Teachers’ Day is celebrated in India in the honour of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, born on 5th September 1888 in Tiruttani, Tamil Nadu. He was India’s 2nd president, 1st vice president, philosopher, politician, renowned scholar and Vice Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University. He was honoured with Knighthood in 1931, Bharat Ratna in 1954, and honorary membership of the British Royal Order of Merit in 1963.
Besides Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan there have been many great teachers in India, since the ancient times to the modern. Some of them are Chanakya, Savitribai Phule, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Rabindra Nath Tagore, and A.P.J Abdul Kalam.
Chanakya, also known as Kautilya or Vishnugupta, was a teacher who became the royal advisor in King Chandragupta’s court. His two famous books are Nitishastra (also called Chanakya Niti) and Arthashastra. He said, “Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats beauty and youth.”
Savitribai Phule is known as India’s first female teacher. She opened a school in 1848 where she enrolled untouchable girls of society. She confronted many challenges as many opposed her work but she didn’t stop and later she opened 5 more schools. To remember her contribution, University of Pune was renamed as Savitribai Phule Pune University. Her famous quote is, “The lack of learning is nothing but gross bestiality. It is through the acquisition of knowledge that a person loses the lower status and achieves the higher one.”
Madan Mohan Malaviya was an educationist and is remembered because he laid the infrastructure of the largest residential university in Asia, The Banaras Hindu University, and remained its chancellor for about two decades. His famous slogan is “Satyamev Jayate (Truth Always Triumphs)”.
Rabindra Nath Tagore, also known as Gurudev, is considered as the greatest teacher in Indian history. He emphasised on teaching physical activities and taught drama, climbing trees, plucking fruits and dancing at his school, Santiniketan.
APJ Abdul Kalam, our former president, also made a great contribution to education, besides teaching us many life lessons. He once said, “Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual. If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honour for me.”
Here are some quotes of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan:
“The end-product of education should be a free creative man, who can battle against historical and circumstances adversities of nature.”
“A life of joy and happiness is possible only on the basis of knowledge and science.”
The writer is a BSc student at Govt Degree College Sogam (Lolab), Kupwara. [email protected]