Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan listen (help·info)); (5 September 1888 – 17 April 1975) was an Indian philosopher and statesmanwho was the first Vice-President of India (1952–1962) and the second President of India from 1962 to 1967.[web 1]
One of India’s best and most influential twentieth-century scholars of comparative religion and philosophy,[web 2] his academic appointments included the King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta (1921–1932) and Spalding Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics at University of Oxford (1936–1952).
His philosophy was grounded in Advaita Vedanta, reinterpreting this tradition for a contemporary understanding.[web 2] He defended Hinduism against "uninformed Western criticism", contributing to the formation of contemporary Hindu identity. He has been influential in shaping the understanding of Hinduism, in both India and the west, and earned a reputation as a bridge-builder between India and the West.
Radhakrishnan was awarded several high awards during his life, including the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India, in 1954, and honorary membership of the British Royal Order of Merit in 1963. Radhakrishnan believed that "teachers should be the best minds in the country". Since 1962, his birthday is celebrated in India as Teachers’ Day on 5 September.
When he became the President, some of his students and friends requested him to allow them to celebrate his birthday, 5 September. He replied,
"Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if 5 September is observed as Teachers’ Day."
His birthday has since been celebrated as Teachers’ Day in India
The idea of celebrating Teachers’ Day took ground independently in many countries during the 20th century; in most cases, they celebrate a local educator or an important milestone in education (for example, Argentina commemorates Domingo Faustino Sarmiento’s death on September 11 since 1915, while India celebrates Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan‘s birthday on September 5 since 1962 This is the primary reason why countries celebrate this day on different dates, unlike many other International Days.