Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan: Facts to know about first Vice-President and second President of Independent India

The theme for National Teacher’s Day 2022 is शिक्षकः बढ़ते संकट के बीच भविष्य की नई कल्पना (Teachers: leading in crisis, reimagining the future). The theme explains it all yourself. The teachers play a vital role in guiding and preparing the younger generation to be equipped with the knowledge to deal with them. Moreover, teachers need to promote creative things among their students to come up with out-of-the-box solutions.

“Teachers should be the best mind in the country.” – Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan: In 1954, the Government of India honoured him with the Bharat Ratna, the highest honour of the country. In 1963, he also received the Order of Merit and in 1975, the Templeton Prize. Before gaining Independence, he was addressed as Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, and post-independence, he came to be known as Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. 

Several times we came across the famous saying “When we think we know, we cease to learn.” These types of words always motivate us to do higher learning in every phase of life, as learning is a life-long process. Inside us, the student will never fail if we have a teacher of par excellence, like Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

On Teachers Day we thank our teachers for all the efforts that they put into us to make a successful people. Teachers play an important role in our lives. Without them, growth as an individual and in a career is not possible. On 5 September, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan is always remembered to mark a tribute to his great contribution to the nation.

Interesting Facts about Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan on Teachers Day

1. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on 5 September, 1888 at Tiruttani in Tamil Nadu. His father and mother were Sarvepalli Veeraswami and Sitamma. His wife was Sivakamu, and he was the father of five daughters and one son.

2. Throughout his academic life, he was awarded scholarships. He joined Voorhees College in Vellore but later moved to the Madras Christian College at the age of 17. In 1906, he had completed his Master’s degree in Philosophy and became a professor.

3. He was knighted in 1931 and since then till the attainment of Independence, he was addressed as Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. But after independence, he came to be known as Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. In 1936, he was named as Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at the University of Oxford. Also, elected as the Fellow of the All Souls College.

4. He was elected to the Constituent Assembly in 1946. He served as ambassador to UNESCO and later to Moscow.

5. In 1952, he became the first Vice President of India and in 1962, he became the second President of independent India.

6. He was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1954 and in 1961 the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. In 1963, he also received the Order of Merit and in 1975, the Templeton prize for promoting the notion of “a universal reality of God that embraced love and wisdom for all people”. And amazing is that he had donated the entire prize money to Oxford University. 

7. To join the University of Calcutta, Dr. Radhakrishnan left Mysore University. The students of Mysore University took him to the station in a carriage that had been decorated with flowers.

8. From 1931-1936, he was the Vice-Chancellor at Andhra University, and from 1939-1948, he was the Vice-Chancellor at Banaras Hindu University. And at Delhi University, he was the Chancellor from 1953-1962.

9. Let us tell you that in the memory of Dr. Radhakrishnan, Oxford University started the Radhakrishnan Chevening Scholarships and the Radhakrishnan Memorial Award.

10. He had founded Helpage India, which is a non-profit organisation for elderly and underprivileged people.

11. Since 1962, Teachers’ Day in India is celebrated on 5 September every year to pay tribute to Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan on his birth anniversary.

12. One more thing which we can’t forget about him is that when he became the President of India, he accepted only Rs 2500 out of Rs 10,000 salary and the remaining amount was donated to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund every month.

13. He died on 17 April, 1975.

“It’s the teacher that makes the difference, not the classroom.” – Michael Morpurgo

We can’t forget such a humble man who had devoted his entire life to promoting the value of education and also gave Indians a new sense of esteem by gracefully interpreting Indian thought in western terms.

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