5th September 1888: Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, India’s Second President is Born


On 5th September 1888, India’s second President Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born. This day is celebrated as Teacher’s Day all across India.


A philosopher, Dr. S Radhakrishnan served as the first Vice President of India (1952-1962) and the second President of India (1962-1967). He is remembered as India’s most renowned academics on comparative religion and philosophy and for introducing Indian philosophy to the West, bridging the gap between both the cultures.


Dr. S Radhakrishnan was born on 5th September 1888 to a Telugu Brahmin family in Tiruttani in Tamil Nadu. He received his primary education at Tiruttani Primary School and then moved to the Hermansburg Evangelical Lutheral Mission School in Tirupati. In 1906 Dr. Radhakrishnan graduated with a Masters degree in Philosophy from the Madras Christian College. In 1909 he was appointed at the Department of Philosophy at the Madras Presidency College. Following that in 1918, he was offered the position of Professor of Philosophy by the University of Mysore. In the meanwhile Dr. Radhakrishnan was writing articles for prestigious journals such as; The Quest, Journal of Philosophy and the International Journal of Ethics.


In 1921 Dr. Radhakrishnan was appointed the professor of Philosophy at the University of Kolkata to occupy the King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science. In June 1926 he represented the University of Kolkata at the Congress of the University of the British Empire and the International College of Philosophy at Harvard University in September 1926.


In 1929 he was invited to deliver the Hibbert Lecture on the Ideals of Life at the Harris Manchester College, Oxford. This lecture was later published as a book titled “An Idealist View of Life”.  Later in 1929 he was offered the position of the principal of the Harris Manchester College. Dr. Radhakrishnan used this opportunity to teach his students about Comparative Religion. He was knighted by King George V in 1931 for his service to education. However, following Indian Independence, Dr. Radhakrishnan stopped using that title and preferred using his academic title of Doctor instead.


From 1931 to 1936, Dr. Radhakrishnan served as the Vice Chancellor of Andhra University. In 1936, Dr. Radhakrishnan was named Spalding Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics at the University of Oxford and was also elected a Fellow of All Souls College. In 1939, Dr. Radhakrishnan was invited by Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya to be the Vice Chancellor of the Benaras Hindu University, which he did till 1948.


After Independence in 1947, Dr. Radhakrishnan represented the country at UNESCO and later served as Ambassador of India to the Soviet Union from 1949-1952. Following this he became an elected member of the Constituent Assembly of India.


In 1952, Dr. Radhakrishnan was elected as the First Vice President of India and then as the second President of India in 1962. When he became President many of his students expressed their desire to celebrate his birthday. On the contrary, Dr. Radhakrishnan told them that he would be honoured of his birthday was celebrated as 'Teacher’s Day' instead. Ever since then, Dr. Radhakrishnan’s birthday has been celebrated as Teacher’s Day every year. On Teacher’s Day students and teachers go to school as usual and the day is marked as a day of celebration and being thankful to ones teachers. In some schools, senior students dress up formally; saris for girls and trousers for boys and take on the responsibility of teachers for a day by teaching junior students.

Dr. Radhakrishnan was honoured with the Bharat Ratna (the highest civilian award in India) in 1954.


Also on This Day:

 1612: The East India Company’s marine under the British Government was founded with four small fighting ships.

1698: A rival East India Company was founded in England.

1763: Mir Qasim fought the British at Udayana near Rajmahal and lost the battle.

1957: Wealth Tax Bill was formed.

1997: Mother Teresa passed away in Kolkata.


Related Information:

Ideas for Teacher's Day Celebrations

Information about Teachers Day

PM’s Speech on Teachers Day: Modi thanks all teachers

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Biography

Information about Children Day



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