Teachers have always had a great influence on the lives of their students. They have often been referred to as ‘beacons of light,’ as they guide us in the formative years of our life. They are instrumental in moulding us and shaping our future.
Teachers’ Day is a day, that students look forward to all over the world. This day is celebrated on different dates in various parts of the world.
World Teachers’ Day
World Teachers’ Day is celebrated on the 5th of October in different parts of the world. In India we celebrate Teachers’ Day on the 5th of September every year.
Teachers’ Day is a day when we pay tribute to our teachers. It is a day to honour, thank and show our appreciation to all our teachers, who have contributed to and influenced our lives in some way or the other.
Teachers’ Day is celebrated in different ways across the globe. On this day, in our country, the Indian Government gives away prizes to some teachers who have done wonderful work in the past year.
Children bring flowers for their teachers, showing their love and respect. In many schools in India, the children dress up and enact their teachers. The teachers are given a break from their daily teaching routine and they enjoy the celebrations.
Teachers’ Day in India
The 5th of September, holds great significance amongst Indian students. It is the birthday of our second President, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who was a great teacher, philosopher, guide and statesman.
Looking back, in ancient times, boys went to live with their teachers, in order to receive education. They lived with their teachers, whom they referred to as ‘gurus,’ till their education was complete. In return for the knowledge imparted, the ‘guru’ on completion of his student’s education would ask for anything he desired from the student as his fee, then known as ‘gurudakshina.’ The students held their ‘guru’ in great reverence. This kind of school was called ‘gurukul.’ It was mainly the boys who received education; the girls were kept away from studies and were taught household work.
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was one of the greatest teachers in India. It is because of him that teachers are given importance and this special day became a day of celebration.
Let us take a look into the life of this great personality.
Dr. Radhakrishnan was born on the 5th of September 1888, in the small town of Tiruttani in Chennai. He was born to a family that lived through very hard times; they were unable to meet their basic needs for survival.
As a child, Dr. Radhakrishnan loved books. Although he was a shy boy, he was a very intelligent student.
It is said that his father wanted him to become a priest, but his interest in studies and his good performance in academics, enabled him to continue with his studies. He also chose to study philosophy instead of the subject of his choice because the books on philosophy were made available to him by his cousin and hence he did not have to spend money on buying the books. Dr Radhakrishnan studied philosophy and decided to excel in whatever was destined for him.
He was good in academics and was able to pursue his studies due to the various scholarships he received.
After his schooling years, he joined the Christian College in Chennai, where he studied philosophy and later became a well – known philosopher.
He even went on to teach philosophy at the Madras University. He was an excellent teacher and was loved by his students dearly. Students came from different colleges in order to attend his lectures.
He taught in Mysore and also at the famous Oxford University in England.
He wrote many books during his teaching years. His books enabled people understand Indian philosophy and made him famous world over.
First Vice-President of Independent India
In fact after Independence, Dr Radhakrishnan became the first Vice-President of Independent India. He was asked to make a plan for the Universities of India. One of his suggestions was that India has many religions and he felt it was important for all students to learn and understand the different religions in schools and colleges.
His students loved him dearly and wanted to celebrate his birthday, he told his students that instead of celebrating his birthday separately, he would feel happier if this day was chosen as Teachers’ Day all over the country. We thus started celebrating Teachers’ Day on the 5th of September every year, all over the country.
Dr. Radhakrishnan wrote many books, his book ‘Indian Philosophy’ became famous world over. His contributions have been in the form of numerous articles to different well–known journals which have been of immense value to the readers. His works are on philosophical, theological, ethical, educational, social and cultural subjects.
He was instrumental in building a bridge between the East and the West, by showing how the philosophical systems of each tradition worked and making a comparative study on the various religions.
His first book was ‘The Ethics of the Vedanta and its Material Presupposition,’ which was his thesis for the Madras University degree exam and was published in 1908. This at once established his fame as a great philosopher.
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was awarded the Bharat Ratna in the year 1954.
Dr. Radhakrishnan has always been looked upon as an excellent and dedicated teacher, philosopher, writer, guide and statesman who has been instrumental in shaping the lives of his students. He is respected all over the world.
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