Every year, on the 5th of September, India reverberates with celebrations dedicated to honoring its educators. Teacher's Day is a heartfelt tribute to one of India's most illustrious minds - Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. His life and contributions are not just a part of history but a profound source of inspiration for generations to come. This celebration pays homage not only to Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan but also to the spirit of education that he fervently championed throughout his remarkable life. His legacy continues to inspire generations, reminding us that knowledge is a beacon of enlightenment capable of changing the world.
Dr. Radhakrishnan's extraordinary journey began as an exceptional student, bolstered by numerous scholarships that facilitated his quest for knowledge. His academic voyage commenced at Christian College, Madras, where he immersed himself in the intricacies of philosophy, marking the initiation of a lifelong commitment to wisdom.
Upon completing his studies, he assumed the role of Professor of Philosophy at Madras Presidency College, where he imparted his profound insights to eager minds. His academic prowess continued to flourish when he took the position of Professor of Philosophy at the prestigious University of Mysore, leaving an indelible mark on his students.
A pivotal moment in Dr. Radhakrishnan's career occurred when he served as the Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University from 1931 to 1936. His tenure ushered in an intellectual renaissance, as he tirelessly advocated for higher education. His influence transcended borders when, in 1936, he was appointed as the Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at the University of Oxford. This recognition was accompanied by his election as a Fellow of All Souls College, underscoring his global scholarly impact.
Dr. Radhakrishnan's brilliance also resonated profoundly in India when he assumed the role of Vice-Chancellor at Benares Hindu University from 1939 to 1948. Subsequently, he held a distinguished position as the Chancellor of the University of Delhi from 1953 to 1962. His unwavering dedication to advancing education shaped the intellectual landscape of the nation.
In 1962, when Dr. Radhakrishnan assumed the presidency of India, history witnessed a profound moment. Some of his students and friends, deeply touched by his wisdom and guidance, approached him with the idea of celebrating his birthday. In response, he humbly suggested, "Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if September 5th is observed as Teachers' Day." Thus, the first Teachers' Day was celebrated on September 5, 1962, and has since become an annual tradition, honoring not only one individual but the entire teaching fraternity.
Beyond his administrative roles, Dr. Radhakrishnan was a luminary philosopher. He penned several seminal works that continue to enlighten minds to this day. His literary legacy includes books such as "Indian Philosophy," "The Philosophy of the Upanishads," "An Idealist View of Life," "Eastern Religions and Western Thought," and "East and West: Some Reflections." Among his notable writings, "The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore" and "The Reign of Religion in Contemporary Philosophy" stand out as pillars of philosophical thought.
Dr. Radhakrishnan's intellectual prowess gained global recognition. In 1931, he was appointed a Knight Bachelor, a testament to his international standing. In 1938, he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy, further cementing his reputation as a profound thinker. His contributions to the nation were honored with the prestigious Bharat Ratna in 1954. Additionally, his unwavering commitment to promoting peace and knowledge earned him the Peace Prize in the German Book Trade in 1961, reflecting his enduring impact on the world stage.