“He is a great teacher. There is a lot we can learn from him”, said Pandit Jawarlal Nehru about Dr. S.Radhakrishanan. When Dr. Radhakrishanan became the President of India in the year 1962, some of his fans requested him that they intended to celebrate Sep. 5 his birthday. Dr. Radhakrishanan said, “Instead of celebrating my birthday separately, it would be my proud privilege if Sep. 5 is celebrated as Teachers’ Day”.
Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishanan was born on Sep.5, 1888 at Tirutani, a small temple town-north-west of Chennai. He started his career as a teacher and served as the President of India.
He was awarded to a scholarship to study at the Madras Christian College from where he graduated in 1906 with first class honours. He chose Philosophy because he got the textbooks free from his cousin. He was influenced with William Skinner and A.G. Hogg. These teachers instilled in him a sense of tolerance importance of accurate scholarship and a broad view of philosophy.
Skinner gave a letter of introduction to the Director of Public Instructor that said, “one of the best men use have had of recent year” for the post of lecturer in the field of education.
In Presidency College, Madras in 1911, Dr. Radhakrishanan served as Additional Assistant Professor of Philosophy. He taught Psychology, European Thought and Political Philosophy. He was known for clarity and aptness, crispness that students from other colleges too attended his classes. A.G. Hogg himself made it very clear that his students would attend the lectures on political Philosophy in the Presidency College only if Sri Radhakrishanan delivered him. Sri Radhakrishanan also served as Professor of Philosophy in Mysore University in 1918.
When king George V. Professorship of Mental and Moral Science in Calcutta University fell vacant, in 1920, the then Vice Chancellor Sri Ashutosh Mukherjee invented Dr. Radhakrishnan to apply for the chair. In 1922, he represented Calcutta University at the Congress of Universities of the British Empire in London and delivered many lectures on “Hindu Philosophy”.
He attended the International Congress of Philosophy at Howard where he spoke on the Role of Philosophy in the history of civilization. “In 1929, Radhakrishanan was invited to take the post vacated by Principal J. Estin Carpenter in Manchester College, Oxford.
In 1931, Dr. Radhakrishanan became the Vice-Chancellor of the Andhra University at Waltair. During 1936-39, he was the Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions at Oxford. He delivered the British Academy’s Mastermind lecture on Buddha in 1937. After his return to India at the start of the World War II, he was appointed Vice Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University from 1939-48. He was the leader of Indian delegation to UNESCO during 1946-52. He was the Ambassador of India to USSR. He was the Vice-President of India from 1952-62. He served as the President of general conference of UNESCO from 1952-54. He also held the office of the Vice-Chancellor, University of Delhi, from 1953-62 From May 1962-67, he was the President of India. When Dr. Radhakrishanan became the President of India in 1962, he accepted a minimum salary of Rs.2500/- art of his salary of Rs.10,000/- and like Bapu Rajendra Prasad, he donated the remaining amount to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund , till his tenure.
In 1963, British Queen honoured him by making him the Honorary Member of the Order of Merit. Pope John Paul conferred on him, the highest award in Europe, “The Vatican Award”. Bharat Ratna was given to him in 1954, the highest award in India. It was fitting tribute to a great person like him.
“An idealist view of life” and “Hindu View of Life”, Indian Philosophy are some of his finest works. According to Dr. Radhakrishanan, “A good teacher must know how to arouse the interest of the pupil in the field of study for which he is responsible, he must himself be a master in the...