Thank you for being my child’s second parent and a fantastic mentor. From giving us a purpose to setting us up as successful citizens of the world, teachers inspire in us a drive to do well and succeed in life and to recognise this hard work of our mentors and gurus, Teachers Day or Shikshak Divas is celebrated in India with great pomp and show. World Teachers’ Day is celebrated on October 5, but every country celebrates the day on different dates.
In India, Teachers’ Day is celebrated annually on September 5 to mark the birthday of the country’s former President, scholar, philosopher and Bharat Ratna awardee, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who was born on this day in 1888.
In India, it is marked on the birthday of Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan who was the first Vice President of India (1952–1962) and also a highly-respected teacher, philosopher and prolific statesman. Dr Radhakrishnan went on to become the second President of India (1962-1967) and was of the opinion that “teachers should be the best minds in the country.”
Radhakrishnan was awarded several high awards during his life, including a knighthood in 1931, the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India, in 1954, and honorary membership of the British Royal Order of Merit in 1963. He was also one of the founders of Helpage India, a non profit organisation for elderly underprivileged in India.
Radhakrishnan believed that “teachers should be the best minds in the country”. Since 1962, his birthday has been celebrated in India as Teachers’ Day on 5 September every year.
When Dr Radhakrishan took the office of the second President of India in 1962, his students approached him to seek permission to celebrate September 5 as a special day. Dr Radhakrishnan instead made a request of them to observe September 5 as Teachers’ Day, to recognise the contribution of teachers to the society.
Ever since then, September 5 is celebrated as Teacher’s Day across schools, colleges, universities and educational institutions. Students put on performances, dances and host elaborate shows for their most-loved teachers.
For school students, the day means getting roses, chocolates, gifts including handmade cards to profess their affection for their favourite teachers. For senior students, Teacher’s Day is one of role reversal and celebration.