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Teachers’ Day 2020: Why do we celebrate Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s birthday on September 5?

Despite all his achievements and contributions, Radhakrishnan remained a teacher throughout his life. Teachers’ Day is celebrated to honour the memory of India’s first Vice President and to commemorate the importance of teachers in our lives.

Teachers’ Day is celebrated to honour the memory of India’s first Vice President and to commemorate the importance of teachers in our lives

Happy Teacher’s Day 2020: Every year on September 5, the birth anniversary of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan is being celebrated as Teachers’ Day across the country. Radhakrishnan was born in a poor Brahmin family in Andhra Pradesh’s Tiruttani in 1888. He was a bright student and through scholarships completed his studies. A great scholar, philosopher and a Bharat Ratna recipient, Radhakrishnan was the first Vice President and second President of independent India.

During his tenure as a President of India (from 1962-67), his students and friends requested him to celebrate his birthday. He replied, “Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if September 5 is observed as Teachers’ Day.” Since then, his birthday has been observed as Teachers’ Day.

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Radhakrishnan graduated with a Master’s degree in Philosophy and authored the book ‘The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore’ in 1917 and placed Indian philosophy on the world map. He went on to teach at Chennai’s Presidency College and Calcutta University. As a professor at the Presidency College in Madras and the University of Calcutta, he was popular among students and was seen as a brilliant teacher.

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He later served as the Vice-Chancellor of both Andhra University and Banaras Hindu University and was recognised by the Oxford University when he was called to fill the Chair of Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions. In 1939, he was elected fellow of the British Academy. Radhakrishnan became the first Vice President of India in 1952 and took on the role of the nation’s second President in 1962 until 1967.

He was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna in 1984 and the British Order of Merit in 1963. He passed away on April 17, 1975 and has so far been nominated 11 times for the Nobel Peace Prize. Despite all his achievements and contributions, Radhakrishnan remained a teacher throughout his life. Teachers’ Day is celebrated to honour the memory of India’s first Vice President and to commemorate the importance of teachers in our lives.

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Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru once said on 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.”

First published on: 04-09-2020 at 09:53:56 am
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