Teachers are the guiding force for students and true nation-builders. A teacher helps students comprehend the rich legacy of the country’s culture with sheer perseverance and patience.
To commemorate the birth anniversary of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan on September 5 teacher’s day is celebrated across India. It also named as Guru Purnima.
The eminent philosopher and statesman Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888, at Thiruttani in the erstwhile Madras Presidency.
Dr Radhakrishnan was the son of Sarvepalli Veeraswami (father) and Sarvepalli Sitamma (mother). In 1896 he did his primary education from KV High School in Thiruttani before moving to the Hermannsburg Evangelical Lutheran Mission School in Tirupati.
At the age of 17, Radhakrishnan joined the Madras Christian College after his F.A. (First of Arts) class. He graduated from the same college as well as studied philosophy and obtained his master degree in 1906.
Academic and Political Career
Dr Radhakrishnan joined the Department of Philosophy at the Madras Presidency College in 1909 and later transferred to the University of Mysore as a professor of Philosophy.
Radhakrishnan was appointed as a professor in philosophy to occupy the King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta.
From 1931 to 1936 Radhakrishnan served as the Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University before named at the University of Oxford as a Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics, and he was also elected Fellow of the All Souls College.
In 1939 he succeeded Madan Mohan Malaviya as the vice-chancellor of Banaras Hindu University. Radhakrishnan was the chancellor of the University of Delhi from 1953 to 1962.
From 1946 to 1952 Radhakrishnan represented India at the United Nations Educational Cultural and Scientific Organisation (Unesco), and also he was India’s envoy to the erstwhile Soviet Union from 1949 to 1952.
After he was returned to India, he elected as the vice president of India in 1952. On May 11, 1962, Radhakrishnan was elected as the second President of India after Rajendra Prasad and retired from politics five years later.
A major contribution, Awards and achievements
Radhakrishnan was one of India’s best scholars of comparative religion and philosophy, and his defence of Hinduism against the uninformed Western criticism has been highly influential in India as well as the Western world.
Radhakrishnan was honoured with Bharat Ratna in 1954 and became the first person to be awarded the Sahitya Akademi fellowship that is the highest honour conferred by the Sahitya Akademi on a writer in 1968.
He was also awarded the Templeton Prize for advocating non-aggression and conveying a universal reality of God that cuddle love and wisdom for all people.
Relationship with Teacher’s day
When Radhakrishnan became the President of India, on September 5, some of his friends and students requested him to allow them to celebrates his birthday. He told that instead of celebrating the occasion, it would be better if it is observed as Teacher’s Day. Since then, September 5, has been dedicated to teachers.
Interesting Facts about Radhakrishnan
Radhakrishnan studied philosophy by chance, not by his choice. When a cousin of him passed on his philosophy books, it automatically decided his academic course.
He wrote books on Indian Philosophy those are An Idealist View of Life (1932), The Philosophy of the Upanishads (1924), and Eastern Religions and Western Thought (1939).
Radhakrishnan was recommended 16 times for the Nobel Prize in literature, and 11 times for the Nobel Peace Prize, and also received the honorary membership of the British Royal Order of Merit in 1963.
Radhakrishnan was knighted by King George V and formally invested by the Governor-General of India, the Earl of Willingdon. Radhakrishnan never used the title after independence and preferred to use the academic title of Doctor. He was also elected as chairman of Unesco’s executive board (1948-49).
Radhakrishnan was married Sivakamu (a distant cousin) at the age of 16. They had five daughters and a son. Radhakrishnan’s wife passed away in 1956 and Radhakrishnan died on April 17, 1975, at the age of 86.
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