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Commemorating Teachers' Day: Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan's Legacy of Education

Teachers' Day in India: Honoring Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Teachers Day 5th September

Every year, on September 5th, India celebrates Teachers' Day, also known as Shikshak Divas, to commemorate the birth anniversary of a remarkable figure, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. Dr. Radhakrishnan was not only the country's first Vice President and former President but also a distinguished scholar, philosopher, and recipient of the Bharat Ratna award. He was born on this day in 1888.

The History Behind Teachers' Day

The origins of Teachers' Day in India are fascinating. When Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan assumed the role of the second President of India in 1962, his students approached him with a request to celebrate his birthday as a special occasion. However, Dr. Radhakrishnan had a different idea. Instead of celebrating his own birthday, he suggested that September 5th be observed as Teachers' Day. His intention was to acknowledge and appreciate the invaluable contributions that teachers make to society. Dr. Radhakrishnan firmly believed that "teachers should be the best minds in the country."

The Significance of World Teachers' Day

On a global scale, World Teachers' Day is observed on October 5th. This international initiative is led by prominent organizations such as UNESCO, UNICEF, ILO, and Education International. It commemorates the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO recommendation, which lays out essential principles concerning the rights and responsibilities of teachers, standards for their training and ongoing development, guidelines for teacher recruitment, employment conditions, and the enhancement of teaching and learning environments.

Dr. Radhakrishnan's wisdom has left us with numerous inspirational quotes:

- "Tolerance is the homage which the finite mind pays to the inexhaustibility of the infinite."

- "Knowledge gives us power, love gives us fullness."

- "When we think we know, we cease to learn.”

- "Books are the means by which we build bridges between cultures."

- "The true teachers are those who help us think for ourselves."

- "God lives, feels, and suffers in every one of us, and in the course of time, His attributes, knowledge, beauty, and love will be revealed in each of us."

Dr. Radhakrishnan expressed his preference for September 5th to be observed as Teachers' Day rather than celebrating his own birthday. He emphasized the revolutionary nature of true religion, viewing it as an enemy of oppression, privilege, and injustice. According to him, religion is not merely belief but behavior. He also highlighted the importance of knowledge and science in achieving a life filled with joy and happiness.


Dr. Radhakrishnan's vision of education aimed at nurturing free and creative individuals capable of facing historical circumstances and the challenges of nature. He believed that a university's primary function was not just to grant degrees but also to cultivate a university spirit and promote learning.


Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan's teachings continue to inspire generations, underscoring the significance of education, tolerance, and the pursuit of knowledge as essential components of a just and enlightened society.

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