|| आचार्य देवो भव ||
In Shukla Yajurveda, there is Taittiriya Upanishad. This Upanishad is further divided into three parts, namely, Shiksha Valli, which is the first of six Vedangas. It is the science of Phonetics and Pronunciation. The second is the Brahmananda Valli and the third is Bhrugu Valli. The Second and Third deal with the Knowledge of the Supreme Self.
In 11th Anuvak (Chapter), when the student use to depart from Aashram, for their homes, after completing their learning (Education), the Guru (Teacher) use to advise him,
“वेदमनूच्याssचाऱ्योsन्तेवासिनमनुशास्ति | सत्यं वद | धर्मनचर | स्वाध्यायनमा प्रमद: | आचार्ययं प्रियं धन माहऱ्यूत्य प्रजातंतुम माव्यवतछेतसी: | सत्यान प्रम्दितव्यम् | धर्मानन्न प्रमदितव्यम् | कुशलानन्न प्रमदितव्यम् | भूतयाईए न प्रमदितव्यम् | स्वाध्यायप्रवचनाभ्याम् न प्रमदितव्यम् || १ ||
Speak Truth. Perform Dharma. Swerve not from the study of the Scriptures. Having gathered for the teacher the wealth he desires, thou (you) shouldst never cut the thread of progeny. Never swerve away from truth. Swerve not from Dharma. From the beneficial let thee not deviate; and deviate not from prosperity. Let thee not stray away also form the study and teaching of the Vedas. (TTU-1.11.1)”
“देवपितृकार्याभ्याम् न प्रमदितव्यम् | मातृदेवो भव | पितृ देवो भव | आचार्यदेवो भव | अतिथिदेवो भव | यान्यनवद्यानि कर्माणि | तानि सेवितव्यानि | नो इतराणि | यान्यस्माकं सुचरितानि | तानि त्वयोपास्यानि | नो इतराणि || (TTU-1.11.2)
Never swerve from the rites due to Gods and to the manes. Let thy Mother be to thee a God; let thy Father be unto thee, a God let thy Teacher be unto thee, and (so also) let thy guest be unto thee a God. Let only those works be done by thee that are free from blemishes, and not others. Only those deeds of ours should be followed by thee, that are good and not others.”
It is about the knowledge pertaining to the manifested universe. The concluding section of the first chapter provides some practical tips for the application of knowledge for productive involvement in this world. Knowledge bears fruit, when it is applied. Education becomes meaningful only when the educated is able to apply the principles learned to practical life.
अधिविद्याम: आचार्य पूर्वरूपं, अंतेवस्या उत्तररूपं, विद्या संधीह, प्रवाकणस संधानाम इति अधिविद्याम |
The Teacher is the prior form, the pupil (Student) is the later form, Knowledge is their junction, instruction is the connection. Thus, with regard to knowledge. Maharshi Patanjali in his Mahabhashya, says, there are four steps or stages through which knowledge becomes fruitful. The first is when we acquire it from the teacher, the second when we study it, the third when we teach it to others and the fourth when we apply it. Real knowledge arises only when these four stages are fulfilled. [Taitariya Upnishad:1.3.3]
A role of a teacher in the life of a student is very crucial form the very beginning, even form a stage of ‘Day Care’. The initial growing years in a child’s life are the most important, as they lay foundation for developing child’s nature, personality and the ‘Individual self’. The Art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery. In today’s fast changing world, the whole concept of education, teacher and student is undergoing rapid change. Actually speaking, there is no longer the teacher and the taught. Everything is relation, understanding, dialogue and discovery and these are necessary for learning. We are learners in this great journey of life, learning has become a partnership between parents, community, school and educator. There are three unique in education. Those are, Faith, Hope and Love. Hereafter, we shall look at five all time great teachers, beyond normal definition of a “Teacher”.
