Most of the towns and villages in India celebrate the Teacher’s day every year. Now, due to COVID 19 people may not celebrate with the same enthusiasm and energy. Teachers are greeted on this day and gifted by the students. Special celebrations and accolades to the teachers are given by the head of the institutions every year. This special treatment had been initiated by a group of students on Sri Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s birthday. What is so special about this professor? Why was he made to be the Vice President of India?
Before knowing that, we should also know the birth details and personal life:
Dr. Sarvepalli Radha Krishnan was born in the year 1888 on September 5th. He was from a Telugu speaking family and his father, Sarvepalli Veera Swamy was a government employee in Thiruthani a city in present-day Tamil Nadu and it was called Madras Presidency. His mother’s name was Sarvepalli Seetha. They were from a lower-middle-class family with scanty income. He started his studies in a school called K.V. High School Thiruthani. In the year 1896, he joined the Hermannsburg Evangelical Lutheran mission school in Tirupati, later on, he joined the Government higher school in Walajapet. He mastered the languages Sanskrit, Telugu, Prakrit, and Pali. He was a fluent speaker in Tamil and Hindi and English as well. At a young age, he mastered Bhagavad Gita also. Throughout his academics, he got many scholarships. He joined Voorhees College, Vellore but he switched to Madras Christian College when he was 17 years old. He did a Masters in Philosophy. Doing a Masters in Philosophy was not his choice due to financial constraints he had to take his cousin’s book of Philosophy and read, and because of that, he had taken a Masters in Philosophy. He got married when he was just 17 years old, to his distant relative, Sivakamu, and was in a marriage relationship for 51 years. In the year 1956, she passed away.
He aimed to show the western philosophers the greatness of Indian Advaita Philosophy. Every time Britishers looked down upon us, which made him fight in an intellectual way like Swami Vivekananda. He was inspired by Sri Swami Vivekananda. He wrote his first paper on Bhagavad Gita at the age of 23 years, the paper’s name was Ethics of Bhagavad Gita. He studied in missionary institutions, the arrogance that was shown by the missionaries, and the treatment towards Hinduism hurt Radha Krishnan which made him do thorough research on Hinduism. He wrote a thesis for an MA degree on “The Ethics of Vedanta and metaphysical presupposition” The western and missionary philosophers used to call Hindu Vedanta as ethics less, but he was determined to show the ethics which are rooted in the Hindu philosophy.
From Lecturer to Vice President of India:
In 1909 he was appointed to the Department of Philosophy in Presidency College, Madras.
In 1918, he was selected as a Professor of Philosophy by the University of Mysore, where he taught at its Maharaja College, Mysore.
He published his book “Reign of religion in contemporary philosophy” in 1920.
In 1921, He was appointed at the University of Calcutta as a Professor in Philosophy and moral science.
He represented the University of Calcutta, at the Congress of Universities of British Empire in June 1926 and the International Congress of Philosophy at Harvard University in 1926 September.
He was called to take the position of the Principal of Harris Manchester College in 1929. He lectured to the university students of Oxford.
He was knighted by George V in June 1931, but he only used his doctorate to be addressed by others, the doctorate which was awarded in India for his research in Philosophy. Once, when he was in England, he met Srinivasa Ramanujan. Ramanujan touched the feet of Dr. Radha Krishnan. He was a man with positive thinking.
He was Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University, Visakhapatnam from 1931 to 1936. After that, he was invited by Pandit Shri Madan Mohan Malviya, the founder of Banaras Hindu University, to be a Vice-Chancellor to that university. He was the Vice-Chancellor in BHU from 1939 to 1948 in January.
Later, he was invited to be the ambassador to different countries. He went to Russia and met Stalin also. Stalin said that no one had recognized him as a man, and he had been recognized as a man by Dr. Radha Krishnan. He was so positive minded that he used to recognize good in others. That made his students admire him and even the man who was called a cruel man by the world also admired him.
From 1946 to 1952 he represented India in UNESCO. In 1952 he became the first Vice-President of India.
He was motivated to defend Hindu culture against Uniformed Western Criticism. His writings were worldwide accepted and he was nominated for the Nobel Prize literature 16 times. He was honored with Bharath Rathna.
The government observed September 5th as Teachers Day in the memory of Sri Sarvepalli Radha Krishnan who defended Hindu and Indian philosophy against Western Philosophy, like Vivekananda.
At present the teachers in India:
The tragic part is, on this teacher’s day, many private institutions’ teachers have lost their jobs due to COVID Pandemic and the government has not taken any corrective measures to ensure minimum wages to Private teachers. The same passion for teaching is there in private teachers like government teachers, and the majority of society has been getting an education from private teachers. The government should treat private teachers unbiased. The private institutions deserted the private teachers in the middle of the pandemic, without guaranteeing minimum wage. It resulted in a few unnoticed suicides in some parts of India. Future generations may opt-out from teaching if the corrective actions are not taken.