Every year, on September 5, classrooms across India fill up with greeting cards, chocolates, flowers and performances as student showcase what their teachers mean to them. We all appreciate the vital role that teachers play in shaping the future, but do we really know why we celebrate Teachers’ Day?
The first Teachers’ Day was celebrated in India in 1962. This is the year when Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan began serving as the second president of India. To celebrate his esteemed position, his students suggested that his birthday be celebrated as ‘Radhakrishnan Day’.
However, he declined this move and suggested that “Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud priviledge if September 5 is observed as Teachers’ Day.”
Born in 1882 into a Telugu family in a town called Tirutani in Andhra Pradesh, his father wanted him to take on the role of a priest. But destiny had other plans. His hard work got him to join schools in Tirupati and Vellore and he eventually went on to join Christian College, Madras to study philosophy.
He 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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