Society for the Promotion of National Education

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The Society for the Promotion of National Education was an organization established in 1915?? in India to support the development of schools based in Indian languages, religions, and customs.

Objects and membership


The growth of the Society was greatly accelerated the growth by an action of Theosophical Educational Trust. At its annual meeting on December 27, 1916, the Trust "resolved to make a present to the Society of its colleges and schools as far as possible." TS President Annie Besant was given authority to determine when and how the educational institutions should be transferred to the governance of the Society. "By thus immolating itself upon the altar of the National need the Trust gave the lead and supplied that spiritual note which must be and is the basis of the work of all of us, founding the new movement upon a willingness to sacrifice."[1]

The Theosophical Society and its members comprised a significant block of the SPNE's membership. Among the Theosophists most active in education were: Annie Besant, George S. Arundale, Francesca Arundale, James H. Cousins, Margaret Cousins, Fritz Kunz, Ernest Wood, Mary K. Neff, C. Jinarājadāsa, Nilakanta Sri Ram, Bhagirathi Sri Ram, B. P. Wadia, and P. K. Subramania Iyer. Office space was provided at TS headquarters in Adyar, and the Vasanta Press provided printing services. Support was received from eminent figures such as Sir Rabindranath Tagore, Sri Aurobindo, Sir Rash Behari Ghose, Srijut Motilal Ghosh, and Mohandas K. Gandhi, who all believed in the concept of national - that is, nationalistic - education.


Educational institutions

Colleges and universities governed by SPNE in 1918 included:

  • National Women’s College, Benares – founded 1916 by Theosophical Investment Trust
  • National College at Hyderabad, Sindh - founded October 1, 1917 by Theosophical Investment Trust
  • Wood National College, Madanapalle, Chittoor District, Madras – founded in 1915 by Theosophical Investment Trust

Primary and secondary schools included:

Photo gallery

These photographs were printed in the 1918 and 1919 annual reports of the SPNE.


  1. Report of the Society for the Promotion of National Education for the Year 1918. Adyar, Madras, India: Society for the Promotion of National Education, 1918. Page 8.