Summary: On the occasion of Teacher’s Day, let us celebrate the most celebrated teachers of India who have redefined the meaning of education.

“Knowledge gives us power, love gives us fullness."- Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

Every year on the 5th of September, India celebrates the teachers and the essence of their direct contribution to building the nation’s future. But do you know why we celebrate this day?

Though teacher’s day is celebrated across the globe on different dates, India celebrates it on the 5th of September every year as a tribute to the contribution of India’s former President- Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. He was knighted in 1931 and was made an honorary member of the British Royal Order of Merit in 1963.

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on September 5. He was a great philosopher and scholar and was conferred with Bharat Ratna. Born in a poor family in Andhra Pradesh’s Tiruttani, he was a bright student and continued to pursue his studies through scholarships.

When he became the President of India, his students approached him and requested him to celebrate his birthday. To this, he replied, “instead of celebrating my birthday separately, it would be my proud privilege, if 5th September is observed as Teachers' day." From then onwards, India celebrates the 5th of September as Teacher’s day every year.

Along with Dr. Radhakrishnan, India has been blessed to have a lot of other legendary teachers who have given valuable lessons without being preachy. And their lessons can still be implemented in today’s world.

1. Savitribai Phule

“Sit idle no more. Go get an education.”

Whenever education is mentioned, Savitribai Phule is the name that deserves to be known as one of the best teachers who has ever walked on Indian soil. Savitribai Phule is also known as India’s first female teacher. In 1848, when the country was under colonial rule and facing various caste issues, she along with her husband opened a school for girls who were tagged as “untouchable.”

It was not an easy decision as she faced extreme opposition and criticism from her community. But she did not give up on something she truly believed in and continued to teach girls in her school. Later, she even opened five more schools and her efforts were appreciated by the British Government. Throughout her life, she stood up for women’s rights and raised her voice against the atrocities inflicted upon women.

2. Chanakya

The list of best teachers in India is incomplete without mentioning the name of Chanakya. Also known as Kautilya and Vishnugupta from the 4th century, he was an ancient Indian polymath who was active as a teacher, author, philosopher, strategist, jurist, economist, and royal advisor.

He was a royal advisor to the emperor Chandragupta Maurya of the Mauryan Dynasty. His two books Nitishastra which is popularly known as Chanakya Niti and Arthashashtra are still perceived as the best books of ancient times as they consist of thought-provoking ideas which are still applicable. Both books reflect his wisdom as it mentions a lot of experiential realities from his time.

3. Swami Vivekanand

Swami Vivekanand needs no introduction. His unparalleled intellect has made him one of the great Indian reformers. Many people think he was just another spiritual leader. However, he was much more than that. He was a prolific thinker, a great orator, and a passionate patriot. Born on January 12, 1863, as Narendranath Dutta, into an affluent Bengali family in Calcutta, Vivekananda was one of the eight children of Vishwanath Dutta and Bhuvaneshwari Devi.

He carried on the baton of the free-thinking philosophy of his guru- Ramakrishna Paramhansa and worked tirelessly towards  betterment of the society. His message of universal brotherhood and self-awakening remains relevant even today. His birthday is celebrated as the National Youth Day in India.

4. Gautam Buddha

Born in 480 BC, Gautam Buddha was born as a prince to king Buddha. He was the founder of the greatest religion on earth. In a constant search for freedom, purpose, and peace, he renounced his kingdom and luxurious life. He followed a strict penance under a Bodhi tree and later founded Buddhism. He then went on to spread the teachings of Buddhism across the world and went on to educate humanity through his Eightfold Path.

Teachers are the pillar of strength and the guiding force in a student’s life. They are not only responsible for building their student’s future, but also contribute in a great way to building a nation and its society. Teachers pass on values to children and prepare them for further education. They influence students and students learn from them.

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