Teacher’s Day: “Celebrating Teachers - the Sculptors of Future” & Saluting Visionary Teacher Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

/ Guest Column / Sunday, 05 September 2021 17:42

By: Dr. Jayadeba Sahoo
“Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Deva Maheswara; Guru sakshat Param Brahma, Tasmei Sri Gurave Namah.”
Teacher guides us towards the success in every aspect of life. It is important for both to respect the relationship.
Teacher’s Day is a tribute to the hard work and devotion of the teachers all year long, to educate a child. Indian Teacher’s Day is dedicated to Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who was one of the most distinguished diplomats, a philosopher a zealous advocate of education and one of the greatest scholars and teachers par excellence of all times, and his contribution towards Indian education system apart from being the first Vice President and the second President of India. As a tribute to this phenomenal great teacher, his birthday is observed as Teacher’s Day across India. As a matter of fact, when his students and friends asked him for the permission to celebrate his birthday, it was he who asked them to celebrate the day as Teacher’s Day, honoring the efforts of teachers across the country.
Birth & Education
Dr. S Radhakrishnan born on September 5, 1888, at Tiruttani, near MAdras graduated with a Master’s Degree in Arts from Madras University. In April 1909, he was appointed to the Department of Philosophy, at the Madras Presidency College. From then onwards, he was engaged in a serious study of Indian philosophy and religion, and went on to become a teacher of Philosophy.
His Works
Dr. Radhakrishnan penned down a number of books during his lifetime, some of which are like The Hindu Views of Life, The Idealist View of Life, Religion and Society, Eastern Religions and Western Thought and A Source Book in Indian Philosophy. He had also written for some of the most reputed international journals.
Presidency of India
Dr. Radhakrishnan was the Vice-President of India from 1952 to 1962 and the President, General Conference of UNESCO, from 1952 to 1954. He held the office of the Chancellor, University of Delhi, from 1953-62. In May 1962, Dr. Radhakrishnan became the President of India, a post he served till May 1967. He was honored with Bharat Ratna in 1954. He was also knighted by the British government in the year 1931, but, he used only his academic title ‘Doctor’ throughout his life.
Contribution towards Indian Education: Just after Independence Dr. Radhakrishnan Chaired the University Education Commission in 1948-49. As Erich Fromm told “Education makes machines which act like men and produces men who act like machines.”  He realized that our Education system does not appear to fulfill the true aim of education. He said, ”The three things- vital dynamism, intellectual efficiency and spiritual direction together constitute the proper aim of education. Moral and spiritual training is an essential part of education. Enfranchisement of the mind, freedom from prejudice and fanaticism, and courage are essential. What we need today is the education of the whole man- physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual………   
If education is to help us to meet the moral challenge of the age and play its part in the life of the community, it should be liberating and life giving. It must give a basic meaning to personality and existence and equip us with the power to overcome spiritual inertia and foster spiritual sensitivity….......Seat of learning should produce men and women who will move together to develop common ideals and purposes, love each other and co-exist to create a co-operative common wealth.”
Radhakrishnan had also strongly recommended the teaching of spiritual and ethical aspects of the religions as it is evident in the report of the University education commission of which he was the Chairman. The report maintained that: ”Unless morality is taken in a larger sense it is not enough. If we exclude the spiritual training in our institutions, we would have to be untrue to our whole historical development. To be secular is not to be religiously illiterate. It is to be deeply spiritual and not narrowly religious.” To enable students to become enlightened civilized citizen, he used to lay stress on the need of ethical teaching while addressing them.
The significance of celebrating Teachers’ Day
The Radhakrishnan Commission’s suggestions helped mould the education system for India’s needs. Dr Radhakhrishnan believed that “teachers should be the best minds in the country”. Teachers Day is the only occasion when we remember the time spent with our teacher, what they taught and what we are today. Teacher guides us towards the success in every aspect of life. Teachers are the prime movers who commit their whole life to the welfare of the youth; hence they are the greatest builders of a society or a nation. If we are proud of our country, our progress, our wealth and power, then we should be proud of our teachers. 
When Dr APJ Abdul Kalam became President of India, he located his centenarian class VIII science teacher Siva Subramania Iyer (who had changed his life with a lesson on how birds fly) in Tamil Nadu and put him on stage with him to share his honour. Dr Kalam said, “The launch of the rocket is most crucial. If it is given the right take-off, it can reach the moon. The teacher is the launching pad of every great person who reaches for the sky.” 
On this day, we gratefully remember the great educationist, apart from honoring all the teachers that have made our life much more knowledgeable and fulfilled, as serving as our beacons of light.
(The writer is Faculty, Brahma Kumaris & (Ex-Head & Dean), Dept. of Education, R.G.U. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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