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Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan: An educator par excellence

A philosopher, scholar, an exemplary teacher, and politician Salvapalli Radhakrishnan was India’s first Vice President and nation’s second President. He was an influential teacher, who played a vital role in enhancing India’s educational system.

He was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna in 1984 and the British Order of Merit in 1963. He passed away on April 17, 1975 and has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Today, on his 64th dead anniversary, let us acknowledge his contribution in nation building and in the field of education.

Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888, in a middle class family in Tirutani. He was an outstanding student and studied philosophy at Christian College, Madras.

With an MA in Philosophy, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan served as a faculty member in the Department of Philosophy at Madras Presidency College. Imparting students with the best education possible was one of his greatest aims.

He also taught at the University of Calcutta, Oxford University, and the University of Mysore.

Ambassador to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from 1949 to 1952, Radhakrishnan became Vice President of India from 1952 and in 1962, he was choosen as the second President of India.

He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour in the country in 1954. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was nominated 27 times for the Nobel Prize; sixteen times for the Nobel Prize in literature, and eleven times for the Nobel Peace prize.

Despite several requests from people across India, Radhakrishnan did not want his birthday to be celebrated, instead, the great man said that he would be honored if his birthday could be celebrated as Teachers day in India so as to pay respect to the teachers.

Since then, his birth anniversary, which falls on September 5, is celebrated as Teacher’s Day.

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