Teachers’ Day, since 1962, has been celebrated annually on September 5 to honour India’s second President and revered teacher Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. Google joined the celebrations on Wednesday with an animated doodle. A spinning globe wearing spectacles, representing a teacher, is shown surrounded by icons representing various subjects including Physics, Chemistry, Music, Mathematics and Astronomy among others.
The larger significance of the day is the birth anniversary of Dr Radhakrishnan, one of the most learned scholars of all times specifically in the fields of comparative religion and philosophy. Born in 1882 into a Telugu family in a town called Tirutani in Andhra Pradesh, his father wanted him to become a priest. However, 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. As a professor at the Presidency College in Madras (now Chennai) and the University of Calcutta, he was popular among students and was seen as a brilliant teacher.
A philosopher and statesman, he became the first Vice-President of India following which he went on to become the second President of India in 1962. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna and the British Royal Order of Merit for his valuable contributions in the field of learning throughout his life.
Dr Radhakrishnan believed “teachers should be the best minds in the country”. When he was president, he once said that instead of celebrating his birthday, it would be a privilege for him if his date of birth were to be celebrated as Teachers’ Day, and so it was.
While India celebrates Teachers’ Day on September 5, World Teacher’s day, designated by UNESCO, is celebrated on October 5.