Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, one of the distinguished academician and Statesman, who held various high portfolios, occupied the distinguished position of Indian President. During his Presidential tenure, it is said that some students’ approached him seeking his permission to celebrate his Birth Day (September 5); to this his response was that he would be very happy if his Birth Day was observed as Teacher’s Day, his well admired profession! As a result, as per his wish, his Birth Day is greatly marked across India as Teacher’s Day over the years.
There is a close relationship in my personal life with this Teacher’s Day, since childhood; as both my parents were well into this profession, etc. And, moreover, I too well remembered even today how the personality of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was presented on the eve of Teacher’s Day on various platforms, either in news papers or at school by reading out his academic excellence in Indian Philosophy, etc. The presentation of his life sketch, especially his academic excellence used to strike me a lot and made to ponder over about his great academic excellence!! But, when I went to college and started to get exposed to Dr B R Ambedkar’s academic excellence, especially towards (anti) Hindu religious Philosophy, etc, again I encountered two great personalities; in divergent ways, who were contemporaries. Slowly, I used to exclaim myself; why Dr B R Ambedkar was not presented as a great academician/scholar and why only Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was exposed as an extraordinary intellectual? Then, somehow, I started to resolve myself, that I should study both these two academicians’ views on Religion, especially in relation to Hinduism. So far in this direction, I’ve been successful in getting exposed towards Dr B R Ambedkar’s literature on Hinduism, etc. But, even though acquired a few copies of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s academic work, especially on ‘Indian Philosophy’ volume I & II, unable to read them so far due to various factors, like as these two volumes are written in well academic philosophical language, etc. But, certainly, I wish at some point of time in my life, hopefully, after completion of my Doctorate or so, I would be able to read Dr Sarvepalli’s works on Hindu Religion too.
Recently, for the past few years, especially after association with University of Hyderabad, where the presence of Dalit-Bahujan Student organizations are in considerable strength, I’ve been observing increasing denounce of Teacher’s Day Celebration on September 5, the Birth Day of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. The Dalit/Bahujan Student organizations have been arguing that instead of marking Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s Birth Day as Teacher’s Day, the Birth Day of Savitri Bai Phule should be marked as Teacher’s Day, who was regarded as the First Women/subaltern Teacher in India. As Brahmins never imparted education to others, especially to the subaltern, Savitri Bai Phule and her husband Jyotiba Phule were instrumental in taking a revolutionary step to educate the subaltern sections. With the increasing assertion of subaltern politics, especially Bahujan Samaj party’s style of Anti Brahmin/anti Hindutva style the subaltern sections like at University of Hyderabad (taking inspiration from Ambedkar-Phule ideological legacy and BSP political assertion style, etc) are getting much more determined to break the challenge of Brahminism in Indian public sphere. But, they are yet to march a long direction in this respect. Meanwhile, we have to observe how the Indian political discourse will take its own course, especially in relation to Brahminism/Hindutva hegemonic wishes to perpetuate further in the public sphere and anti Brahman/anti Hindutva forces on the other hand to break the Brahmin hegemony.