DR. SARVEPALLI RADHAKRISHNAN: Let us know more about him.

Sarvapalli Radhakrishna was one of the prominent personalities in Indian history. Because of his unprecedented contribution to the education of India,
his birthday is celebrated as Teacher’s day across the country.

Radhakrishnan was born in Madras Presidency. He lived in a very family. His childhood consisted of a lot of hardships and with simplicity. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born in a Telugu-speaking Niyogi Brahmin Hindu family, in Tiruttani in the erstwhile Madras Presidency

Radhakrishnan had a great interest in education and studies. His intelligence and knowledge always earned him scholarships and he did education through that only.

His work was published in the top universities all over the world. He did great research of both eastern and western religions. Radhakrishnan wrote his thesis for the M.A. degree on “The Ethics of the Vedanta and its Metaphysical Presuppositions”. It was intended to be a reply to the charge that the “Vedanta system had no room for ethics.

He was afraid that this M.A. thesis would offend his philosophy professor, Dr. Alfred George Hogg. Instead, Hogg appreciated him and complimented him for doing such wonderful work. His philosophy was grounded in Advaita Vedanta, reinterpreting this tradition for a contemporary understanding. He defended Hinduism against “uninformed Western criticism”, contributing to the formation of contemporary Hindu identity.

He has been influential in shaping the understanding of Hinduism, in both India and the west, and earned a reputation as a bridge-builder between India and the West.

Nobel Prize

  • Bharat Ratna in 1954
  • 1961: the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.
  • 1968: Sahitya Akademi fellowship
  • 1975: the Templeton Prize in 1975
  • 1933-37: Nominated five times for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

He had written many articles for journals of repute like The Quest, Journal of Philosophy and the International Journal of Ethics. He also completed his first book, The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore. He believed Tagore’s philosophy to be the “genuine manifestation of the Indian spirit”. His second book, The Reign of Religion in Contemporary Philosophy was published in 1920.

His writings and books stunned the universities of both Harvard and Oxford. King George fifth knighted on his birthday. In 1932 he was conferred with “Earl of Willingdon”.

Dr. Radhakrishnan in the midst of the freedom struggle of India spread the message of Hindu religion, culture, Vedas, and Upanishads. India became independent in 1947 and he was the ambassador of India in the UN till 1952.

Stalin from the Soviet Union had great respect for Dr. Radhakrishnan. He never met an ambassador from any country but he met Dr. Radhakrishnan.
Dr. Radhakrishnan also explains to him that they should stop their cold war with America. In 1957, Dr. Radhakrishnan went to China as a vice-president. There the chairman, Mao Zedong, gave him great respect.

The students of Mysore University and students who studied under him in the past gathered to celebrate his 74th birthday on 5th September in 1962.
Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if September 5th is observed as Teachers’ Day. And from that day onwards,
5th September is celebrated as Teacher’s day.

Dr Radhakrishnan urged them that the kind of respect you have shown to me, give the same respect to all the teachers of the world. In 1962, Dr. Radhakrishnan became the president of India. As a president, he got a salary of Rs 10000. But he only kept Rs 2500 for him and donated the rest to a national fund for the country.

In 1954, Dr. Radhakrishnan was awarded Bharat Ratna. He passed away at the age of 87 years on 17th April 1975. He was conferred with Templeton
prize 2 months before his death and he donated the money to Oxford University.

Dr. Radhakrishnan was an ideal example of the importance of a teacher of Guru and how it can transform not only the life of the student but the overall society.

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