Biography of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975) was a renowned statesman and philosopher. He was India’s president from 1962 to 1967. Radhakrishnan was an influential scholar of philosophy and religion. He also taught at Oxford University. Radhakrishnan received a knighthood in 1931. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1954. India celebrates his birthday as Teacher’s Day (5th September). This article reveals the inspirational biography of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

Early life

Radhakrishnan was born in a poor Telugu family in Tiruttani, 64 km from Madras (Chennai). He received many scholarships which helped him through his academic life. Radhakrishnan is one of the most famous alumni of the hoary Madras Christian College in Chennai. Here, he obtained a master’s degree in philosophy. Actually, Radhakrishnan chanced upon philosophy because of his poor background. His cousin loaned him college philosophy books which decided Radhakrishnan’s college course. He went to on to write numerous acclaimed books on western and eastern philosophy.


In the year 1918, Radhakrishan was chosen as philosophy professor by the University of Mysore. By this time, Radhakrishnan had essayed many works on philosophy including one on Rabindranath Tagore’s philosophy. In 1921, Radhakrishnan was selected a philosophy professor by the University of Calcutta. Radhakrishnan was India’s Ambassador to the Soviet Union during the years 1949-1952.


Radhakrishnan was instrumental in awakening Western interest in Indian philosophy. He argued that intuitive thinking was important too, not just intellectual thought. He wrote commentaries on the Brahma Sutra, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita.


In 1963, Radhakrishnan received the Order of Merit. In 1975, he was given the Templeton Prize. Radhakrishnan donated this prize money to Oxford University. He was also nominated several times for the Nobel literature prize, but he never won.

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