Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was the defender of Hinduism with an all inclusive approach. He was the interpreter of the Upanishads. He was the first Vice President and the second President of India. He became a household name in the country and since 1965 his Birthday is officially celebrated as Teachers’ Day. The world is amazed to see the galaxy of great men born in India and we have sparkling personalities like M.K. Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, all of whom made India the country where the mind is without fear and the head is held high and where the clear stream of reason is not impeded. India has given birth to Sankardeva, Rabindranath Tagore, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, and later Jyotiprasad or Laxminath Bezbarua. All of whom have scaled soaring heights through their inimitable and worldwide achievements and have influenced many generations with their noble thoughts, ideals and actions. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan is one of them without whom we can’t imagine modern India. He influenced the modern India through various aspects such as social, philosophical, economical, cultural, political, spiritual and educational spectrum. Dr. Radhakrishnan’s contribution to education is unique. He was a versatile personality – distinguished scholar, renowned professor, orator, able administrator, and a prolific writer. His contribution to education has been stupendous. He felt that education plays an important role in solving many ills of the society. Here lies his real greatness. He was a true teacher, philosopher and guide for the whole nation.
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan started his journey of life from an anonymous village located at the border of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and reached the highest position in India when he was sworn in as the Vice President and the second President of India. But above everything he was proud of being called a teacher as later another President A.P.J Abdul Kalam also loved to be called a teacher. The country believed that he was the most learned mind and a philosopher. From 1918-1921, he was professor of philosophy at Mysore University. From 1921-1931 and 1937 to 1944, he was appointed as King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta. In 1931, he was knighted. He is well known for his commentaries on the Prasthana Trayi, the Bhagavad gita, the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra.
From 1931 to 1936, he was Vice-Chancellor of Andhra Pradesh University. In 1936, he taught eastern religions and ethics at Oxford University. He was the first Indian to be appointed the Vice Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University. In 1938, he was elected as a fellow of the British academy. In 1947, he represented India at UNESCO. Radhakrishnan was elected the first Vice President of India in 1952. This great man with illustrious teaching career quite naturally wanted September 5 which was his Birthday to be observed as ‘Teachers’ Day’ and since 1962 this day is being observed as Teachers’ Day officially in India.
Books according to him are the means by which we build bridges between our cultures. He knew that a life of joy and happiness is possible on the basis of knowledge and science.