Options, the bi-annual magazine published by the Women and Media Collective in Colombo, Sri Lanka, for February 27 carries a piece turning our attention to an area that still needs further study. Vinod Moonesinghe’s “Theosophists and women in politics” looks at the impact of Theosophy on Sri Lankan women.
The Theosophists provided the impetus for the awakening of the island’s womanhood. Although the role of Colonel Henry Steel Olcott in the revival of Buddhism has been acknowledged in this country, the crucial part played in forming the B[uddhist] T[heosophical] S[ociety] by the main initiator of modern Theosophy, Madam Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, is virtually ignored. Yet, at the time, the pre-eminence of ‘HPB’ was unchallenged.
His focus here is on the development of women’s education during the colonial period, an area he has already written about in his “Olcott, the Picketts and Buddhist women’s education” published in Colombo’s Daily News last year, and especially the role of Marie Musaeus Higgins (1855-1926), a Theosophist from America who came to Sri Lanka in 1891 to further women’s education. Musaeus went on to found Musaeus College for women in Colombo, and its work continues today. The Daily News carried a feature on her, “Musaeus, mother and mentor from America...” on November 19, 2012.
|Image circa 1899. Sanghamitta Girls’ High School, Darley Lane, Colombo 10|