Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was the first Vice President of India and second President of India. He also emphasized philosophy, which influenced Indian thought. He was a teacher and his birth anniversary is celebrated as Teacher's Day in India. He promoted Indian culture on the world stage and elevated India's position internationally.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888 in Tiruttani, Madras. His father was poor, so he supported most of his education through scholarships. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan went to the Lutheran Mission School in Tiruvallur for his elementary and high school education. He joined Voorhees College in Vellore and later switched to Madras Christian College to major in philosophy before earning a B.A. and M.A.
After completing his M.A., Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan accepted a position as Assistant Lecturer at the Madras Presidency College in 1909. In college, he mastered classical texts of Hindu philosophy, including the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Brahmasutra, and commentaries of Sankara, Ramunuja, and Madhava. He also became familiar with Buddhist and Jain philosophy and other western thinkers such as Plato, Plotinus, Kant, Bradley, and Bergson.
In 1918, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was selected as a Professor of Philosophy by the University of Mysore. In 1921, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was nominated as Professor of Philosophy at Calcutta University, and in 1923 he published his first book "Indian Philosophy" to wide acclaim. The book became a philosophical classic and literary masterpiece.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan delivered a series of lectures at Oxford University, being the first Indian to do so. His platform was used to further India's cause for freedom and show that traditional Western philosophy is just not possible without bias from Western customs. He showed that Indo-Aryan philosophical systems were able to be equivalent to Western philosophies once translated into standard academic jargon. This made him essential in shining the light on Indian philosophy and making it more accessible to Westerners.
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Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was elected as Vice Chancellor of Andhra University in 1931. He became Vice-Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University in 1939 and later that year, he was named Ambassador to UNESCO. After Indian Independence, Dr. Radhakrishnan was asked to chair the University Education Commission, which helped India refine its education system to suit its needs.
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was appointed ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1949, during which he helped lay the foundation for a strong relationship with Russia, who voted him the first Vice-President of India in 1952. He was then honored with the Bharat Ratna award the following year. After two terms as Vice President, Dr. Radhakrishnan was elected President of India in 1962, where he helped see India through difficult times with China and Pakistan. Upon his retirement in 1967, Dr. Radhakrishnan settled down in Madras.
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was a famous Indian philosopher and scholar who passed away on April 17, 1975.
Fascinating Facts About Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan
Dr. Radhakrishnan's contributions to education earned him several awards, including the Bharat Ratna, as well as a Royal Knighthood from King George V for his excellence in teaching in 1931. He later received an "Order of Merit" from British royalty.
2. Templeton Prize
In 1975, when Radhakrishnan was nearing the end of his life, he was felicitated with a 'Templeton Prize worth one million dollars by the well-known 'Templeton Foundation. However, as generous as Radhakrishnan was, he donated all of this money to Oxford University.
3. His Father Was opposed To His Education
Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan was born into an economically backward family in a village just outside of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. His father wanted him to become a priest at their temple rather than study at an institution, but destiny had other plans for the young Radhakrishnan. The budding scholar enrolled in a school in Thiruthani and eventually became one of the most learned Indians.
4. A Sweet Tribute By His Students
Dr. Radhakrishnan next moved to Calcutta for a teaching stint and bid his beloved students adieu with a flower carriage. Instead of simply getting in the carriage, he asked his students to pull it from his hotel to the railway station, where they would see him again.
5. H.N Spalding
H.N. Spalding, one of the greatest English scholars of the 20th century, used to go to Oxford University when he wasn't traveling the globe speaking to audiences about his work in literature. In Oxford, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan's speeches motivated Spalding to initiate a seat in the world-renowned institution in memory of 'Eastern Religions and Ethics. This division of Oxford offers grants for those who research religious studies.
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