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SHORT ESSAY ON Sarvepalli Dr. Radhakrishnan
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Friday, 30 August 2013 04:53


Sarvepalli Dr. Radhakrishnan

“A good teacher must know how to arouse the interest of the pupil in the field of education for which he is responsible. He must himself be a master in the field of education and be in touch with the latest developments in the subjects, he must himself be a fellow traveler in the exciting pursuit of knowledge.” – Sarvepalli Dr. Radhakrishnan

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born in Tirutani on September 5, 1888 into a poor Brahmin family. His father Sarvepalli Veeraswami was employed on a meager salary in the Zamindar. His mother’s mane was Sitamma. It was difficult for Radhakrishnan’s father to educate him with a meager income and a large family to take care of Radhakrishnan went through most of his education on scholarships. He initially went to school in Tirutani and then o the Lutheran Mission School in Tirupati for High School. In 1900 he moved to Bellore College where he studied till 1904. In between 1904 and 1908, he completed his B.A. with honous and M.A. in Philosophy from Madras Christian College. He was afraid that his M.A. thesis, “The Ethics of the Vedanta” would offend his philosophy professor, Dr. A.G. Hoogg. Instead, Dr. Hogg commended Radhakrishnan on doing an excellent job. Radhakrishnan’s M.A. thesis was published when he was only 20. Radhakrishnan was married to Sivakamuamma at the age of 16 while staying in Vellore. Radhakrishnan accepted an Assistant Lectureship at the Madras Presidency College in 1909.

In the meantime, he had studied Sanskrit, Hindi and Ancient works such as the Vedas and Upanishads. He Joined Provincial Education Service as an assistant professor of Philosophy in the same college from where he did his graduation.

In 1914, in a strange twist of fate, Radhakrishnan met Srinivasa Ramanujan, a mathematical genius. Srinivasa was leaving for Cambridge for studies and had come to seek Radhakrishnan’s blessings because a goddess came in his dream and told him to do so before undertaking the trip. The two never met again.

In between 1918 and 1921, he held the post of Professor of Philosophy in Mysore university. He was appointed King George Professor of Philosophy for two terms, between 1921 and 1931 and between 1937 and 1944. He was appointed Vice Chancellor of Andhra University in 1931. In the same year he was knighted. In between 1931 and 1950, he held the prestigious post of Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics. He as the first Indian to be appointed as Vice Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University.

He headed the Indian delegation to UNESCO a number of times between 1946 and 1950. He was the Chairman of the University Education Committee and in the Executive Board of UNESCO in 1948.

In 1949, Dr. Radhakrishnan was appointed ambassador to the Soviet Union. The appointment raised many eyebrows because people wondered what kind of an impression Radhakrishnan, a student of idealist philosophy, would make on Joseph Stalin, an ardent communist. In 1950, Radhakrishnan was called on the Kremlin to meet with the Premier. This was rather irregular. He was accompanied by Indian Embassy Ministter, Rajeshwar Dayal and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Vyshinsky and interpreter Pavlov. Radhakrishnan told Stalin. “We had an emperor in India who after bloody victory renounced war and became a monk. You have waded your way to power through force. Who knows that might happen to you also.” Radhakrishnan was referring to Stalin’s infamous “bloody” purges. Stalin smiled and replied, “Yes, miracles do happen sometimes. I was in a theological seminary for five year!”

On April 5, 1952, a few day before Radhakrishnan’s departure for India, Stalin Called on Radhakrishnan. Radhakrishnan records Stalin’s face being bloated. Radhakrishnan patted him on the cheek and on the back. Stalin said, “You are the first person to treat me a human being and not as a monster. You are leaving us and I am sad. I want you to live long. I have no long to live.”  Stalin died six months later. Radhakrishnan’s legacy in Moscow was a firm and friendly understanding between India and the Soviet Union. A relationship which has flourished over the years and has become even stronger.

In 152, he was the President of UNESCO. He was a delegate to PEN Congress in 1959 and in 1962 he was made a honoured fellow of the British Academy. In May 1962, he represented Calcutta University to the Congress of Philosophy, Harvard University. He held important posts like Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to USSR between 1949 and 1952. He received numerous honorary doctorates from universities worldwide. In June 1963, he was made Honorary member of the order of Merit, Bucknigham Palace. He held the post of Vice-President of India from 192 to 1966.

In 1956, Radhakrishnan’s devoted wife, Sivakamumma, passed away after sharing 50 years of married life. The couple had five daughters and a son.

After serving two terms as Vice-President, Radhakrishnan was elected President of India in 1962. Radhakrishnan’s tenure as President was marked by the disastrous Indo-China war of 1962. His state visit to the United States in 1963, the end of the Nehru-era with Nehru’s death in 1964, and India’s victorious performance against Pakistan in 1965 under Lal Bahadur Shastri. Radhakrishnan guided each of the Prime Ministers wisely and helped see India gets through those trying years safely. Radhakrishnan refused continue for another term as President after him term ended in 1967.

His achievements were innumerable and this great son of India became an important figure in the field of education and politics. His birthday, the 5h of September is celebrated as Teacher’s Day throughout India.

He authored many books which are considered assets by the readers like: the Ethics of Vedanta and its Material Presupposition. The Philosophy Of Rabindrantah Tagore, Idealistic Views Of Life, Eastern Religions and Western Thoughts, Kalki or Future Civilization, Indian Philosophy.

At the age of 79, Dr. Radhakrishnan returned to Madras in May 1967 to a warm homecoming. He spent his last years happily at his house ‘Girija’ in Mylapore, Madras. A dynamic leader Dr. Radhakrishnan left away leaving behind mourning India for heavenly journey on April 16, 1975.


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