Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was the great educationalist who became the President of India.
Radhakrishnan was born in a poor
brahmin family in Tirutani (in Tamil Nadu) on September 5, 1888. Though poor, he breezed through most of his studies on scholarships. Radhakrishnan completed his MA thesis when he was only 20. He taught in various colleges and universities of merit. He contributed to several reputed journals like The Quest, Journal of Philosophy and the International Journal of Ethics. He wrote scholarly works like The Philosophy of
Rabindranath Tagore, 'The Reign of Religion in Contemporary Philosophy and Indian Philosophy. He served as the vice-chancellor of various universities. Radhakrishnan lectured at universities of acclaim like the Oxford University. He used his lectures to assist India's cause for freedom. Radhakrishnan was appointed the chairman of University Education Commission in 1948. The Radhakrishnan Committee's suggestions helped shape the education system as per India's needs.
In 1949, Dr Radhakrishnan was appointed ambassador to the Soviet Union. During his tenure as ambassador, he made a considerable impression on the Soviet leader Stalin, establishing a strong relationship between India and the Soviet Union. Radhakrishnan was elected Vice-President of India in 1952. He was honored with the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of the Indian Government, in 1954. After serving two terms as Vice-President, Radhakrishnan was elected President of India in 1962. Radhakrishnan's tenure as President saw major events like the disastrous Indo-China war of 1962, Jawaharlal Nehru's death in 1964 and India's victory over Pakistan in 1965. Dr Radhakrishnan died on April 17, 1975.