New Delhi: “The end-product of education should be a free creative man, who can battle against historical circumstances and adversities of nature.” This is one of the famous quotes by the legendary Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the man who dedicated his life to the betterment of education in India. Although he passed away on 17th April 1975, his teaching holds great significance and his idea of education inspires us to acquire knowledge beyond what is present in academics.
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888, in the small town of Tiruttani. His father always wanted him to be a priest but his talent and curiosity for learning was immense. As a result, he embarked on an academic career by joining the school in Tirupati and Vellore. Further, he enrolled in the prestigious Christian College, Madras, in order to pursue philosophy and explore the different dimensions of the subject.
India’s best scholar, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan served in the Presidency College in Madras and the University of Calcutta as a professor where he was extremely loved among the students because of his teachings. After that, he served as the Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University and Banaras Hindu University. He was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 1939.
In 1947, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was selected as a member of the Constituent Assembly and from there, he was elected as the first Vice President of India in 1952. Plato, a legendary philosopher once said that “philosophers should be kings” and India played by this rule when a scholar was elected as a president of the country.
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was elected as the second president of India in 1962. It is to be noted that he is the only President in Indian history who, in his tenure, did not attend a Republic Day parade due to his illness.
To celebrate his esteemed position in the country, his students suggested that his birthday should be celebrated as ‘Radhakrishnan Day’. However, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan declined this thought and suggested that instead of celebrating his birthday, it would be a proud privilege if September 5 is observed as Teachers’ Day. As a result, since 1967, 5th September has been celebrated as Teachers’ Day.
Radhakrishnan’s written works include Indian Philosophy, 2 vol. (1923–27), The Philosophy of the Upanishads (1924), An Idealist View of Life (1932), Eastern Religions and Western Thought (1939), and East and West: Some Reflections (1955).