Five Great Teachers of India
(03-01-1831 to 10-03-1897)
Kranti Jyoti Savitribai Jyotiba Fule was the Indian Social reformer, educationist, and poet from Maharashtra. She is regarded as the First Female Teacher of India. Along with her husband, Mahatma Jyotiba Fule, she played an important role in the improving the women’s rights in India. She is also recognized as the Mother of Indian Feminism. She found one the first Indian Girls’ School in Pune at Bhide Wada in 1848. She, relentlessly, worked to abolish the discrimination and unfair treatment of people based on caste and gender. She was a prolific Marathi writer.
She was born on January 3, 1831 in the village Naigaon in Satara District of Maharashtra. Her village was about five kilometers from Shivral and about 50 kilometers form the city of Pune. She was the eldest daughter of Lakshmi and Khandoji Nevase Patil. They belonged to Mali Community. Savitribaii and Jyotiba had no children of their own. They had adopted Yahswantrao, a son born to Brahmin widow. However, there is no evidence for this.
At the time of marriage, Saavitribaiee Phule had no education. Jyotirao Phule turned him and his wife, Savitribaiee out of the house when he refused to give up the idea of starting school in association with the American missionary’s female school in Ahmednagar. According to government records, Jyotirao educated Savitribaiee at their home. After completing her primary education with Jyotirao, her further education’s responsibility was taken by his friends, Sakharam Yeshwant Paranjpe and Keshav Shivram Bhavalkar. She also enrolled in two teacher’s training programs. The first was at institution, run by an American missionary, Cynthia Farrar, in Ahmednagar. The second course was at a Normal School in Pune. Savitribaii Phule must be the first Indian Woman Teacher and Headmistress too.
After completing her teacher’s education, Savitribai Phule started teaching girls at the Maharwada in Pune. She did so alongside Sagunabai, who was a revolutionary feminist, as well as a mentor to Jyotirao. Not long after beginning to teach with Sagunabai, Savitribai and Jyotirao Phule along with Sagunabai started their own school at Bhide Wada. Bhide Wada was the home of Tatya Saheb Bhide, who was inspired by the work mahatma Jyotiba Phume, Savitribaiee Phule and Sagunabaiee were doing. The curriculum at Bhide Wada included traditional western curriculum of mathematics, science, and social studies. Savitribai and Jyotirao Phule were running three different schools for girls in Pune by the end of 1851, Combined, the three schools had approximately one hundred and fifty students enrolled. The teaching methods employed by the three schools differed from those used in government schools. The author, Divya Kandukuri believes that the Phule methods were superior than government schools. As a result of this reputation, the number of girls receiving their education at the Phule’s schools outnumbered the number of boys enrolled in government schools. Unfortunately, Savitribai and Jyotirao Phule’s success came with much resistance from the local community with conservative views. Kandukuri states that Savitribai often travelled to her school carrying an extra sari, because she would be assailed by her conservative opposition with stones, dung, and verbal abuse.
The Phules faced such strong opposition because of the marginalized caste to which they belonged. The Sudra community had been denied education for thousands of years. For this reason, many Shudra / Brahmins began to oppose Jyotirao and Savitribai’s work and labeled it as “evil”. This uproar was always instigated by the upper castes. Savitribai and Jyotirao Phule were living at Jyotirao’s father’s home till 1849. However, in 1849, Jyotirao’s father, asked the couple to leave his home, because their work was considered a sin in the Brahmanical texts.
