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DR. SARVEPALLI RADHAKRISHNAN

Introduction: Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Sarvepalli Radhakrishnayya About this sound listen (help·info); 5 September 1888 – 17 April 1975) was an Indian philosopher and statesman who was the first Vice President of India (1952–1962) and the second President of India from 1962 to 1967.

One of India's most distinguished twentieth-century scholars of comparative religion and philosophy, his academic appointments included the King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta (1921–1932) and Spalding Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics at University of Oxford (1936–1952).

Education:

Radhakrishnan was awarded scholarships throughout his academic life. He joined Voorhees College in Vellore but switched to the Madras Christian College at the age of 17. He graduated from there in 1906 with a master's degree in Philosophy, being one of its most distinguished alumni.

Awards:

Radhakrishnan was awarded several high awards during his life, including a knighthood in 1931, the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India, in 1954, and honorary membership of the British Royal Order of Merit in 1963. Radhakrishnan believed that "teachers should be the best minds in the country". Since 1962, his birthday is celebrated in India as Teachers' Day on 5 September.

Writings:

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). In his lectures and books he tried to interpret Indian thought for Westerners.

Politics:

Radhakrishnan led the Indian delegation to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO; 1946–52) and was elected chairman of UNESCO’s executive board (1948–49). From 1949 to 1952 he served as Indian ambassador to the Soviet Union. On his return to India in 1952 he was elected vice president, and on May 11, 1962, he was elected president, succeeding Rajendra Prasad, who was the first president of independent India. Radhakrishnan retired from politics five years later.

Teachers Day:

When he became the President of India, some of his students and friends requested him to allow them to celebrate his birthday, 5 September. He replied,

"Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if 5 September is observed as Teachers' Day."

His birthday has since been celebrated as Teachers' Day in India.

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