traveled to the United States with her protégé and adopted son, Jiddu Krishnamurti. Dr. Besant visited a vast area of pristine land in Ojai. She envisioned this site as a place to establish an educational center that would nurture spiritual, artistic and intellectual growth as well as physical and mental well-being. She also knew that sustainable worldwide improvement in the human condition begins with the individual. In 1927, Dr. Besant purchased the land where the Besant Hill School of Happy Valley now exists for the purpose of creating an educational community where, “students and teachers were to be unfettered in their research and educational experiments.” She envisioned a community that would foster the development of individuals to pursue the task of practical and effective social change.

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