Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Essay

Essay on Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

“When we think we know, we cease to learn”. These words motivate us to seek higher learning in each phase of life, since learning is a life-long process. The student in us would never fail if we have a teacher-par excellence like Dr. S Radhakrishnan. He is undoubtedly, one of the most recognized and influential Indian thinkers in academic circles of the 20th century. He was a role model, an interminable source of inspiration and a great statesman for all teachers and students of the country.

Early Life

Radhakrishnan was born on 5th September 1888 in a middle class Brahmin family in a small town of Tamil Nadu. His father’s name was Sarvepalli Veeraswami and was revenue official with a local zamindar. His mother’s name was Sitamma. His father didn’t want him to study English and wished that he became a priest instead. On seeing his intelligence, Radhakrishnan was allowed to pursue school and higher education. Being from a financially weak family, he sustained his studies by borrowing second hand books from a cousin. He got married at an age of 16 years. He graduated with a Master’s degree in Philosophy from Madras Christian college. During this time he was introduced to western thought. In 1918, he was selected as the Professor of Philosophy at the University of Mysore.

His Contribution

In 1921, he was appointed as a Professor of Philosophy in chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta. 

In 1929, Radhakrishnan was invited to take up the job of a teacher at Manchester College, Oxford. This gave him the opportunity to give lectures on Comparative Religion. 

In 1931, Radhakrishnan was invited to take up his second Vice-Chancellorship at Banaras Hindu University (BHU). 

In 1946, Radhakrishnan represented India in UNESCO.

In 1948, under the chairmanship of Dr. Radhakrishnan, the Government appointed a University Education Commission.

In 1949, he was appointed Indian ambassador to USSR.

He served as a member of the Indian Constituent Assembly for two years immediately after India’s independence. 

In 1952, he became the Vice President of India.

In 1962, he was finally elected as the second President of India. During his tenure, India fought wars with China and Pakistan. 

His Vision

Radhakrishnan was a man of great vision. He saw an increasing need for world unity and universal fellowship during his term in office. He believed in international peace and cooperation. He called for the promotion of a creative internationalism based on the spiritual foundations of integral experience so that he could promote understanding and tolerance between people and nations. Though he did not have any active political background, he kept an impassioned guard for the Hindu culture against ‘uniformed Western criticism’. His philosophy was simple but effective.

His Work And Awards

Dr. Radhakrishnan was conferred with many awards and recognitions including the highest civilian award

Bharat Ratna in 1954. He was the first person to be conferred upon the Sahitya Akademi fellowship. He also received the Peace Prize of German Book Trade in 1961 and Templeton Prize in 1975. He donated the award money of the Templeton Prize to Oxford University.

Some of his written works include Indian Philosophy, The Philosophy of the Upanishads, Eastern Religions and Western Thoughts. In his major work on the Idealist View of Life, he laid emphasis on the importance of instinctive thinking. 

During the tenure of his President, his students and friends requested him to allow them to celebrate his birthday, 5th September. Radhakrishnan asked them to observe the day as Teacher’s Day instead of celebrating his birthday. Since then till today, 5th September is marked as Teacher’s Day. 

Radhakrishnan breathed his last on 17th April 1975.


It is our privilege to have such a great philosopher, a great educationist and a great humanist in our country. He will always remain in our heart because of his unimaginable participation in the field of education.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Why Do We Celebrate 5th September As Teacher’s Day?

We celebrate 5th September as Teacher’s day to commemorate the birthday of Dr.Radhakrishnan. He was a great scholar, a learner and a philosopher.

2. How Did Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Serve Our Nation?

He served the nation by educating the students and he was the second President of India.

3. When Was Radhakrishnan Born?

Dr.Radhakrishnan was born on 5th September 1888 in a middle class in a small town of Tamil Nadu.

4. Mention Few Of Written Works.

Few of his written works include Indian Philosophy, The Philosophy of the Upanishads, Eastern Religions and Western Thoughts and The Idealist View of Life.