Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
September 5th has been a very special day for students. It will forever be the fresh and special part when walked down the memory lane of school days, though our first beloved teachers are but our ‘parents’!
Teachers Day has been one of the most celebrated days in India where students and teachers unite to celebrate the Guru-Shiksha relationship. School days could not get any better without having teachers who were special and one of a kind!
A very beloved and humble teacher was Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. He was the most distinguished and highly influential twentieth century scholar India had ever seen! He was born in a middle class family; being a financially constrained student, he studied philosophy by chance than choice.
Dr. Radhakrishnan was awarded with scholarships throughout his academic life. In 1906, he graduated from Madras Christian College in Philosophy. He can be seen as an eye opener to the western world and this was due to his extensive knowledge about Indian philosophy and culture.
He was very well known among students. To express their love towards their favorite teacher at the University of Calcutta, students had arranged a flower decked carriage as a farewell gesture to Dr. Radhakrishnan that drove him to the railway station where he took off to the University of Mysore.
Dr. Radhakrishnan, was invited to deliver Hibbert Lecture at Harris Manchester College, Oxford. Impressed by his lecture, he was invited to take up the post vacated by Principal J Estlin Carpenter at the University of Oxford to lecture on Comparative Religion.
He bagged awards like the Knight Bachelor, Bharat Ratna, Templeton Prize to name a few among the many. He donated all the prize money he received to Oxford University. In the memory of their beloved Indian teacher, Oxford University framed a scholarship known as ‘Radhakrishnan Chevening Scholarships’ and an Award in his name ‘Radhakrishnan Memorial Award’.
Dr. Radhakrishnan went on to become the first Vice-President of India and later the second President of India. Rashtrapathi Bhavan was an open house during his time when any member from the society was welcome to meet him. He only drew one fourth of his salary and donated the rest to Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.
Dr. Radhakrishnan always wanted to bring in the best education system in India and make our society a better place. He defined teachers to be the best part of a student’s life.
He believed in ‘Respect and love for teachers should be earned and not instructed. Teachers are the best minds of the country’. His friends and students wanted to celebrate his birthday and insisted that it would be a privilege to have the day dedicated to Teachers. Hence Teachers Day was born on September 5th, marking this year as the 56th Teachers Day India has celebrated.
“The true teachers are those who help us think of ourselves”
-Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
He was one such teacher who believed in imparting students with the best education and knowledge. He was a believer of making knowledge the wisdom for all the students in the world. This message goes to every passionate teacher around the world, you are the potter who mold our lives into what we are today.