After moving out of Jyotirao’s father’s home, the Phule’s moved in with the family of one of Jyotirao’s friends, Usman Sheikh. It was there that Savitribai met a soon to be close friend and colleague named Fatima Begum Sheikh. According to Nasreen Sayyed, a leading scholar on Sheikh, “Fatima Sheikh knew how to read and write already, her brother Usman, who was a friend of Jyotiba, had encouraged Fatima to take up the teacher training course. She went along with Savitribai to the Normal School and they both graduated together. She was the First Muslim Woman Teacher of India. Fatima and Savitribai opened a school in Sheikh’s home in 1849. In the 1850s, Savitribai and Jyotirao Phule established two educational trusts. They were The Native Female School, Pune’ and ‘The Society for Promoting the Education of Mahars, Mangs, and Etceteras’. These two trusts ended covering many schools, which were led by Savitribai Phule and later, by Fatima Sheikh. Mahatma Jyotiba summarizes Savitribai and his work in an interview given by him, to the Christian missionary periodical, Dnyanodaya, on 15 September 1853, saying, “it did occur to me that the improvement that comes about in a child due to the mother is very important and good. So, who are concerned with the happiness and welfare of this country, should pay attention to the condition of women and make every effort to impart knowledge to them; which will lead the country to progress and with this thought, I started the school for Career girls, first. But my caste brethren did not like that I was educating girls and my own father threw us out of the house. Nobody was ready to give space for the school nor did we have money to build it. People were not willing to send their children to school but Lahuji Ragh Raut Mang and Ranba Mahar convinced their caste brethren about the benefits of getting educated. Together with her husband Savitribaiee taught children from different castes and opened a total of 18 schools. The couple also opened a care center called Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha (literally, “Child-killing Prohibition Home”) for pregnant rape victims and helped deliver and save their children.
Savitribai and her adopted son, Yashwant, opened a clinic to treat those affected by the worldwide Third Pandemic of the Bubonic Plague, when it appeared in the area around Nalasopara in 1897. The clinic was established at stern outskirts of Pune, in an area free of infection. Savitribai died a heroic death, trying to save the son of Pandurang Babaji Gaekwad. Upon learning that Gaekwad’s son had contracted the Plague in the Mahar settlement outside of Mundhwa, Savitribai Phule rushed to his side and carried him on her back to the hospital. In the process, Savitribai Phule caught the Plague and died at 9:00 pm on the 10th of March, 1897. Savitribai Phule was also a prolific author and poet. She published “Kavya Phule” in 1854 and “Bavan Kashi Subodh Ratnakar” in 1892. Also, a poem entitled “Go, Get Education”, in which she encouraged those who are oppressed to free themselves by obtaining an education. She established the Mahila Seva Mandal to raise awareness for issues concerning women’s rights. She opened a women’s shelter called the “Home for the Prevention of Infanticide”, where Brahmin widows could safely deliver their children and leave them there to be adopted, if they so desired. She also campaigned against child marriage and was an advocate of widow re-marriage. Savitribai and Mahatma Jyotiba had strongly opposed ‘Sati-Pratha’. They started a home for widows and abandoned children. In a letter to Jyotiba, Savitribai told a story of a boy about to be lynched by his fellow villagers, for having relations with a woman of lower caste. She wrote, “I came to know about their murderous plan. I rushed to the spot and scared them away, pointing out the grave consequences of killing the lovers under the British law. They changed their mind after listening to me”.
The Municipal Corporation of Pune City has created a memorial for her in 1983. In 2015, the University of Pune was renamed as Savitribai Phule Pune University in her honor. On 10 March 1998, a Postal Stamp was released by India Post, in her. On 3 January 2017, the search engine
Google marked the 188th anniversary of the birth of Savitribai Phule with a Google doodle.
(07-05-1861 to 07-08-1941)
Gurudeo Rabindranath Tagore was born on 7th May 1861. He was Bengali. He was a poet, writer, composer, philosopher and painter. He reshaped Bengali literature and music as well as Indian Art. His world-renowned poetic epitome, “Gitanjali” made him First Non-European as well as First Lyricist to win the Noel Prize in Literature in 1913. Gurudeo’s poetic songs are spiritual and mercurial, but his beautiful prose and magical poems remained mostly unknown outside the Bengal.
He was a Bengali Brahmin form Calcutta (Now Kolkata) had ancestral gentry foots in Burdwan district. He first wrote at the age of eighteen years. At the age of sixteen, he released his first substantial anthology of poems, with a nickname,’Bhausimha’ (Sun Lion).
He denounced the British raj and strongly advocated for the independence form British. He founded a legendary institution called ‘Vishwa Bharati University.
