We all know that on 5th September, we celebrate the birth anniversary of the 2nd President of India, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, as Teacher’s Day. But do you know when it started and what is the story behind it?
Starting of Teacher’s Day
In 1962, when S. Radhakrishnan became the President, some of his students and friends requested Radhakrishnan Ji to permit them to celebrate 5th September as his birthday. On this note, Radhakrishnan Ji replied, ‘instead of celebrating my birthday, if it is celebrated like Teacher’s Day, then he will feel blessed. And since then, on 5th September, Teacher’s Day is being celebrated in India.
We all have celebrated Teacher’s Day in our life, but we know very little about his life and contribution.
Dr. S. Radhakrishnan was the first Vice President and 2nd President of India. And he was also an Academics, a Philosopher, and a Renowned Teacher.
Early life and Academic Journey
On 5th September 1888, in a place named Tiruttani in Tamil Nadu, in a Telugu family, S. Radhakrishnan was born. His father’s name was Sarvepalli Veeraswamy, and his mother’s name was Sitamma. Despite having very bad financial conditions, Radhakrishnan Ji completed his education by winning a scholarship. His primary education took place at KV High School in Tiruttani. And then, in 1896, Radhakrishnan joined the Hermannsburg Evangelical Lutheran Mission School in Tirupati.
After that, at the age of just 17, he took admission to Madras Christian College. And in 1906, he completed his graduation from here. After this, Radhakrishnan Ji did his M.A. in Philosophy from the same college. But this decision to study philosophy was a chance more than a choice because Radhakrishnan’s financial condition was not very good, and when one of his cousins used to give him his philosophy textbook after completing his education at the same college, then his academic course was decided automatically.
Sarvepalli wrote his bachelor’s degree thesis on “The Ethics of the Vedanta and its Metaphysical Presuppositions.” In this paper, Radhakrishnan defends India’s Vedanta Philosophy against the Western charge that the Vedanta system had no room for ethics.
After completing their M.A., Radhakrishnan starts his career as an assistant professor.
His career began when he was appointed to the post of Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department of Madras Presidency College in April 1909. After this, in 1918, he gets the role of Professor at the University of Mysore. After that, he starts attending the Maharaja College of the University of Egypt. In the meantime, he had written many articles for reputed journals and also completed his first book, The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore.
In 1920, he published his second book, The Reagan of Religion in Contemporary Philosophy. In 1921, he was appointed to the position of professor in philosophy, occupying the position of the King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta. After this, he also represented his university on many international platforms. In June 1931, King George V also gave the title of Knighthood to Radhakrishnan for his contribution to the Education Field.
From 1931 to 1936, he was the Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University. From 1936 to 1952, Radhakrishnan held the Chair of Spalding Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics at Oxford University. In 1939, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya invited him to become the Chancellor in his place. Radhakrishnan Ji lived here as Vice-Chancellor till January 1948.
Radhakrishnan Ji came to the political field only after achieving brilliance in the academic field. In 1931, he was nominated to the League of Nations Committee for Intellectual Cooperation, where “in Western eyes, he was the recognized Hindu authority on Indian ideas and a compelling speaker of the role of Eastern institutions in modern society. After this, in 1946, he is also elected for the Constituent Assembly and also served as an Indian Ambassador to UNESCO and the Soviet Union.
In 1952, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan became the first Vice President of India and in the Year 1962, he was elected as the second President of Independent India.
While being the President, Radhakrishnan Ji used to take only 2500 rupees out of his 10000 rupees salary and used to donate 7500 rupees every month to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. After being the President of India till 1967, Radhakrishnan retires from public life.
Dr. S. Radhakrishnan died on 17 April 1975 at the age of 86 because of heart failure.
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