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Why is Radhakrishnan's Birthday Celebrated as Teacher's Day?

By Aparajita DasAugust 24, 2022
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Teacher’s Day is one of the fondest memories of school kids. Having the ability to plan a day for your teachers with little to no oversight from them is awesome for many. Staying late at school for rehearsals, and decorating the school premises, are some of the fondest memories for students that have passed out. But, one thing that doesn’t get enough recognition is the person on whose birthday Teacher's Day is celebrated.

Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan was the first Vice President of India and the second President of the country. It is common knowledge that Children’s Day is celebrated on the birthday of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru because he loved children. But, it is not common knowledge why Teacher’s Day is celebrated on the birthday of Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. Did he love teachers? Well, he probably did, but that’s not why his birthday is dedicated to celebrating teachers. So, then what is the real reason? Let’s find out.

Learn Why Dr. Radhakrishnan's Birthday Is Known as Teacher's Day
Also Read: Teacher’s Day Gift Ideas 2022

The History of Teacher’s Day in India

To learn about Teacher’s Day, it’s pertinent to first learn about the person who dedicated this day to teachers. It was Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan himself that dedicated his birthday to all teachers across the country. But why did he dedicate his birthday to teachers? The story goes that his students insisted on celebrating his birthday after he became the President of India in 1962. Being the great personality he is, he dedicated his birthday to all teachers across the country, and ever since 1962, his birthday has been celebrated as National Teacher’s Day across India.

This story may seem anticlimactic if you don’t know who Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan was. So, let’s take a moment to look back at his illustrious life and why the ultimate dedication of his birthday to teachers all over the country is an incredible story.

A Look at the Life and Legacy of Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan

Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan was born in 1888. He was one of the most influential philosophers in modern India and one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century on comparative religion and philosophy. Throughout his life, he held many highly regarded posts due to his deep understanding of the Hindu religion. He was one of the staunch voices that criticised the uninformed western criticism of Hinduism. His philosophical works were based on the ancient Hindu concepts of Advaita Vedanta, which he tried to bring to contemporary understanding. His work is said to have been one of the most influential aspects of the bridging of cultures between the west and India. 

As a philosopher and scholar, a large part of Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan’s life went towards teaching students and shaping the youth of the country. He was beloved by his students and understood his role as their teacher and mentor. He famously proclaimed that he believed that teachers should be the best minds in the country. And to stay true to his words and celebrate the role of teachers in shaping the youth of the country, he dedicated his birthday to them. 

Let’s look at some of the honours he garnered over his lifetime to get a better look at the legacy of this magnanimous personality.

  • King George V chair at the University of Calcutta on Mental and Moral Science from 1921 to 1932

  • Knighthood from the British crown in 1931

  • Presided over the Spalding Chair at the University of Oxford on Eastern Religion and Ethics from 1936 to 1952

  • Held the chair of Vice Chancellor of the Banaras Hindu University from 1939 to 1948

  • 2nd Ambassador of India to the Soviet Union from 1948 to 1952

  • Held the position of the 1st Vice President of India from 1952 to 1962

  • Awarded the Bharat Ratna (India’s highest civilian award) in 1954

  • 2nd ever President of India from 1962 to 1967

  • Honourary member of the British Royal Order of Merit in 1963

Significance of Teacher’s Day Post Pandemic

The pandemic saw a significant shift in the education industry as for the better part of two years, schools, colleges, and most educational institutions remained closed. Teachers who might not have been tech savvy needed to learn how to use these technologies almost instantly to keep the education industry running. If this change was already not challenging enough for teachers, some students took advantage of their anonymity online and troubled their teachers quite a bit. In such a scenario, it really puts forth the question, what is the significance of Teacher’s Day?

The pandemic has shown us an alternate reality and the struggles that both teachers and students have undergone. These situations create a massive significance for Teacher’s Day for both students and teachers. Students need to remember the value of respecting their teachers and teachers vice versa should remember the value of their position and hold it with integrity, and an occasion like National Teacher’s Day can help remind both parties of this message.


The life and legacy of Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan can teach everyone a lot. So, moving forward, it’s crucial that you as students remember his works and try to take lessons from them. And while you are enjoying your unsupervised moments of fun at school preparing for your school’s Teacher’s Day feast, always remember to treat your teachers with dignity and respect, just the way you would wish to be treated by your students.

FAQs on Why is Radhakrishnan's Birthday Celebrated as Teacher's Day?

1. Why do we celebrate Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan's birthday as Teacher's Day?

At the request of his students to celebrate his birthday after becoming the President of India, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan instead dedicated that day to all the teachers of the nation. Now, his birth date is celebrated as Teacher's Day to honour the teachers across the country. 

2. In which year was Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan born?

Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888. 

3. What is the meaning of Teacher's Day?

Teacher's Day is dedicated to appreciating teachers for their continuous contribution. It is a way to make teachers feel special for all the hard work they put in the whole year.