Teachers are among the greatest influencers in everyone’s life. They help us to form or change our perception towards life, career, people, society and many other things. They not only teach us concepts of various subjects but also guide us to lead a successful and respectable life ahead. To recognise the significant contribution of teachers in a person’s life, National Teachers’ Day is celebrated every year on September 5 in India. The day not only is to respect the teachers’ role in everyone’s life but also to celebrate the transformations caused by them in their students’ lives.
The Teachers’ Day is celebrated in honour of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who was born on September 5, 1888. Dr Radhakrishnan was an Indian philosopher and statesman. He was the second president of independent India (1962-67) and the first Vice-President of the country. Since the year 1962, India has commemorated Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s birth anniversary by paying tribute to its teachers and gurus with the Teachers’ Day. Below are the few important points that every student should know about Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
- Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born in a middle class family on September 5, 1888, in Thiruttani, Tamil Nadu. It is said that his father wanted his son to be a priest and not to learn English. However, according to a Press Information Bureau’s feature, Dr Radhakrishnan was so outstanding in his studies that he was sent to schools at Thirupati and then Vellore.
- In 1906 Dr Radhakrishnan completed his masters in Philosophy from the Madras Christian College and in 1909 he was appointed at the Department of Philosophy at the same college. From 1918-21, he was a philosophy professor at Mysore. In 1921, he worked in a college at Calcutta till 1931 and in 1937, he again joined the college at Calcutta and worked their till 1941. It is said that when he was leaving Mysore to join as a professor in Calcutta, a flower-decked carriage was pulled by his students all the way from the Mysore University to the railway station as his farewell. He also held a professorship in eastern religion and ethics at Oxford (1936-52).
- Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan also worked as the vice chancellor of Andhra University (1931-1936) and Banaras Hindu University (1939-1948). He was also the chancellor of University of Delhi from 1953 to 1962.
- H N Spalding – A renowned philanthropist and professor once listened to Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s lecture in London. He was so fascinated by his content and personality that he found a chair at Oxford for Eastern Religions and Ethics.
- Being a Vice- President, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan had to preside over the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) sessions. It is said that, during heated debates, he used to intervene with Sanskrit slokas to calm down the atmosphere.
- As a philosopher, according to Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Radhakrishnan espoused a modern form of Hinduism that attempted to reconcile the world’s religions.
- He received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 1961 and was also awarded with the Templeton Prize in 1975. He donated the entire amount of the Templeton Prize to Oxford University.
- Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was nominated 27 times for Nobel Prize; 16 times for the Nobel prize in literature, and 11 times for the Nobel Peace prize.
The second President and first Vice President of India, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was also a philosopher and a great teacher. He introduced the thinking of western idealist philosophers into Indian thought. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru once said about him, “He has served his country in many capacities. But above all, he is a great teacher from whom all of us have learnt much and will continue to learn. It is India’s peculiar privilege to have a great philosopher, a great educationist and a great humanist as her President.”