India Matters – Teacher’s Day

This section addresses relevant issues and facts about different parts of India through the 6Ws and 1H question answer format.

Teacher’s Day:

Why do we celebrate Teachers’ Day?
How did this date come to be chosen?
What were Dr. Radhakrishnan’s contributions towards education in India?
Where was Dr. Radhakrishnan born?
Who are some of the famous teachers of India?
Which other day is set apart to revere teachers in the Indian tradition?
When is Teachers’ Day celebrated in other countries?
Why do we celebrate Teachers’ Day?
Education has always been highly valued in India. Teachers are therefore highly respected as the one’s who remove ignorance and show us a higher path. We set apart a day specially to honour them and remember their contribution to society. The date chosen for this purpose is September 5, the birth anniversary of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
How did this date come to be chosen?
Dr. Radhakrishnan, who was a thinker and teacher, was also the second President of India. When he took over this high office in 1962, some of his students wanted to celebrate his birthday as ‘Radhakrishnan Day’. He said, “Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if September 5 is observed as Teachers’ Day.”
What were Dr. Radhakrishnan’s contributions towards education in India?
Though he held many high posts during his lifetime, teaching was Dr. Radhakrishnan’s passion. He felt education was the right tool to bring about social, economic and cultural change. He taught at the Universities of Mysore and Calcutta, and also at Oxford. He was Vice-Chancellor of the Andhra University and Banaras Hindu University. He made a great impact on his students. In 1948, he became Chairman of the University Education Commission set up to suggest how University education could be improved.
Where was Dr. Radhakrishnan born?
Dr. S Radhakrishnan was born into a Telugu Brahmin family in Tiruttani, Tamil Nadu.
Who are some of the famous teachers of India?
  • The Mahabharata talks of the great Dronacharya, the teacher of the Kaurava and Pandava princes.
  • History tells us of Chanakya, a great scholar and professor at the ancient University of Takshila, who later became an advisor to kings.
  • Rabindranath Tagore set up Shantiniketan, a school that re-introduced the Gurukul system of learning, in order to make education more relevant to India.
  • Savitribai Phule opened the first Indian-run school for disadvantaged girls.
  • Swami Vivekananda emphasized the importance of holistic education for improving body, mind and soul.
  • Like Dr. Radhakrishnan, the late Dr. A.P.J Adul Kalam, also a former President of India, wanted to be remembered as a teacher, rather than for any of his other important roles.
Which other day is set apart to revere teachers in the Indian tradition?
Guru Poornima is a festival celebrated to honour the enlightened masters who guide us spiritually. It is celebrated on the full-moon day of the month of Ashad in the Indian calendar, falling in June-July.
When is Teachers’ Day celebrated in other countries?
Many countries celebrate Teachers’ Day. The date may differ though. World Teachers’ Day falls on October 5. China honours its great philosopher Confucius by celebrating it on his birthday, August 27. Thailand, Iran and Malaysia celebrate it on January 16, May 2 and May 16 respectively.
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