‘Jan Gan Man’, our National anthem was written by Gurudeo Rabindranath Tagore. His song ‘Amar Shonar Bangla’ was adopted as a National Anthem by Bangla Desh. His original family name was ‘Kushari’. They were Rahri Brahmins and originally hailed from a village ‘Kush’ in the district of Burdwan in West Bengal.
He was youngest of 13 surviving children. He father was Debendranath Tagore and mother’s name was Sarada Devi. His mother died in his early childhood and his father travelled widely. The Tagore family was at forefront of the Bengal renaissance. They hold the publication of literary magazines, theatre and recitals of Bengali and Western Classical music regularly. His father had invited several Dhrupad singers to stay in the house and teach Indian classical music to his children.
In 1901, Gurudeo Tagore moved to Shanti Niketan, to found an ashram with a marble-floored prayer hall, The Mandir, an experimental school, groves of trees, gardens, a library. His wife and two children died in Shanti Niketan. His father died in 1905. He received monthly payments. as part of his inheritance and income from the Maharaja of Tripura.
He was awarded a Knighthood by King George V, in the 1915, Birthday Honors, but Tagore renounced it after the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
Renouncing the knighthood, Tagore wrote in a letter addressed to Lord Chelmsford, the then British Viceroy of India, “The disproportionate severity of the punishments inflicted upon the unfortunate people and the methods of carrying them out, we are convinced, are without parallel in the history of civilized governments…The time has come when badges of honor make our shame glaring in their incongruous context of humiliation, and I for my part wish to stand, shorn of all special distinctions, by the side of my country men.”
His last five years were marked by chronic pain and two long periods of illness. These began when he lost his consciousness in late 1937. He remained comatose and near death for a time. This was followed in late 1940 by a similar spell, from which he never recovered. Poetry from these unhealthy years is among his finest. A period of prolonged agony ended with Tagore’s death on 7 August 1941, aged 80.
He was in an upstairs room of the Jorasanko mansion, in which he grew up. A. K. Sen received dictation from Tagore on 30 July 1941, a day prior to a scheduled operation: his last poem. “I’m lost in the middle of my birthday. I want my friends, their touch, with the earth’s last love. I will take life’s final offering; I will take the human’s last blessing. Today my sack is empty. I have given completely whatever I had to give. In return if I receive anything— some love, some forgiveness— then I will take it with me when I step on the boat that crosses to the festival of the wordless end.
(12-01-1863 to 04-07-1902)
Shri Narendranath Datta was an Indian Monk. He was born on 12th January 1863 in Calcutta (Now Kolkata), West Bengal. He was a chief disciple of the 19th century Indina Mystic Ramskrishna. He is known as the prominent exponent of INdina philosophy of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western World. His efforst helped achieve the major world religion for Hinduism. He founded the ramkrishna Math and Ramkrishna Mission. His speeech became famous with the wordds, “Sisters and Brothers of America….”, in which he inteoduced Hinduism at the Parliament of World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893.
He born in an aristocratic Bengali Kayastha family of Calcutta. Vivekanand was inclined towards spirituality. He was greatly influenced by his Guru, Ramskrishna Paramhansa, form whom he learnt that all living beings were an embodiment of the divine self and therefore, service to God could be rendered by service to humankind. Aftre the death of his Guru Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Vivekanand toured the Indian subcontinent extensively and acquired first-hand knowledge of the prevailing British India. He conducted hundred of public and private lectures abdn classes, disseminating tenets of Hindu philosophy in the United States, England and Europe. His birth day is celebrated as a National Youth Day.
His ancestral home is situated at Gourmohan Mukerjee Street in Calcutta. He has nine siblings. His father, Vishwanath Datta was an attorney at the Calcutta High Court. His grandfather, Durgacharan Datta was a Sanskrit and Persian scholar, who left his family and became monk at the age of 25. His mother, Bhubaneshwari Devi was a housewife. He was spiritual from his childhood and was very much fascinated by wandering ascetics and monks.
