Born: September 5, 1888
Died: April 17, 1975
Achievements: First Vice President and second President of
India. Placed Indian philosophy on world map.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was first Vice President of India and second
President of India. He was also a philosopher and introduced the
thinking of western idealist philosophers into Indian thought. He was a
famous teacher and his birthday is celebrated as Teacher's Day in India.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on
September 5, 1888 at Tirutani, Madras in a poor Brahmin family. As his father was
poor Radhakrishnan supported most of his education through scholarships.
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan had his early education at Gowdie School,
Tiruvallur and then went to the Lutheran Mission School in Tirupati for
his high school. He joined the Voorhee's College in Vellore and later
switched to the Madras Christian College. He chose Philosophy as his
major subject and did his B.A. and M.A. in it.
After completing his M.A., Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, accepted an
Assistant Lectureship at the Madras Presidency College in 1909. In
college, he mastered the classics of Hindu philosophy, namely the
Upanishads, Bhagvad Gita, Brahmasutra, and commentaries of Sankara,
Ramunuja and Madhava. He also acquainted himself with Buddhist and Jain
philosophy and philosophies of Western thinkers such as Plato, Plotinus,
Kant, Bradley, and Bergson.
In 1918, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was selected as Professor of
Philosophy by the University of Mysore. In 1921, Radhakrishnan was
nominated as Professor of Philosophy at the Calcutta University, 1921.
In 1923, Dr. Radhakrishnan's book "Indian Philosophy" was
published. The book was hailed as a "philosophical classic and a
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was called to Oxford University, to deliver
lectures on Hindu philosophy. He used his lectures as a platform to
further India's cause for freedom. He also argued that Western
philosophers, despite all claims to objectivity, were biased by
theological influences from their wider culture. He showed that Indian
philosophy, once translated into standard academic jargon, is worthy of
being called philosophy by Western standards. He thus placed Indian
Philosophy on world map.
In 1931, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was elected Vice Chancellor of the
Andhra University. In 1939, Radhakrishnan became the Vice Chancellor of
the Benaras Hindu University. In 1946, he was appointed as Ambassador
to UNESCO. After Independence Dr. Radhakrishnan was requested to Chair
the University Education
Commission in 1948. The Radhakrishnan Committee's suggestions helped mould
the education system for India's needs.
In 1949, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was appointed ambassador to the
Soviet Union. He helped laid the foundation for a strong relationship
with Soviet Union. Radhakrishnan was elected first Vice-President of India
in 1952. He was honored with the Bharat Ratna in 1954. After serving two
terms as Vice-President, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was elected President
of India in 1962. During his tenure as President India fought wars with
China and Pakistan. As President he helped see India through those trying
years safely. He retired as President in 1967 and settled in Madras.
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan died on April 17, 1975.