Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Shri Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan or Radhakrishnayya was born on 05.09.1888 at Tiruttani near Tirupati in a Telugu Brahman family. He did the study of Philosophy by default. Hailing from a poor family he had to depend on Scholarships for his studies throughout. He had to switch to the study of Philosophy because his cousin left for him his books on the subject.

Radhakrishnan at the age of 19 wrote a thesis titled, “The Ethics of the Vedanta and its Metaphysical Presuppositions” for his MA degree. It “was a reply to the charge that the Vedanta system had no room for ethics”. Shri Radhakrishnan said that The challenge of Christian critics impelled me to make a study of Hinduism and find out what is living and what is dead in it.

Andhra University

Shri Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan said like this, at the first Convocation address of the Andhra University in 1927, “We, the Andhras, are fortunately situated in some respects. I firmly believe that if any part of India is capable of developing an effective sense of unity it is in Andhra. The hold of conservatism is not strong. Our generosity of spirit and openness of mind are well -known. Our social instinct and suggestibility are still active. Our moral sense and sympathetic imagination are not much warped by dogma. Our women are relatively more free. Love of the mother-tongue binds us all.”


Mr Hawley commented on Radhakrishnan like this: ‘ Radhakrishnan’s concern for experience and his extensive knowledge of the Western philosophical and literary traditions has earned him the reputation of being a bridge-builder between India and the West. He often appears to feel at home in the Indian as well as the Western philosophical contexts, and draws from both Western and Indian sources throughout his writing. Because of this, Radhakrishnan has been held up in academic circles as a representative of Hinduism to the West. His lengthy writing career and his many published works have been influential in shaping the West’s understanding of Hinduism, India, and the East.

Radhakrishnan said like this, My pride as a Hindu, roused by the enterprise and eloquence of Swami Vivekananda, was deeply hurt by the treatment accorded to Hinduism in missionary institutions

Although Radhakrishnan was well-acquainted with western culture and philosophy, he was also critical of them. ​

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He taught at Madras Presidency College,  University of Mysore, University of Calcutta, Harris Manchester College, Oxford. And he was instrumental establishing Andhra University. (He worked with Kattamanchi Ramalinga reddy in this Endeavour. ). He was Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University from 1931 to 1936. ( First the University was started at Vijayawada, then shifted to Guntur and ultimately to Visakhapatnam ).

He stated that Western philosophers, despite all claims to objectivity, were influenced by theological influences of their own culture.


He represented the University of Calcutta at the Congress of the Universities of the British Empire in June 1926 and the International Congress of Philosophy at Harvard University in September 1926. Another important academic event during this period was the invitation to deliver the Hibbert Lecture on the ideals of life which he delivered at Harris Manchester College, Oxford in 1929 and which was subsequently published in book form as An Idealist View of Life. His other noted books are, The Reign of Religion in Contemporary Philosophy, which was published in 1920 and also The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore.

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He was also elected to the Constituent Assembly of India. Radhakrishnan represented India at UNESCO between 1946 – 52 and was later appointed as Ambassador of India to the Soviet Union, from 1949 to 1952. Then he was elected as the First Vice President of India in 1952.

President of India

Later Radhakrishnan was elected President of India in 1962. His date of Birth September 5th is celebrated as Teachers Day by India.