Teacher's Day History - Why Teacher's Day is Celebrated in India?

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Teacher's Day History

India has been celebrating Teacher's Day on 5th September, since 1962. The day commemorates the birthday of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakhrishnan, a philosopher and a teacher par excellence, and his contribution towards Indian education system. Dr Radhakhrishnan believed that "teachers should be the best minds in the country". On this day, we gratefully remember the great educationist, apart from honoring all the teachers that have made our life much more knowledgeable and fulfilled, as serving as our beacons of light. The birthday of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakhrishnan came to be celebrated as Teacher's Day when, one day, some of his students and friends requested him to allow them to celebrate his birthday. In reply, Dr. Radhakrishnan said, "instead of celebrating my birthday separately, it would be my proud privilege if September 5th is observed as Teacher's day". From then onwards, Dr. Radhakrishnan's birthday is observed as Teacher's Day all across India. Teachers' Day is very important for all the people in India, as the teachers act as foundation for creating responsible citizens and good human beings. It is impossible to imagine our lives without teachers. They are the cornerstone of our future. We can never thank our teachers enough for their immense contribution in our life. Teacher's Day is celebrated to show our acknowledgement and recognition of the hard work put in by our teachers towards our development. Schools all over India celebrate Teacher's Day by allowing the senior students to pose as teachers for a day. It is a fun-filled activity, which is enjoyed by both the acting teachers and their junior students. On this day, students bring gifts for their most admired teachers as well. It is an equally special day for teachers, as they get to know how much they are liked and appreciated by their students. Gifts to teachers include flowers, greeting cards and other items. Some students also write poems and messages for teachers. Students look forward to Teacher's Day with a lot of anticipation, for the sheer spirit of the occasion. Acting as teachers, they get a fair idea of the responsibility, so efficiently burdened by their teachers. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication to be a good teacher and earn the fondness of the students at the same time. Teachers, on this day, are reminded of their school days and feel nostalgic. All in all, it is celebration mode for everyone!

Why do Indians celebrate Dr Radhakrishnan’s birthday as Teachers’ Day?

Among all the professions in the world, teaching is undoubtedly the most influential. Due to the responsibility of molding young minds into tomorrow’s responsible citizens, we owe a debt of gratitude towards teachers. Hence almost every nation celebrates “Teachers’ Day” during which teachers are honored & their roles acknowledged. For example, USA celebrates Teachers’ Day in the first week of May, while the UK celebrates it on October 5th.

In India, we celebrate Teachers’ Day on the birth anniversary of Dr. Radhakrishnan (September 5th). But why did we choose his birthday and not that of any other leader? Legend says: “After Dr Radhakrishnan became the President of India, when a group of students wanted to celebrate his birthday as Radhakrishnan Jayanti, he humbly refused and instead suggested them to celebrate it as a day to honor teachers and that is how India has been celebrating Teachers’ Day on his birth anniversary (5th September).”
Although the above folklore would suffice as the reason as to why Dr Radhakrishnan’s birthday is celebrated as Teachers’ Day, it would be a great deal of injustice on the man if we do not read about his qualities & acknowledge this honor which he truly deserves.
By the 1960s, when India, to the surprise of its critics, had established itself as the world’s largest democracy, the need for a platform to honor teachers arose naturally. Dr Radhakrishnan was one of the most influential thinkers of Modern India who had realized the importance of teachers in national development and highlighted it in most of his works. The following excerpt from the book “Political Thinkers of Modern India” depicts how he linked the success of a democracy with the quality of education & teachers.

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Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Biography

In addition to being a thinker, he was a philosopher as well, renowned for his contribution towards Indian Philosophy. The following excerpt related to his book on Bhagavad Gita depicts how he intended to define an ideal teacher i.e As one who emphasizes on presentation to converge different currents of thoughts to the same end.

By the time Dr Radhakrishnan entered politics, he was already respected worldwide as a visionary & statesman, due to which national leaders like Nehru, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Patel & others held him in very high regard and sought his advice on issues relating to ethics, morality. In a way, he had become a mentor (teacher) in politics as well. He had the political acumen to identify national obstacles well in advance and had the courage to rebuke parties & leaders for their inaction & misconduct. For example, he had already realized the consequences of corruption & nepotism back in 1947 itself and strongly warned Congress party to set it right before it would be too late.
Thanks for visiting TeachersDaySpecial.com to know about the history behind the cebrations of Teacher's Day.