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Annie Besant

Annie Besant was a British socialist, theosophist, womens rights activist, writer, orator, educationist, and philanthropist. Regarded as a champion of human freedom, she was an ardent supporter of both Irish and Indian self-rule. She was a prolific author with over three hundred books and pamphlets to her credit. As an educationist, her contributions included the founding of the Banaras Hindu University. In 1867, Annie, at age 20, married Frank Besant, a clergyman, and they had two children. However, Annies increasingly unconventional religious views led to their legal separation in 1873. She then became a prominent speaker for the National Secular Society NSS, as well as a writer, and a close friend of Charles Bradlaugh. In 1877 they were prosecuted for publishing a book by birth control campaigner Charles Knowlton. The scandal made them famous, and Bradlaugh was subsequently elected M.P. for Northampton in 1880. Thereafter, she became involved with union actions, including the Bloody Sunday demonstration and the London matchgirls strike of 1888. She was a leading speaker for both the Fabian Society and the Marxist Social Democratic Federation SDF. She 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. In 1890 Besant met Helena Blavatsky, and over the next few years her interest in theosophy grew, whilst her interest in secular matters waned. She became a member of the Theosophical Society and a prominent lecturer on the subject. As part of her theosophy-related work, she travelled to India. In 1898 she helped establish the Central Hindu School, and in 1922 she helped establish the Hyderabad Sind National Collegiate Board in Mumbai, India. 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, by then, located in Adyar, Madras, Chennai. She also became involved in politics in India, joining the Indian National Congress. When World War I broke out in 1914, she helped launch the Home Rule League to campaign for democracy in India, and dominion status within the British Empire. This led to her election as president of the Indian National Congress, in late 1917. In the late 1920s, Besant travelled to the United States with her protege and adopted son Jiddu Krishnamurti, who she claimed was the new Messiah and incarnation of Buddha. Krishnamurti rejected these claims in 1929. After the war, she continued to campaign for Indian independence and for the causes of theosophy, until her death in 1933.



Coatlaxopeuh is a word proposed by father Mariano Jacobo Rojas of Tepoztlan as a possible Nahuatl origin of the word Guadalupe, the appellation of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The suggestion of a Nahuatl etymology for the Virgins name was part of the Mexican indigenista debates of the mid 20th century, in which prominent intellectuals reinterpreted Mexican history with a renewed emphasis on the nations indigenous heritage. In addition to coatlaxopeuh many other proposed Nahuatl etymologies of Guadalupe have been suggested, but in the devotional literature coatlaxopeuh remains the most accepted.



Labrys is, according to Plutarch, the Lydian word for the double-bitted axe. The relation with the labyrinth is uncertain.


Sikh feminism

Sikhism was founded in Punjab in 1469 by Guru Nanak on the foundations that everyone is equal, regardless of caste, age, or gender. Both men and women were supposed to follow the 5 Ks, Kesh, Kangha, Kara, Kachera and Kirpan, and there was never a distinction between what a woman should be allowed to do versus as man. Men and women are treated equally in the Temple, and everyone eats and prays side-by-side. Both men and women are meant to carry the Kirpan with them as they are responsible for their own physical protection, and should not depend on others. Sikhs are strictly against the caste system and many chose to use "Kaur" or "Singh" as a last names to push against the problematic caste system in India. There is only one God in Sikhism and they are without form or gender, and everyone is equal in the eyes of god. Many Sikh women believe that this absence of assignment of code of conduct for a woman versus a man, proves that their religion is historically committed to gender equality. Presently, the culture doesnt always follow these traditions and equality is often more true in ideals rather than daily practice. In North America the 5 Ks are mostly just followed by men, however, many religiously devoted women also choose to commit to Sikh rehni - Sikh way of life". Many Sikh women also choose to wear a turban as a socio-political move to fight inequality in the religion and show their Sikh essentialism. There are also groups which have been formed by Sikhs, like SAFAR, which are committed to uncovering and challenging oppression within the Sikh community, as well as re-establishing equity in the Sikh culture.

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