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Dr. S Radhakrishnan

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Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888, at the pilgrim town of Tiruttani near Chennai.

He was the second son of a poor couple. It is said that his father did not want his son to learn English, and wanted him to be a priest instead. However, the boy was so talented that his parents decided to send him to a school run by German Missionaries at Tirupati.

He went on to study philosophy at the Christian College, Madras and got a Master's Degree in Arts.

 
Did you know?
Radhakrishnan is known as one of the greatest thinker and philosopher of modern India. His mastery of philosophy surfaced while he was studying for his M.A. degree. Radhakrishnan wrote a thesis on the ethics of the Vedanta titled "The Ethics of the Vedanta and Its Metaphysical Presuppositions", which was a reply to the charge that the Vedanta system had no room for ethics or morality. This thesis established his fame as a great philosopher.
 
In April 1909, when he was only 20 years old, Radhakrishnan was appointed to the Department of Philosophy at the Madras Presidency College. From then on, he started teaching, the profession on which he was to leave a lasting impression.

He became very popular with his students not only because of his knowledge but also because of his simple, yet interesting way of teaching.
 
Dr. Radhakrishnan Speak
"Respect for teachers cannot be ordered; it must be earned."
 
Fundu Fact
So popular was Radhakrishnan that when he was leaving to join as a professor in Calcutta he was taken all the way from the Mysore University to the Railway Station in a flower decked carriage pulled by his students!
 
In 1929, Radhakrishnan was invited to take the post vacated by Principal J. Estin Carpenter in Manchester College, Oxford. This gave him the chance to lecture students on Comparative Religion. During that visit, he also gave the Hibbert Lectures on "An Idealist View of Life" to audiences at the Universities of London and Manchester.
 
Did you know?
H. N. Spalding, who had also listened to Dr Radhakrishnan's lectures in London, was so fascinated by their content and his personality that he decided to found a chair at Oxford for Eastern Religions and Ethics. The Chair, established in 1936 was offered to Radhakrishnan.
 
From 1936-39, Radhakrishnan was the Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at Oxford University.
In 1939 he came back to India and served as the Vice-Chancellor of the Banaras Hindu University for the next nine years.
Dr Radhakrishnan as an educationist
Dr. Radhakrishnan was of the opinion that only the right kind of education could solve many ills of the society and the country. He wanted to bring in a change in the educational system by improving the quality of education and building up a strong relationship between the teacher and the taught. In his opinion, teachers should be the best minds of the country; they should not merely instruct but should gain the true affection of pupils, and the respect for teachers cannot be ordered but it should be earned.
 
He led the Indian delegation to UNESCO during 1946-52 and served as the Indian Ambassador to the U.S.S.R. during 1949-52.
In 1952 he was elected the Vice-President of India from 1952-1962. In May 1962, he became the President of India, a post he occupied for the next five years.
 
Fundu Fact
Radhakrishnan's appointment was welcomed by Bertrand Russell, one of the world's greatest philosophers. He said "It is an honour to philosophy that Dr. Radhakrishnan should be President of India and I, as a philosopher, take special pleasure in this. Plato aspired for philosophers to become kings and it is a tribute to India that she should make a philosopher her President".
Even as the president Sarvepalli remained a humble man. It was an open house at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and people from all sections of society were welcome to meet him. In addition he accepted only Rs. 2,500 out of his salary of Rs. 10,000 and donated the remaining amount to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund every month. He remained a teacher in many ways and even adopted the authoritative tone of a headmaster in many of his letters to his ministers!
Did you know?
Dr. Radhakrishnan's birthday is celebrated every year as Teachers' Day. The celebration has an interesting story behind it. When he became the President of India in 1962, some of his fans approached Dr. Radhakrishnan and requested him to allow them to celebrate September 5, as his "birthday''. In reply Dr. Radhakrishnan said, "instead of celebrating my birthday separately, it would be my proud privilege if September 5 is observed as Teachers' Day''. The request showed Dr Radhakrishnan's love for the teaching profession. From then onwards, the day has been observed as Teachers' Day all over the country.
 
India's highest award, the Bharat Ratna, was conferred on him in 1954 in recognition of his meritorious service to mankind.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan passed away on April 17, 1975.
Dr. Radhakrishnan Speak

"The aim of education is not the acquisition of information, although important, or acquisition of technical skills, though essential in modern society, but the development of that bent of mind, that attitude of reason, that spirit of democracy which will make us responsible citizens."
 

 
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