Why is Teachers' Day Celebrated On every 5th September in India?
- 05 Sep, 2023
Each year, Teachers' Day is celebrated on September 5 in India. This day is a tribute to educators for their vital role in shaping students' lives.
Teachers' Day in India is marked in honour of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who was born on September 5, 1888. Dr Radhakrishnan was India's first vice president and second president. He was a great scholar, philosopher and Bharat Ratna recipient. Dr. Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888.
Since 1962 - the year Dr Radhakrishnan became president of India- the country has commemorated his birth anniversary by paying tribute to its teachers and gurus on this day.
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was one of India's most distinguished scholars of the twentieth century in the fields of comparative religion and philosophy. He held teaching positions at various institutions in India and internationally, he taught at Chennai's Presidency College and Calcutta University. He served as Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University from 1931 to 1936. In 1936, Dr Radhakrishnan was invited to fill the Chair of Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at Oxford which he retained for 16 years.
His philosophical foundation was rooted in Advaita Vedanta, which he reinterpreted for contemporary comprehension. He staunchly defended Hinduism against uninformed Western criticism, contributing significantly to the contemporary understanding and identity of Hinduism. Radhakrishnan was also recognised as a bridge-builder between India and the Western world.
It was in 1962 when Dr Radhakrishnan became the President of India that his birthday came to be observed as Teachers' Day. Dr Radhakrishnan had said that 'Teachers should be the best minds in the country' and 'A literary genius, it is said, resembles all, though no one resembles him'.
Radhakrishnan's reinterpretation extended to the concept of 'Maya' in Indian philosophy, particularly Adi Shankaracharya's notion. According to Radhakrishnan, 'Maya' is not a strict absolute idealism but rather a subjective misperception of the world as ultimately real.
Dr. Radhakrishnan was not only a philosopher but also a humanitarian. He played a pivotal role in founding Helpage India, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the welfare of underprivileged elderly individuals in India.
Now, why is Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan's birthday celebrated as Teachers' Day? Dr. Radhakrishnan believed that "teachers should be the best minds in the country." During his presidency (1962–1967), some of his students and friends requested permission to celebrate his birthday on September 5. In response, he humbly said, "Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if September 5th is observed as Teachers' Day." Since then, his birthday has been commemorated as Teachers' Day in India.
On this day, students organise special programs at schools and colleges to express their respect and appreciation for their teachers. In some schools, senior students take on the responsibility of teaching junior classes to demonstrate their gratitude towards their educators.