At the age of 18, he enrolled at Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s Metropolitan Institution, where he went to school until his family moved to Raipur in 1877. His family returned to Calcutta in the year 1879. He was avid reader in a wide range of subjects, including philosophy, religion, history, social science, art and literature. He was very interested in Hindu scriptures, including the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagawat Gita, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas. He was trained in Indian Classical Music. He also studied Western Logic, western Philosophy and European history at the General Assembly’s Institution (now known as the Scottish Church College). In 1881, he passed the Fine Arts examination and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1884. He studied the works of David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Baruch Spinoza, George W. F. Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Auguste Comte, John Stuart Mill and Charles Darwin. He was fascinated by evolutionism of Herbert Spencer and communicated with him, translating Herbert Spencer’s book ‘Education (1861) into Bengali.
During his first visit to the West he travelled to the UK twice, in 1895 and 1896, lecturing successfully there. In November 1895, he met Margaret Elizabeth Noble, an Irish woman who would become Sister Nivedita. During his second visit to the UK, in May 1896, Vivekananda met Max Müller, a noted Indologist from Oxford University, who wrote Ramakrishna’s first biography in the West. From the UK, Vivekananda visited other European countries. In Germany, he met Paul Deussen, another Indologist. Vivekananda was offered academic positions in two American universities (One the Chair in Eastern Philosophy at Harvard University and a similar position at Columbia University). He declined both, since his duties would conflict with his commitment as a monk.
In 1881, Narendra first met Ramakrishna, who became his spiritual focus after his own father had died in 1884. Narendra’s first introduction to Ramakrishna occurred in a literature class at General Assembly’s Institution, when he heard Professor William Hastie lecturing on William Wordsworth’s poem, The Excursion. While explaining the word “trance” in the poem, Hastie suggested that his students visit Ramakrishna of Dakshineswar to understand the true meaning of trance. This prompted some of his students (including Narendra) to visit Ramakrishna. They probably first met personally in November 1881, though Narendra did not consider this their first meeting. At this time, Narendra was preparing for his upcoming F. A. examination, when Ram Chandra Datta accompanied him to Surendra Nath Mitra’s, house where Ramakrishna was invited to deliver a lecture. According to Paranjape, at this meeting Ramakrishna asked young Narendra to sing. Impressed by his singing talent, he asked Narendra to come to Dakshineshwar. In late 1881 or early 1882, Narendra went to Dakshineswar with two friends and met Ramakrishna. This meeting proved to be a turning point in his life. Although he did not initially accept Ramakrishna, as his teacher and rebelled against his ideas, he was attracted by his personality and began to frequently visiting him at Dakshineshwar. He initially saw Ramksrihna’s ecstasies and visions as “mere figments of imagination” and “hallucinations”. Although Vivekananda was unable to attend the Congress of Religions in 1901 in Japan due to deteriorating health, he made pilgrimages to Bodhgaya and Varanasi. Declining health (including asthma, diabetes and chronic insomnia) restricted his activity. On 4 July 1902 (the day of his death), Vivekananda awoke early, went to the monastery at Belur Math and meditated for three hours. He taught Shukla-Yajur-Veda, Sanskrit grammar and the philosophy of yoga to pupils. At 7:00 pm, Vivekananda went to his room, asking not to be disturbed. He departed for his final journey transcending into the Sahasradhara, moving through Kundalini, at 9:20 p.m., while meditating. According to his disciples, Vivekananda attained Mahasamādhi; the rupture of a blood vessel in his brain was reported as a possible cause of death. His disciples believed that the rupture was due to his Brahmarandhra (an opening in the crown of his head) being pierced, when he attained Mahasamādhi. Vivekananda fulfilled his prophecy that he would not live forty years. He was cremated on a sandalwood funeral pyre on the bank of the Ganga in Belur, opposite to the place, where Ramakrishna was cremated sixteen years earlier.
Vivekananda summarized the Vedanta as follows, giving it a modern and Universalistic interpretation:
“Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this Divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship, or mental discipline, or philosophy, by one, or more, or all of these, and be free. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details.”
