Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was a philosopher, leader and most of all, an exemplary teacher. His achievements in these fields are remarkable. His first book ‘The Ethics of The Vedanta and Its Material Presupposition’, being his thesis for the M.A. degree examination, established his fame as a philosopher with an unquestionable ability. All his works were a landmark in their respective fields. There was a solid sense of social commitment in his work. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1954, for his meritorious service to mankind. Among the many other honours he received were the British Knight Bachelor in 1931, and the commonwealth Order of Merit (1963), but ceased to use the title ‘Sir’, after India attained independence.
His Journey as a Teacher
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who was one of his closest friends throughout, said about Dr.Radhakrishnan, "He has served his country in many capacities. But above all, he is a great teacher from whom all of us have learnt much and will continue to learn. It is India’s peculiar privilege to have a great philosopher, a great educationist and a great humanist as her President. That in itself shows the kind of men we honour and respect."
A teacher is many things, a pillar of support, an epitome of strength, a caregiver as a friend, a disciplinarian yet, always approachable and someone who is warm at heart. No matter which position Dr. Radhakrishnan held, whether that of a President, Vice President, or even an ambassador, he essentially remained a teacher his entire life. The teaching profession was his first love and those who studied under him, remember with gratitude, his great qualities as a teacher.
Teachers’ Day as we know it today
His admirers approached Dr. Radhakrishnan and requested him to permit them to celebrate his birthday. To this Dr. Radhakrishnan said, “Instead of celebrating my birthday separately, it would be my proud privilege if September 5 is observed as ‘Teachers’ Day’. It was in 1962, when Dr. Radhakrishnan became the President of India, that his birthday in came to be observed as 'Teachers' Day'. Although many years have since gone by, his contributions have never been forgotten and children today, celebrate Teachers’ Day with as much enthusiasm, as no doubt, Dr. Radhakrishnan’s students did.