“True teachers are those who help us think of ourselves” believed Dr.Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. In India 5th September, the birthday of Dr.Radhskrishnan is observed as Teacher’s Day as a mark of tribute to his great contribution for the Nation. On this occasion here are some Interesting facts about Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan –
1 ) Dr.Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s father did not want his son to learn English, instead, he wanted him to become a priest. However, his talent was so outstanding that he was sent to school at Tirupati and then Vellore.
2) Radhakrishnan was drawn into the field of philosophy by accident when his cousin passed him his textbooks. But by his confidence, concentration and strong convictions he went on to become a great philosopher.
3 ) During his MA degree, he prepared a thesis on the topic “The Ethics of the Vedanta and Its Material Presupposition”. Radhakrishnan’s thesis was considered a reply to the notion that Vedanta system had no room for ethics. Later, his thesis was published in 1908 as his first book titled “The Ethics of the Vedanta and Its Material Presupposition”. This established his fame as a great philosopher of undoubted ability.
4 ) Paul Artur Schillp (American educator) called Radhakrishnan ‘a living bridge between the East and the West’ because he very gracefully interpreted Indian thought in western terms. He proved the World that Indian thoughts were imbued with reason and logic. By doing so, he was able to give Indians a new sense of esteem.
5) Being the Vice President of India, Dr.Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan presided over the sittings of Rajya Sabha. In case of fierce arguments among the members, he used to start reciting slokas from Sanskrit classics or Bible to pacify the situation. On this Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru commented that “By the way in which Radhakrishnan conducted the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha, he had made the meetings of the House look like family gatherings”
6) In 1975, just a few months before his death, Radhakrishnan won the Templeton Prize for promoting the notion of “a universal reality of God that embraced love and wisdom for all people”. However, he donated the entire prize money to the Oxford University.
7) In the memory of the most humble professor Dr.Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Oxford University has set up a scholarship called “Radhakrishnan Chevening Scholarship”.
8) The famous British philosopher Bertrand Russell welcomed Dr. Radhakrishnan as the next President of India. On this occasion, he said “It is an honor to the philosophy that Dr. Radhakrishnan should be President of India and I, as a philosopher, take special pleasure in this. Plato aspired for philosophers to become kings and it is a tribute to India that she should make a philosopher her President.”
9) His students loved and respected him so exceptionally that when he was appointed as a professor in the University of Calcutta and was leaving Mysore University, he was escorted in a flower decked carriage pulled by his students.
10.) Throughout his lifetime he received various awards for his meritorious service and comprehensive knowledge. He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in 1931but he declined to use ‘sir’ title and embraced his academic title ‘Doctor’. In 1938 he was elected as the Fellow of British Academy. He also won the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 1961. Bharat Ratna, the highest award of the nation, was conferred on him in 1954 in recognition of his meritorious service to mankind.
11) Even after becoming the President of India, Sarvepalli remained a humble man. He accepted only Rs. 2,500 out of his salary of Rs. 10,000 and donated the remaining amount to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund every month.