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10 Must-Know Facts About Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Scholar, teacher, philosopher and statesman, Sarvepalli Radhakrishanan was one of 20th century’s greatest thinkers. On Teacher’s Day, here are some little-known facts from his inspiring life

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President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan with US President John F Kennedy. Wikimedia Commons
President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan with US President John F Kennedy. Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a distinguished 20th-century scholar, was the first Vice President of India, and the second President. He was awarded a knighthood in 1931, and the Bharat Ratna. His birthday is being celebrated as Teachers’ Day (September 5) in India since 1962. He defended Hinduism against “uninformed Western criticism”, contributing to the formation of contemporary Hindu identity.

Here are 10 facts about Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan you must know: 

ALSO READ: Existentialism: Mirroring the Western thought in light of Indian Philosophy

1. His academic appointments included the King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta (1921–1932) and Spalding Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics at University of Oxford (1936–1952).

1. One of India’s most illustrious 20th-century scholars of comparative religion and philosophy, Dr. Radhakrishnan’s academic appointments included the King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta (1921–1932) and Spalding Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics at University of Oxford (1936–1952).

2. Dr. Radhakrishnan illustrated how western philosophers were prejudiced. He even claimed that Indian philosophy merits the term ‘philosophy’ in the western world. He is the one who placed Indian Philosophy on the world map.

3. Dr. Radhakrishnan was quite popular among his students. His students arranged and drove him in a flower-decked carriage when he was leaving Mysore University.

He belonged to a humble family with a weak economic background. Wikimedia Commons
He belonged to a humble family with a weak economic background. Wikimedia Commons

4. He belonged to a humble family with a weak economic background. He came from a small village on the border of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and his father wished for him to become a priest at a temple. However, he finished his MA in Philosophy and his first book titled Indian Philosophy was a classic and a literary masterpiece.

5. As the Vice-President, Radhakrishnan presided over the Rajya Sabha sessions. Whenever there were infuriated members, he would start quoting slokas from Sanskrit classics or the Bible, to calm the heated audience.

6. Bertrand Russell, one of the world’s greatest philosophers, welcomed Dr. Radhakrishnan as the newly appointed President of India. He said, “It is an honour to the philosophy that Dr. Radhakrishnan should be President of India and me, 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.”

During the course of his academic career, he received many awards. Wikimedia Commons
During the course of his academic career, he received many awards. Wikimedia Commons

7. During the course of his academic career, he received many awards. He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in 1931, was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 1938 and was awarded the prestigious Bharat Ratna in 1954. He also received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 1961.

ALSO READ: Here’s The List of all Bharat Ratna award winners from 1954 to 2015

8. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a few months before his death, received the Templeton Prize in 1975.

9. He was also appointed as ambassador to UNESCO in 1946 and later on as ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1949. As Chair of the Union Education Commission in 1948, he persevered and brought about reforms in India’s education system.

10. When he became the President of India, some of his students wished to celebrate his birthday. He replied, “Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if 5 September is observed as Teachers’ Day.”

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Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu Calls Statue Of Unity “Priceless Investment”

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu Calls Time Spent on Statue Of Unity "Priceless Investment".

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Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday called the Statue of Unity “a befitting memorial to Sardar Patel”, adding that given its significance, the amount spent on erecting the statue was a “priceless investment”.

Speaking after visiting the 182-metre statue (now the tallest statue globally) in Gujarat, Naidu said his “heart was filled with emotions and pride” and the visit gave him a feeling of completeness and a sense of unity of mind and soul.

“The splendid statue represents the vision and resolve of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel towards achieving political integration of a ‘unified India’. The historic statue stands as a reminder of the struggles the Sardar had undergone in unifying India,” an official statement quoted Naidu as saying.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Proposed Sardar Patel statue (Statue of unity)

Saying that Patel’s vision, courage and determination led to the integration of 565 princely states and paved the way for building a modern India, he lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking up the initiative to build it.

The Vice President said he had always felt that due recognition was not given to Sardar Patel in the past.

As per Naidu, the statue, inaugurated in October 2018, would create greater awareness among the people about Sardar Patel’s monumental contribution to nation building.

Also Read: India Needs to Improve its Educational Outcomes to Catch up with China

Naidu encouraged the youth to visit the statue.

Talking about the humble beginnings of Patel who hailed from a farmer’s family, he said it was “a matter of pride for all of us that a farmer was the architect of unified modern India”, the statement added. (IANS)