It was a fitting and rather a glowing tribute to an outstanding educationist and a profound scholar of philosophy, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan when he was unanimously elected as the second President of the Indian Republic on the expiry of the second term of Dr. Rajendra Prasad as President. He had established himself as a popular and worthy teacher of Indian Philosophy at several universities. He won international recognition for his profound scholarship. And to top it all, he was one of the most illustrious sons of the country and contributed a lot for her welfare in his own specific way.
Dr. Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888 in a village in Andhra Pradesh. He received his education at Velore and Madras. He finished university education in 1909 and joined the Provincial Educational Service (P.E.S.) He started as a lecturer and within a short span of seven years he was promoted to the post of a professor. His popularity as a teacher among his students is clearly borne out by an incident. He was leaving Madras University to join Calcutta University as a professor. A horse-driven carriage was ready to take him to the station to catch a train. A number of his students were there to see him off. They disengaged the horses from the carriage, pulled his carriage and took him all the way to the station. Under the ‘Extension Lecture Series’ programme , he went to deliver lectures in leading foreign universities like Oxford, Chicago, etc. After coming back from the foreign lecture-tour, he served as Vice-Chancellor of the Andhra University and then of Benaras Hindu University. Then he represented India at the UNISCO,
Dr. Radhakrishnan was a man of academic pursuit it but, after independence, he was given political assignments. In I 949, he was sent to the U .S.S.R. as ambassador of India. He discharged his ambassadorial functions so creditably that he became the first foreign diplomat in that communist country to have been called twice by Marshal Stalin for interview.
Dr. Radhakrishnan was one of the greatest exponents of Indian Philosophy and his masterful views are worth reading in the two volumes of his published work ‘Indian Philosophy’. He was also a great scholar of Western Philosophy. In fact, today he is ranked among the great philosophers of the world. He was also a good orator and could influence the educated audiences. He was a thinker, a writer, and a teacher who believed in simple living and high thinking. He always wore his typical turban which became the embodiment of wisdom for his countrymen.
Dr. Radhakrishnan’s unanimous election to the highest office of the country was really a recognition of his scholarship, his ability, his services to the country and admirable qualities of his head and heart.
He also proved to be a forging link between the South and the North. But unfortunately he did not agree to continue as the President of the country for a second term of five years. Thus, he established the healthy tradition that nobody should hold this office for more than one term. His eye-sight also became weak and he had to undergo an eye- operation. His failing health did not allow him to survive very long. His death created a void which can never be filled.
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