Happy Teachers’ Day: “True teachers are those who help us think for ourselves,’ Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan had said

A celebration of teachers and gurus around the country, Teachers’ Day is celebrated every year on 5th September, a day that coincides with the birthday of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan — the former President of India. Dr Radhakrishnan had said that “teachers should be the best minds in the country”. And it is this belief of his that is honoured on the day.

As mentioned earlier, the day is a celebration of teachers. But what is the significance of commemorating the day on the former President’s birthday? Dr Radhakrishnan was a teacher par excellence himself, and Buddhist philosopher Nagarjun’s sutram in Pali — ‘shikshanam shrenitam, rida shesham’ (teaching is the noblest profession and the rest doesn’t matter) — was believed to be his motto in life.

A scholar, Bharat Ratna recipient, the first Vice President and second President of independent India, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888, into a Telugu family. He had a master’s degree in philosophy, and a long academic career — teaching at the Presidency College in Chennai and the Calcutta University. He also served as the Vice Chancellor of Andhra Pradesh University, between 1931 and 1936. He was invited to Oxford to teach Eastern Religions and Ethics in 1936, a position he held for 16 long years.

It was in the year 1962 when he assumed the post of the President of India, that it was decided that teachers across the country be honoured annually on his birthday. Thus came into practice the tradition of celebrating Teachers’ Day. It is believed that Dr Radhakrishnan considered this to be a privilege.

On this day, while students remember the former President, they also honour their teachers by taking part in many cultural programmes. In schools and colleges, students often bring gifts for their favourite teachers, and tell them how much they have inspired them.

This year, because of the pandemic, students may have to meet with their teachers virtually only. Nonetheless, they can still show their affection and seek the blessings and guidance of their teachers.

Article Credit: Indian Express

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