25 Interesting facts of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan: Life, Contributions, and Legacy
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888, in a small town called Tiruttani in the erstwhile Madras Presidency of British India (now in Tamil Nadu, India).
He was born into a Telugu Brahmin family and was deeply influenced by his mother’s piety and religious teachings.
Radhakrishnan’s early education was in a local school in Tirupati, where he excelled academically.
Despite facing financial difficulties, he pursued higher education at Madras Christian College, where he studied philosophy.
Radhakrishnan was greatly influenced by the works of Western philosophers such as Plato, Kant, and Bergson, which shaped his intellectual development.
He completed his Master’s degree in Philosophy with a gold medal and became a lecturer at the Madras Presidency College.
In 1918, Radhakrishnan was appointed Professor of Philosophy at the University of Mysore, where he started gaining recognition for his scholarship.
His book “Indian Philosophy,” published in 1923, became a renowned work in the field and established him as an authority on Indian philosophy.
Radhakrishnan’s philosophy emphasized Vedanta’s spiritual and ethical aspects, advocating for a harmonious synthesis of Eastern and Western philosophical traditions.
He served as the Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University from 1931 to 1936, where he undertook numerous educational reforms.
Radhakrishnan was invited to deliver the prestigious Hibbert Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion at the University of Oxford in 1929, which garnered him international acclaim.
He became the first Indian to hold the Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics position at the University of Oxford in 1936.
Radhakrishnan’s lectures at Oxford were highly regarded for their ability to elucidate complex concepts of Indian philosophy to Western audiences.
He played a significant role in shaping the curriculum and framework for studying Indian philosophy in Western academia.
Radhakrishnan served as the Vice-Chancellor of the Banaras Hindu University from 1939 to 1948, contributing to its growth and development.
He was appointed the Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1949 to 1952 and played a crucial role in strengthening diplomatic ties between India and the USSR.
Radhakrishnan was elected as the Vice President of India in 1952 and served until 1962.
During his tenure as Vice President, he presided over the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament, with wisdom and impartiality.
Radhakrishnan was elected as the second President of India in 1962 and served in that role until 1967.
He was known for his simplicity and humility, choosing to live a frugal life even during his tenure as President.
Radhakrishnan’s birthday, September 5, is celebrated as Teachers’ Day in India as a mark of respect and gratitude for his significant educational contributions.
He received numerous awards and honors, including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in 1954.
In 1975, Radhakrishnan was awarded the Templeton Prize for promoting the dialogue between science and religion. He donated the prize money to Oxford University.
Radhakrishnan’s literary works include “The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore,” “The Hindu View of Life,” and “East and West: Some Reflections.”
His teachings and philosophy continue to inspire generations, emphasizing the importance of spirituality, tolerance, and the pursuit of knowledge for the betterment of society.
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