Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (September 5, 1888 - April 17, 1975) was an esteemed philosopher and statesman. He was the first Vice-President of India (1952-1962), and the second President of India (1962-1967). His birthday is celebrated all over India as Teacher's Day.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan graduated with a Master's degree in Philosophy from the prestigious Madras Christian College, being one of its most distinguished alumni. One of the foremost scholars of comparative religion and philosophy, he built a bridge between Eastern and Western thought showing each to be comprehensible within the terms of the other. His academic appointments included the King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta and Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at Oxford University.
Radhakrishnan represented the University of Calcutta at the Congress of the Universities of the British Empire in June 1926 and the International Congress of Philosophy at Harvard University in September 1926. In 1929, Radhakrishnan was invited to take the post vacated by Principal J Estlin Carpenter in Manchester College, Oxford. This gave him the opportunity to lecture to the students of the University of Oxford on Comparative Religion. He was knighted in 1931.
When India became independent in 1947, Radhakrishnan represented India at UNESCO, and was later India's first ambassador in Moscow. He was also elected to the Constituent Assembly of India.
He was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy in 1938. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1954, and the Order of Merit in 1963. He received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 1961, and the Templeton Prize in 1975, a few months before his death. He donated the entire Templeton Prize amount to Oxford University. The Oxford University instituted the Radhakrishnan Chevening Scholarships and the Radhakrishnan Memorial Award in his memory.