Nationalism was a prominent theme in Vivekananda’s thought. He believed that a country’s future depends on its people, and his teachings focused on human development. He wanted “to set in motion a machinery, which will bring noblest ideas to the doorstep of even the poorest and the meanest”. Vivekananda linked morality with control of the mind, seeing truth, purity and unselfishness as traits which strengthened it. He advised his followers to be holy, unselfish and to have shraddhā (faith). Vivekananda supported brahmacharya, believing it the source of his physical and mental stamina and eloquence. He emphasized that success was an outcome of focused thought and action; in his lectures on Raja Yoga he said, “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life. Think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, that is the way great spiritual giants are produced”.
Vivekananda was one of the main representatives of Neo-Vedanta, a modern interpretation of selected aspects of Hinduism in line with western esoteric traditions, especially Transcendentalism, New Thought and Theosophy. His reinterpretation was, and is, very successful, creating a new understanding and appreciation of Hinduism within and outside India. He was the principal reason for the enthusiastic reception of yoga, transcendental meditation and other forms of Indian spiritual self-improvement in the West. Modern Hindus derive their knowledge of Hinduism from Vivekananda, directly or indirectly”. Vivekananda espoused the idea that all sects within Hinduism (and all religions) are different paths to the same goal. However, this view has been criticized as an oversimplification of Hinduism. In the background, of emerging nationalism in British-ruled India, Vivekananda crystallized the nationalistic ideal. In the words of social reformer Charles Freer Andrews, “The Swami’s courageous patriotism gave a new color to the national movement throughout India. More than any other single individual of that period Vivekananda had made his contribution to the new awakening of India”. Swami Vivekananda drew attention to the extent of poverty in the country, and maintained that addressing such poverty was a prerequisite for national awakening. His nationalistic ideas influenced many Indian thinkers and leaders. Sri Aurobindo regarded Vivekananda as the one, who awakened India spiritually. Mahatma Gandhi counted him among the few Hindu reformers “who have maintained this Hindu religion in a state of splendor by cutting down the dead wood of tradition”. Bharat Ratna Dr. B. R. Ambedkar said, “the greatest man India produced in recent centuries was not Gandhi, but Vivekananda.” The first governor-general of independent India, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, said “Vivekananda saved Hinduism, saved India”. According to Subhas Chandra Bose, a proponent of armed struggle for Indian independence, Vivekananda was “the maker of modern India”; for Gandhi, Vivekananda’s influence increased Gandhi’s “love for his country a thousand-fold”. Vivekananda influenced India’s independence movement; his writings inspired independence activists such as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Aurobindo Ghose, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bagha Jatin and intellectuals such as Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, and Romain Rolland. Many years after Vivekananda’s death, Rabindranath Tagore told French Nobel laureate Romain Rolland, “If you want to know India, study Vivekananda. In him everything is positive and nothing negative”. Rolland wrote, “His words are great music, phrases in the style of Beethoven, stirring rhythms like the march of Händel choruses. I cannot touch these sayings of his, scattered as they are through the pages of books, at thirty years’ distance, without receiving a thrill through my body like an electric shock. And what shocks, what transports, must have been produced when in burning words they issued from the lips of the hero!” Jamsetji Tata was inspired by Vivekananda to establish the Indian Institute of Science, one of India’s best-known research universities. Abroad, Vivekananda communicated with orientalist Max Müller, and the inventor Nikola Tesla was one of those influenced by his Vedic teachings. While National Youth Day in India is observed on his birthday, 12 January, the day he delivered his masterful speech at the Parliament of Religions. Similarly, 11th September 1893 is commemorated as “World Brotherhood Day”.
Dr S Radhakrishnan
[05-09-1888 to 17-04-1975]
In 1962, when Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan became the President of India, his students and friends came to him and requested him to allow them to celebrate his birth day 5th September 1888, he replied to them, “Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege, if September 5th is observed as Teachers’ Day.
