A famous teacher who later became the first Vice President and the second President of India is Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. A philosopher, an idealist, a teacher, an eminent author and then the role of the Executive Head of India , a man of vision , a man of mission and a man of principles are few outlines of this personality. His birthday is celebrated as the Teacher’s day in India.
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on 5th September 1888 in a poor Brahmin family at Tirutani, Madras. The financial condition of the family was not stable and so Radhakrishnan decided to study hard and support his education through scholarships. He was an intelligent student. The early education that Radhakrishnan received was at Gowdie High school in Tiruvalur followed by Lutheran Mission School at Tirupati. He then joined the Voorhee’s college Vellore and then switched to the Madras Christian College to complete his B.A and M.A by choosing Philosophy as his major subject.
In the year 1909, Radhakrishnan took up a post of Assistant Lecturer at Madras Presidency college after completing his M.A. He then mastered the Upanishads, Bhagvad Gita, Brahmasutras and a few commentaries written by scholarly Ramanuja, Sankara and Madhava. He also learnt about the philosophies of various other religions like Buddhism and Jainism followed by the philosophies of thinkers of the west like the Plotinus, Plato, Bradley, Bergson and Kant.
The University of Mysore selected him as the Professor of Philosophy in the year 1918. This was followed by a nomination in the year 1921 for the post of professor of Philosophy at the Calcutta University. “Indian Philosophy” was the book written by Radhakrishnan that was published in the year 1923. This book is always considered to be a literary masterpiece and a philosophical classic.
The Oxford University then invited him to deliver lecture on the Hindu Philosophy. The lectures were used by him as a platform to showcase the Freedom struggle of India and the reason behind its chase for freedom. He was the person who placed India on the world map by explaining and propagating about the content in the Indian philosophies in comparison to the philosophies of the west.
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was elected as the Vice Chancellor of the Andhra University in the year 1931. This was also followed by a role of a Vice Chancellor of the Benaras University in the year 1939. He was also appointed as an ambassador to the UNESCO in the year 1946. He headed the Education commission in India in 1948 and brought about various valuable changes in the education system of India.
He was also appointed as an ambassador to the Soviet Union in the year 1949 and his contribution in establishing and strengthening the relations with the Soviet Union were immensely appreciated. In the year 1952 he became the Vice President of India and received the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna in the year 1954. He served two terms as the Vice-President of India following which he was elected as the President of India in the year 1962. It was the time when India was engaged in war with the neighboring countries like China and Pakistan. In the year 1967 he finally retired as the President of India and then decided to settle in his native Madras. On 17th April 1975 he breathe his last.