Indians will be celebrating Teachers’ Day tomorrow on the occasion of birth anniversary of second President of India Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. But, why is Teachers’ Day commemorated on his birthday? There is an interesting story behind this.
Before taking a plunge into politics, Radhakrishnan served as a professor at various colleges and universities, including Chennai’s Presidency College and Calcutta University. As his teaching career progressed, he went on to serve as vice-chancellor of Andhra Pradesh University, Delhi University and Banaras Hindu University.
He received a proposal from Oxford University in 1936 to teach Eastern Religions and Ethics. Radhakrishnan accepted the proposal and taught there for several years.
Besides teaching, he represented India at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from 1946 to 1952. He was also appointed India’s Ambassador to the Soviet Union, where he served from 1949 to 1952.
In 1952, he was appointed as the first Vice President of India and after ten years in the office, he went on to become the second President of India in 1962.
In 1962, after he took over as the President, his students approached him, requesting him to allow them to celebrate his birthday. Instead of allowing them to do so, he asked them to observe it as Teachers’ Day.
Since then, Teachers’ Day has been marked every year on his birth anniversary in the honour of all the teachers and professors.
Radhakrishnan was honoured with Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in 1954 for his contribution towards the nation. Apart from this, he was nominated 27 times for Nobel Prize.
As the country remembers Radhakrishnan on his birth anniversary, here are some quotes by him.