Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Philosopher, educationist, diplomat who recently
retired as the head of the world's largest democracy - the world is familiar
with Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan as a symbol of resurgent India. His has been
among the commanding voices - a voice that admonishes, that warns, that
soothes. Pronouncing anathema on a society, which is acquisitive in its nature,
unhealthy in its pleasures, disillusioned in its ideals, he enunciated the
transcendental idealism of his faith thus: "Not justice, but love -
spontaneous, uncalculating - is the deepest fact of the universe." Born on
5th September, 1888, at Tiruttani near Madras, Dr. Radhakrishnan was educated
at Tirupati, Vellore and Madras. From the very beginning of his academic career,
he shows signs of exceptional brilliance and deep discernment. He started his
career as an Assistance Professor of Philosophy in Presidency College, Madras;
later he was appointed University Professor at Mysore and then at Calcutta.
He subsequently proceeded to England and America.
His lectures on "an idealist View of Life" to large audience at the
Universities of London and Manchester were hailed as a great event in the
country. His deep erudiction, brilliant exposition and mastery of Eastern and
Western thought combined with his scintillating powers of speech left a lasting
impression. Although honour after honour was showered upon him, he never lost
his two cardinal qualities - serenity and sweetness.
He served as the Vice-Chancellor of the
Andhra and Banaras Hindu Universities. In 1936 he had the unique distinction of
being appointed Spalding Professor of Eastern religions and Ethics at Oxford
University. This was followed by his election as Fellow of the British Academy.
In 1948, he was appointed Chairman of the University Education Commission, and
in 1952 he was unanimously elected President of the General Conference of
UNESCO. In 1954, the Government of India conferred on him the highest title of
Bharat-Ratna. From 1949 to 1952, Dr. Radhakrishnan served as India's ambassador
to the Soviet Union with remarkable success.
His uncontested election in 1952 as the Vice
President of the newly born Republic of India amply demonstrated the high
esteem in which he was held throughout the country. This was a prelude to his
election as the President of India on 13th May, 1962. As the head of State, Dr.
Radhakrishnan brought unique distinction to his high office. The Daily
Telegraph of London paid a remarkable tribute to him on June, 1963 on the
occasion of his visit to Landon: "No living head of State in the world
approaches his intellectual distinction. In his writings he has been the
outstanding interpreter to the west, of the thoughts of the East concerning the
ultimate mystery of man.
That such a man should have been elevated by a
great people to the first place in its policy, rather than one immersed in the
controversies of politics, is remarkable evidence that India SES society, of
which the President is the supreme representative, as something greater than,
and including, the state," Thus, we find in a country contemporaneously
swayed by the spiritual splendor of Sri Aurobindo, the intellectual effulgence
of Rabindranath Tagore, the moral grandeur of Mahatma Gandhi and the political
dynamism of Jawaharlal Nehru, Radhakrishnan emerging as a great cultural
ambassador in his own right.
The contributions of Dr. Radhakrishnan
whether as an academician, or as a diplomat, or as a philosopher, have been
unique. But whatever the evocations, his activities have always centered round
the values of Truth, Beauty and Goodness. Whether it was Montevideo, India or
Paris, his voice was always raised in defense of the rights of man and the
vindication of the principles, which alone can assure peace. By speech and
conducts, he sought to uphold those ideals, which alone give grace and dignity
to human life.
The following advice, which he gave to the alumni
of the University at Banaras, epitomises his desire for a new social order,
which alone can ensure material cotenment and healthy growth: "Wherever
man love reason, shun darkness, turn over towards light, praise virtue, despise
meanness, hate vulgarity, kindle sheer beauty, wherever minds are sensitive,
hearts generous, spirits free, there is your country." To honour this
great son of India, the Posts and Telegraphs Department feels greatly
privileged in bringing out a special stamp on the occasion of his birth
anniversary on 5th September, 1967. With Shri Jawaharlal Nehru and Shrimati
Indira Gandhi, on his birthday, September 5, 1962.