The Theosophical College was established by Annie Besant at Madanapalli. It was formally opened on 19 July 1915 by the then Governor of Madras, Lord Pentland. C.S. Triolkekar who had formerly worked in the Central Hindu College, Benaras became its first principal. This college became the center of great political activity during the Home Rule Movement. As a punishment for the resistance movement carried out by Annie Besant and the students of this College, it was disaffiliated by the University of Madras. Undaunted by such an act of the Government, Annie Besant named the College “Wood National College”. It was formally opened on 16 July 1917 as “the first constituent of the new National University College, Madanapalli”. The Theosophical College which was converted into a National University was then organized by the Society for the Promotion of National Education (SPNE). Its constituent colleges included the National Women’s College, Benaras, and the National College Hyderabad. (in Sindh in the present Pakistan), Wood National College, Madanapalli, and the College of Agriculture and Commerce, Madras. The Chancellor of this University was no less than the eminent poet Rabindranath Tagore and Pro-Chancellor G. Subramanya Iyer and Vice- Chancellor Justice Sadasiva Iyer. ‘National’ classes for national education (education on national lines under national control for the purpose of realizing national destiny) were organized at this National University College. The staff included educationists of international repute like Messer’s C.S. Trilokekar, M.V. Moore, Dr. J.H. Cousins, P.G. Pearce, Dr. Gurumurthy (a student of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan), M.V. Venkateswaran (who later was in charge of the Indian branch of the League of Nations),
Professor B. Rajagopalan and B.R. Kumar. Inspired by the writings in “New India”, the students of the Madanapalli College used to write on their blackboards “ we don’t ask for Home Rule, we demand it”.
Source: Abhishek Kumar, IAS 2020 (Andhra Pradesh)