He was Indian philosopher, academician, statesman, who served as thee First Vice President of India during 1951–1962 and the second President of India during 1962–1967. One of India’s most distinguished twentieth-century scholars of comparative religion and philosophy. He completed his education at Madras (Now Chennai) Christian College in 1911, he became Assistant Professor and later Professor of Philosophy at Madras Presidency College. Subsequently, he became the Professor of Philosophy at University of Mysore and worked there from 918 to 1921. Later, he shouldered the responsibility of King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta (Now Kolkata) for the period 1921 to 1932. He went ahead and was posted as a Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics at University of Oxford in 1936 and continued till 1952. He was the first Indian to hold a professional chair at the University of Oxford. Not only this, he became the Upton Lecturer at Manchester College, Oxford in 1926, 1929 and 1930. In 1930, he was appointed Haskell lecturer in Comparative Religion at the University of Chicago.
His philosophy was grounded in Advait Vendanta, reinterpreting this tradition for a contemporary understanding. He defended Hinduism against what he called “uninformed Western criticism”, contributing to the formation of contemporary Hindu identity. He was influential in shaping the understanding of Hinduism, in both India and the Western countries. He was recognized as the bridge-builder between India and the Western world. He was awarded the highest civilian award of the country, Bharat Ratna, in the year 1954. Before that, in the year 1931, knighthood was conferred on him.
Aravalli Radhakrishnan was born in a Telugu-speaking Niyogi Brahmin family, in Tiruttani of Chittoor District in the erstwhile Madras Presidency (Later in Andhra Pradesh till 1960, now in Tiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu since 1960). His father’s name was Aravalli Veeraswami and his mother’s name were Aravalli Sita (Sitamma). His family hails from Aravalli village in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. His early years were spent in Thiruttani and Tirupati. His father was a subordinate revenue official in the service of a local zamindar (local landlord). His took his primary education at K.V High School at Thiruttani. He moved in 1896, to the Hermansburg Evangelical Lutheran Mission School in Tirupati and Government High Secondary School, Walajapet.
In 1989, institution of the Radhakrishnan Scholarships by Oxford University in the memory of Dr Aravalli Radhakrishnan. The scholarships were later renamed the “Radhakrishnan Chevening Scholarships”. He was nominated sixteen times for the Nobel prize in literature, and eleven times for the Nobel Peace prize.
• It is not God that is worshipped but the authority that claims to speak in His name.
• Sin becomes disobedience to authority not violation of integrity.
• Reading a book gives us the habit of solitary reflection and true enjoyment, when we think we know, we cease to learn.
• A literary genius, it is said, resembles all, though no one resembles him.
• There is nothing wonderful in my saying that Jainism was in existence long before the Vedas were composed.
• A life of joy and happiness is possible only on the basis of knowledge.
Bharat Ratna, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam
[15-10-1931 to 27-07-2015]
Bharat Ratna Avul Pakir Jainulabed Abdul Kalam was born on 15th October 1931 in in a piligrimage centre of Rameshwaram on Panban Island, in Tamil Nadu, in Sutherrn India. His father was a boat owner and Imam of a local mosque and his mother, Ashiamma was a housewife. His father owned a ferry that took Hindu pilgrims back and forth between Rameshwaram and the now uninhabited Dhanushkodi, which is the last point of India touching the Indian Ocean. Kalam was the youngest of four brothers and one sister in his family. His ancestor had been wealthy traders and landowners, with neumorous properties and large traces of land. Their business had involved trading groceries between the mainland and the island and to and from Sri Lanka. The Pamban bridge came into existence in the year 1914 and thereafter the business went down, leaving them only with an ancestral home. When he
was a child, his family became poor and hence, he used to see newspapers to supplimenbt his family’s inocme.
