Teachers day- a tribute to Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
(Photo source: wikipedia)
September 5th is celebrated in India as "Teacher's day". I remember in the school we used to go to our favourite teachers to thank them for their teachings in the school - most of the time out of genuine respect but sometimes also out of respect mixed with little awe. In our lives, always there are a few individuals/teachers who make influential contributions which later on makes us what we are today.
Today is the day to thank those souls - alive or dead - for their contribution in success one has achieved in one's life. Thank all those teachers, colleagues and other beings from whom you learnt different values and knowledge to make you reach where you are now!
In India, we also celebrate our teacher-student relation on "Guru Poornima" - on a full-moon day of month "Ashadha" (around June-July). There too students thank their Guru for the knowledge they share. But this tradition is mainly followed by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. The tradition of celebrating September 5th as Teachers' day all across India started in remembrance of our great Indian philosopher (and teacher of course) Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan.
When asked by his students and followers how he would like to celebrate his birthday, he replied that instead of celebrating his birthday, it would be a great honour if his birthday is remembered as Teachers' day across India, and hence started this beautiful tradition of honouring all the teachers in India to celebrate their contribution in building next generation of citizens.
S. Radhakrishnan was a great philosopher and one of the most distinguished twentieth century scholars on Eastern philosophies and comparative religions. He was India's first vice-president and then subsequently served as India's second president. Radhakrishnan tried to bridge western and Indian philosophies - while staunchly defending Indian philosophies, he also tried to point to good values in western philosophies and its influence on what we are today.
As an academic and later statesman, he has made immense contribution in showing the world spiritual gems of Indian philosophies. His books on Indian philosophy classifying and comparing them to different Western philosophies are still used as textbooks. Deeply believing in Vedanta philosophy, he tried to interpret it to the modern times. Religion for him was the conquest of fear over failure and even over death. For many, he symbolizes the pride of Indians in their own intellectual traditions mixed with religion.
On this occasion of Radhakrishnan's birthday, we should also remember that India as a nation is standing on the base of contributions of such great personalities who guided us like a teacher during initial times of our independence and made India a more mature nation as what we are today.
Remember all those great teachers we as a nation had! Those are the people who have guided India to make a nation as what S. Radhakrishnan wrote - Democracy is a faith in the spiritual possibilities of not a privileged few but of every human being. We are surely progressing towards this.