Anton has posted the membership details of the Theosophical Society 2007/2008 on his site. I thought I’d go into that a bit more.
Total membership of the Theosophical Society Adyar in 2007: 29,014.
The largest section is India with 12,444 registered members. There has been some talk about the lagging administration of the Indian section, so this is probably a low number (they have been growing). That is 41% of the members of the Theosophical Society.
The second largest section (still no surprise here) is the one in the United States. 4,072 members. That’s roughly 14% of the members of the TS.
Italy and Australia are next with each more than a thousand members.
Iceland stands out with its 370 members. That may not seem a large number, but it’s more than 1% of the total population of that country.
New Zealand stands out with its 982 members. I guess having a former politician at the helm probably helps, but still 0.2% of the population is impressive.
We have heard it said that the membership of the Indian section alone suffices to elect a president. This is not true. Of the members eligable to vote for the president (roughly 20.000 in total) only about 9000 live in India. This means India does sway the vote (assuming they all vote the same), but they cannot sinch it without help. They had 45% of the members that could vote in this election. That they did in practice determine the vote, apparently has to do with the fact that only around 50% of the members in the West ended up voting.
Let’s run the numbers.
50% of 11000 = 5500 votes outside of India
If the same number of votes came from India that would have been 61% of their votes.
There was in fact a two thirds majority for Radha. Assuming for simplicity sake that only Indians voted for Radha (which seems unlikely, but hey) 95% of the Indians members that could vote, actually did. That shows an enormous amount of dedication to both the Theosophical Society and our current president Radha Burnier. It also likely shows that the Indian members really did want the TS president to live at Adyar.
I should read the comments here more often. Apparently the election results were published in detail online earlier. I had no idea. Looking at the stats, the Indian vote alone was more than the votes for John Algeo, but if all the people outside India who voted for Radha had voted for John, it would have been a tie.
Note two (Thanks to ‘critic’)
I’m feeling more out of the loop by the minute. Apparently John Algeo did a blogpost about this issue as well (which has since disappeared – note Jan 29th 2010).
Discussion of this post here.