In school, he was average student but was recognised as a bright and hardworking student. He had strong desire to learn. He spent hours on his studies, especially mathematics. After completing his Higher Scecondary Schooling at Ramanathpuram, he went to attend Saint Hoseph’s College at Tiruchirapalli, which was afiliated to University of Madras. He graduated form there in Phnysics in 1954. Then, he proceeded to Madras (Now Chennai) in 1955 ot study Aerospace Engineering at madras Institute of Technology. Subsequent to his graduation in aeronautics, he joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence research and Development Organisation (DRDO), as a Scientist. He commenced his career by designing a small hovercraft, but remained unconvinced by his choice of a job at DRDO. In the year 1969, Dr Kalam was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), where he was the Project Director of India’s First Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III), which successfully deployed the Rohini Satellite in near-earth orbit in July 1969. He received the government’s approval and expanded the programme to inlcude three more engineers.
In 1963, he visited SASA’s Langley research Cantre in Hampton, Virginia, Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Wallops Flight Facility. In between 1970 and 1990, Dr Kalam made an effor to develop the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and SLV-III projects, both of which proved to neb successful and took our ocuntry to a new zenith. He was invited by great scientist Raja Ramanna to witness the ocuntry;s first nuclear test Smiling Buddha as the representative of TBRL, even tnhough he has not participated in its development. In the year 1070, Dr Kalam also directed two projects, Project Devil and Project Valiant, which sought to develop Vallastic Missiles from the tehcnlogy of the successful SLV programme. His research and educational leadership brought him great laurels and prestige in the 1980s. It prompted the government to initiate an Advanced Missile Program, under his directorship. Dr. Kalam and Dr V S Arunachalam, metallurgist and scientific adviser to the Defense Minister, worked on the suggestion by the then Defense Minister, R. Venkataraman, on a proposal for simultaneous development of a quiver of missiles instead of taking planned missiles one after another. Mr. R Venkatraman was instrumental in getting the cabinet approval for allocating ₹ 3.88 billion for the mission, named Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) and appointed Kalam as the chief executive. He played a major part in developing many missiles under the mission including Agni, an intermediate range ballistic missile and Prithvi, the tactical surface-to-surface missile; although the projects have been criticized for mismanagement and cost and time overruns. Kalam served as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and Secretary of the Defense Research and Development Organization for the period 1971 to 1999. During the same period, the Pokhran-II Nuclear Tests were carried out.
In 1998, Dr Kalam along with a Cardiologist, Dr Soma Raju, developed a low cost coronary stent, named as “kalam Raju Stent”. In 2012, they, again came with novel designed a rugged tablet computer for health care in rural areas, which was names as the “Kalam-Raju Teblet”.
He became the 11th President of India, succedding K. R. Narayanan. He served the namtion as a President between 25th July 2002 and 25th July 2007. In September 2003, in an interactie session in PGI Chandigarh, Dr Kalam supported the need of Uniform Civil Code in India.
After his term came ot an end as a 11th Prsident of India, he became a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong, the Indian Institute of Management , Ahmedabad and the indina Institute of Management, Indore, an honorary Fellow of INdina Institute of Science, Bangalore, Chancellor of the Indina Institute of Space Science and Technology Thiruvanantpuram, Professor if Aerospace Engineering at Anna University and also an adjunct at amny other academic and research institutions across India. He taught information tehcnology at the International Institute of of Information technology, Hyderabad and Technology at Banaras Hindu Univeersity and Ann University.
On 27th July 2005, Dr Kalam travelled ot Shillong to deliver a lecture on “Creating a Livable Planet Earth”, at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong. While climbing a flight stairsm, he experiencd3ed some discomfort, but he was able to enter the auditorium after a brief rest. At around 6.35 p.m., only five minutes into his lecture, he collapsed. He was rushed to nearby Bethany Hospitali acritical condition, upon arrivalm he lacked a pulse or any other signs of life. Despite being placed in the Intensive Cae Unit, he was confimred dead of a sudden cardiac arrest at 7.45 p.m. His last words to his aide Srijan Pal Singh, “Funny guy!Are you doing well?”
Master of Arts (History)
Master of Arts (Political Science)
Savitribaiee Phule Pune University