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Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan: A Teacher Forever, Celebrating Teacher’s Day

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was the first vice president and second president of India.  His birthday, September 5th, is celebrated across India as Teacher’s Day. He was a great philosopher, writer, social activist and notable politician in India. He wrote many books on Indian culture and philosophy, such as The Philosophy of Upanishad, an idealist view of life and many more. Let us delve into his life to learn about his incredible journey.

Early life and academic career of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born in a Brahmin family in a small village, Tiruttani, Andhra Pradesh. Tiruttani was a popular pilgrimage centre, and Radhakrishnan's family actively took part in the devotional activities there. His deep-rooted connection to his family tradition significantly influenced his later writings. His early education took place in the nearby school of the Pilgrimage, and after four years, he attended the Hermannsburg Evangelical Lutheran Missionary School.

His father, Sarvepalli Veeraswami, serves as a revenue official to a local landlord (Zamindar), and his mother takes care of his family. His father was poor, so scholarships supported his education. As Radhakrishnan was facing hardships with financing his education, when his cousin passed his philosophy textbook to him, his academic journey automatically decided. After completing his post-graduation, he was appointed a faculty member at Madras Presidency College in 1909.

In college, he mastered almost every text of Hindu philosophy, including the Upanishad, Bhagavad Gita and many more. He also familiarised himself with the philosophies of Western thinkers like Plato and Bradley. In 1918, the University of Mysore selected him as the professor of philosophy. In 1921, Calcutta University also nominated him as a professor of philosophy. He wrote a book named “Indian Philosophy”, which is considered a literary wonder.

He was invited to Oxford University to explain Hindu philosophy. In 1931, he became the vice chancellor of Andhra University. In 1939, he was elected as the vice-chancellor of Banaras University. Sarvepalli was appointed as the ambassador to the soviet union in 1949. In 1952, he became the first vice president of India. He was elected as the second president of India in 1962.

His life as a teacher

He was a great educator who had profound knowledge in the field of philosophy and religion. He had a talent for teaching and delivering the best education to students. One incident that demonstrates how much he was loved and respected by his students occurred when he was the vice chancellor of Andhra University. When students came to know that he was leaving the university to join as a professor in Calcutta, they arranged a flower carriage and dropped Radhakrishnan at the railway station by pulling that carriage themselves.

His life as a politician

Radhakrishnan entered politics later in life after becoming successful in his academic career. The League of Nations committee nominated him in 1931 because Western thinkers considered them to be an expert on Hindu ideas and philosophy. In 1947, Radhakrishnan represented India at UNESCO and was later appointed as the ambassador to the soviet union, as mentioned before. He served the country as the president from 1962 to 1967. Radhakrishnan worked hard to promote and preserve Indian culture and philosophy.

Awards and achievements

  • He was awarded one of the highest civilian awards, Bharat Ratna, in 1954.
  • He was the first person to get the Sahitya Akademi fellowship.
  • He significantly promoted the Hindu philosophy to India and the Western world. His scholarly works depict his contribution to explaining and interpreting Hindu philosophy to the world.
  • He served as a bridge between the Eastern and Western worlds by comparing their philosophies.

Contribution towards teachers' day

Once Sarvepalli students come to him to allow them to celebrate his birthday, he suggests they observe the day as “teachers' day” to honour and pay respect to the teachers. Since then, 5th September has been observed as teacher’s day.

Honouring Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and celebrating Teacher’s Day at school

Schoolsembrace the tradition of acknowledging the contribution of teachers across the country, including Baddi, by celebrating Teachers' day on 5th September. Top schools in Baddi organise activities such as skits, dances and speeches to give students a chance to show respect to their teacher. By inviting guest speakers and giving awards and recognition to outstanding teachers, they contribute towards making this a vibrant and joyous occasion.

The key takeaways

Lastly, celebrating Teacher’s Day is not just celebrating teachers but celebrating education, the contribution of great educators such as Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and creating a positive impact on society. So, let us celebrate this day with a big smile and reverence for our teachers.