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Teachers' Day and Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan: Remembering scholar, teacher and former president

By Vishal S

New Delhi, Sep 05: Teachers' Day is celebrated on September 5 every year in India. The Day is celebrated to commemorate and express gratitude towards the role that teachers play in shaping society. Teachers play a very important role, as they lay the foundation of a civilised and progressive society.

A file photo

Why is Teachers' Day celebrated on Sep 5 in India?

Teachers' Day is a special day intended to recognise and appreciate teachers. Globally, the World Teacher's Day is celebrated on 5th October, but in India, the Teacher's Day is celebrated on 5th September which is the birthday of former president Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. Apart from being the President, Radhakrishnan was a well-known diplomat, scholar and above all, a teacher.

The first Teachers' Day celebration in India dates back to 1962 when Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan started serving as the president of India.

When some of his students and friends approached him and requested him to allow them to celebrate his birthday, he said, "Instead of celebrating my birthday separately, it would be my proud privilege, if 5th September is observed as Teachers' day". From then onwards, the 5th of September is being observed as Teachers Day, in India.

Dr Radhakrishnan achievements and biography:

Dr Radhakrishnan was awarded several high awards during his life, including a knighthood in 1931, the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India, in 1954, and honorary membership of the British Royal Order of Merit in 1963. Not only this, he was nominated eleven times for the Nobel Peace Prize throughout his lifetime.

[Teachers' Day quotes: Inspiring wishes to make this day special for your Guru]

"He has served his country in many capacities. But above all, he is a great teacher from whom all of us have learnt much and will continue to learn. It is India's peculiar privilege to have a great philosopher, a great educationist and a great humanist as her President. That in itself shows the kind of men we honour and respect," India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had said about Dr Radhakrishnan.

Born in 1882 into a Telugu family in a town called Tiruttani in Andhra Pradesh, Dr Radhakrishnan's father wanted him to take on the role of a priest. But destiny had other plans. His hard work got him to join schools in Tirupati and Vellore and he eventually went on to join Christian College, Madras to study philosophy.

Dr.Radhakrishnan did his Masters in Philosophy from the University of Madras, after which he went on to teach in University of Mysore and University of Calcutta.

He was an evocative teacher, exceedingly popular among his students right from his early days as a professor at Presidency College, Madras. He was offered the professorship at Calcutta University when he was less than 30 years old. He served as Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University from 1931 to 1936. In 1939, he was appointed the Vice-Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University.

On Teacher's Day, students across the nation honour the teachers and gurus in their lives. Often, special programmes are held in schools and colleges honouring educators. Many others offer their teachers greeting cards and hand-made presents.

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