A Tribute To Dr. Radhakrishnan

Ajit Singh Nagar
The American poet, Longfellow has well said,
“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime.
And departing leave behind us,
Foot prints on the sands of time.”
5th September is observed as Teacher’s day to pay our warmhearted tributes to our scholar and statesman of the country who rose from the humble and obscure beginning to the most prestigious position in the country and earned immortal popularity in the galaxy of world intellectuals by sheer strength of his industry, mental calibre and moral rectitude. This day provides an opportunity for self-examination, introspection and self -exploration to assess our standing, and the direction to channelize our energy for a noble cause. Real teachers are heaven -born and it is the most interesting , stupendous, and uphill task as it involves our mind[concentration and memory] , body, [physical labour in sitting and studying] and soul[ sensitivity and spirituality] IOur country has remained the cradle of cultures, civilizations and civility where great teachers, saints, savants and scholars, intellectual giants like Lord Buddha, Lord Mahavira , Guru Nanak and Kabir were born and disseminated the message of love , truth and non-violence.
Dr. Radhakrishnan, the priceless jewel of India was the son of Servepalli Veera Swamiji and Sitamma born on 5th. Sept. 1888 in a Telegu Smarta Brahman family of five boys and two girls at a small place Tiruttani in Chittor District of Madras Presidency forty miles in the north of modern Madras [Chennai]. His ancestors had migrated 150 years ago from the Andhara fishing village of Servepalli about 200miles in the north and the name of his village “servepalli” became his surname.
His wife was not an intellectual and he did not try to educate her.Dr sahib ‘s personal life is a good role model for others to emulate. He neither smoked nor tasted liquor in his life and lived on simple vegetarian food, loved solitude, music and books. He was tall and dark, largely muscular, eyes bright and aquiline nose, his hair turned grey and white soon. Due to the retirement of his father and grinding poverty, he gave private tuition and incurred debts to support his brothers and mother but did not beg at the cost of his integrity.
He distinguished himself as a very clear exponent and expositor of abstruse problems of philosophy and published the monumental Indian philosophy covering all schools of Indian philosophy and thought[1]Nayaya by Gautama[2] Sankhya by Kapila [3] Yoga by Patanjali [4]Vedanta by Ved vyas [5]Vaisekha by Kanada and [6] Mimansa by Jaimani. His lectures on the philosophy of Lord Buddha were adjudged as a lecture on the master mind by master mind. In 1940, he was the first Asian to achieve the distinction of being elected as the Fellow of the British Royal Society. In 1952, Dr. Radhakrishnan was destined to be the first vice president of the Indian union and occupied the prestigious office of the President of India during 1962-1967, and supplanted Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
Being a paragon of excellence and humility, the riches could neither swell him with pride nor the kaleiodoscopic changes of life shorn him of simplicity , serenity and magnanimity. He retired from public life in1967 after his completion of his tenure as the president and did not make his appearance in any public function after his official manumission. He devoted his time and energy to complete his literary works which included Indian philosophy in two volumes,[1923-1927] The philosophy of Upanishads [1924] an idealist view of life[1932]Eastern Religion and Western thought [1939] During his school days, his English teachers had offended him with their harsh criticism of the Indian Religion and disparaged the Indian society and Dr. Radhakrishnan always presented the eye-opening picture of the Indian society to remove the scales from the eyes of the biased western minds. During the evening days of his life Dr. Radhakrishnan lost his consciousness and breathed his lost on 16April 1975 in his house in Madras and he received The Templeton Award in Religion posthumously for his indispensable services and outstanding contribution in the field of religious studies.
The western scholars were deeply thrilled by his vast scholarship and clear exposition in fluent and flawless English. He solved many knotty problems in Indian philosophy and had the ability to arouse the heart, stimulate the head, enlighten the mind, rack the brain and mollify the conscience. He always made prayer to ask for understanding and tolerance. He aimed at character-making education that may turn animal existence into human excellence. Education is of two types, one teaches the art of living and the other how to make a living. Man has made much advancement in the field of science and has landed himself on the surfaces of the celestial bodies but he has to learn yet how to love on the Earth.
Education is the most sensitive, fragile and sacred thing that deserve to be handled with extra care and tenderness but it is being handled by the uneducated and greedy people who ruin its sensitivity and swell their pockets. Consequently many ills and evils have crept into the system as people of canine mentality and unmitigated greed play havoc that need to be purged to weed out the malpractices.
The workers should be appreciated and the nefarious elements and shirkers should not be spared. A fair selection should be made to sift cream from offal and truth from falsehood to reward the deserving people. Those who treat Education as a saleable commodity and open the big business houses to loot the gullible people in the name of education should be dealt sternly to purge the system of all corruption. Sometimes fair selection is not made and only sycophants, and shirkers who pitch their tents near the concerned headmasters, principals or Z.E.Os to stow their stomachs with sweets and delicacies win prizes, lift trophies and get the mementos and the sincere people suffer and curse their fate. Some black sheep a few in number have tarnished their image, sullied their reputation and desecrated the department by their wanton hands and silly actions. Otherwise Education Department is a paradise of great savants and scholars of impeccable integrity. The intelligent and devoted suffer while the ignorant, duds and dulls are garlanded. It is the education that has the power to change the complexion of the society.
(The author is a retired Principal)