sarvepalli radhakrishnan
English Essay


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We observe Teacher’s Day on 5th September every year. This is the birthday of S. Radhakrishnan. He was one of the greatest philosophers of India as well as of the whole world. He made as philosophy intelligible to the westerners through his Illuminating lectures and learned books. This in turn led to Indian philosophy being included for study in European and American Universities.

 S. Radhakrushnan

Radhakrushnan was born in Tirutani on September 5, 1888. He was the second son of a poor Brahmin couple. His father’s name was Sarvepalli Veeraswami and mother’s name was Sitamma. Radhakrushnan had his early schooling in Tirupati, and higher studies at the Lutheran Mission School in Tirupati. Both These places are famous pilgrim centres in South India. Then he joined voorhee’s College in Vellore 60 km from Chechen (Madras). At 17, he switched over to Madras Christian College. He chose philosophy and logic for his B.A. and M.A. studies, For his M.A. Examination, he wrote a thesis titled as “The Ethics of the Vedanta.” This was highly appreciated by the then professor of philosophy Dr. A.G. Hogg. That thesis was rated good enough to be published as a book. When the book was published under his name, he was only 20.

Radhakrishnan wanted to go to Oxford University for further studies. But financial hardship prevented him from going to foreign lands. After taking the M.A. degree with very high distinction Radhakrishnan started his teaching career as an Assistant lecturer at the Madras Presidency College in 1909. Then he read the classics of Indian thought- the Upanishads, Bhagvad Gita, the texts of Buddhism and Jain philosophies, as also the Brahmasutras thoroughly. Side by side he also specialized in western philosophies. His mastery of Photo, Plotinus, Kant, Bradley and Bergson was remarkable. He also read a lot of novels, dramas and poetry of Marxism, Existentialism and contemporary friends in poetry and art in his later years.

Steadily, a slim, bespectacled figure with a big head, broad forehead, aquiline nose, wearing a long, pale yellow coat, a white turban and spotless white flowing dhoti became familiar in the academic world.

In 1918, Radhakrishnan was selected professor of philosophy by the University of Mysore. Then he joined Calcutta University as the professor of philosophy being invited by Sri Asutosh Mukherjee. Later the also headed the Department of comparative  Religion at Oxford. In 1931 he was elected Vice Chancellor of the Andhra University. In 1939 he was requested to work as the Vice Chancellor of Banaras Hindi University to set right its problems.

Everyone thought that Radhakrishnan will remain a scholar upto the end of his life. But destiny had other designs. In 1949, Dr. Radhakrishnan was chosen India’s first envoy to the Soviet Union. Everybody thought that Nehru had committed a mistake. But to the surprise of all the Iron man Stalin was quietly charmed by the genial philosopher.

In the mean time, Radhakrishnan came across Gandhiji. They had friendly talk; over a lot of topics. Radhakrishnan had also relations with many other top Congress leaders. Everybody appreciated his talent and sincerity.


In 1952 Radhakrishnan become the Vice President of India. After two terms as Vice President, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was elected the second President of the Republic of India in 1962. He remained the President from 1962-1967 Dr. Zakir Hussein succeeded him as the next President.

Radhakrishnan was given Bharata Ratna for his outstanding service to the nation. He has written a lot of valuable books. His Indian philosophy is a classic. Besides that his, explanation on Geeta is also note-worthy. He never took rest until his death. He was given several awards of honour by a lot of countries. It is to note that he never ran after awards, awards ran after him. He died on 17th April, 1975.


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