|Birth Day:||September 5, 1888|
|Death Date:||Apr 17, 1975 (age 86)|
As per our current Database, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan died on Apr 17, 1975 (age 86).
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Before India's independence, he established himself academically as one of the foremost authorities on Indian philosophy. He then represented India at UNESCO, served as Indian Ambassador to the Soviet Union, and was the first Vice President of India.
Sarvepalli 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 Sarvepalli Veeraswami and his mother's name was Sarvepalli Sita (Sitamma). His family hails from Sarvepalli 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 primary education was at K.V High School at Thiruttani. In 1896 he moved to the Hermansburg Evangelical Lutheran Mission School in Tirupati and Government High Secondary School, Walajapet.
Radhakrishnan was awarded scholarships throughout his academic life. He joined Voorhees College in Vellore for his high school education. After his F.A. (First of Arts) class, he joined the Madras Christian College at the age of 17. He graduated from there in 1906, and also finished his Masters from the same college.
In April 1909, Radhakrishnan was appointed to the Department of Philosophy at the Madras Presidency College. Thereafter, in 1918, he was selected as Professor of Philosophy by the University of Mysore, where he taught at its Maharaja's College, Mysore. By that time he had written many articles for journals of repute like The Quest, Journal of Philosophy and the International Journal of Ethics. He also completed his first book, The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore. He believed Tagore's philosophy to be the "genuine manifestation of the Indian spirit". His second book, The Reign of Religion in Contemporary Philosophy was published in 1920.
In 1921 he was appointed as a professor in philosophy to occupy the King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta. He 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. Another important academic event during this period was the invitation to deliver the Hibbert Lecture on the ideals of life which he delivered at Manchester College, Oxford in 1929 and which was subsequently published in book form as An Idealist View of Life.
Radhakrishnan's appointment, as a southerner, to "the most important chair of philosophy in India" in the north, was resented by a number of people from the Bengali intellectual elite, and The Modern Review, which was critical of the appointment of non-Bengalis, became the main vehicle of criticism. Soon after his arrival in Calcutta in 1921, Radhakrishnan's writings were regularly criticised in The Modern Review. When Radhakrishnan published his Indian Philosophy in two volumes (1923 and 1927), The Modern Review questioned his use of sources, criticising the lack of references to Bengali scholars. Yet, in an editor's note, The Modern Review acknowledged that "As professor's Radhakrishnan's book has not been received for review in this Journal, The Modern Review is not in a position to form any opinion on it."
In the January 1929 issue of The Modern Review, the Bengali philosopher Jadunath Sinha made the claim that parts of his 1922 doctoral thesis, Indian Psychology of Perception, published in 1925, were copied by his teacher Radhakrishnan into the chapter on "The Yoga system of Patanjali" in his book Indian Philosophy II, published in 1927. Sinha and Radhakrishnan exchanged several letters in the Modern Review, in which Sinha compared parts of his thesis with Radhakrishnan's publication, presenting altogether 110 instances of "borrowings." Radhakrishnan felt compelled to respond, stating that Sinha and he had both used the same classical texts, his translation were standard translations, and that similarities in translations were therefore unavoidable. He further argued that he was lecturing on the subject before publishing his book, and that his book was ready for publication in 1924, before Sinha's thesis was published.
Radhakrishnan started his political career "rather late in life", after his successful academic career. His international authority preceded his political career. He was one of those stalwarts who attended Andhra Mahasabha in 1928 where he seconded the idea of renaming Ceded Districts division of Madras Presidency as Rayalaseema. In 1931 he was nominated to the League of Nations Committee for Intellectual Cooperation, where after "in Western eyes he was the recognized Hindu authority on Indian ideas and a persuasive interpreter of the role of Eastern institutions in contemporary society." When India became independent in 1947, Radhakrishnan represented India at UNESCO (1946–52) and was later Ambassador of India to the Soviet Union, from 1949 to 1952. He was also elected to the Constituent Assembly of India. Radhakrishnan was elected as the first Vice-President of India in 1952, and elected as the second President of India (1962–1967).
In 1929 Radhakrishnan was invited to take the post vacated by Principal J. Estlin Carpenter at Manchester College. This gave him the opportunity to lecture to the students of the University of Oxford on Comparative Religion. For his services to education he was knighted by George V in the June 1931 Birthday Honours, and formally invested with his honour by the Governor-General of India, the Earl of Willingdon, in April 1932. However, he ceased to use the title after Indian independence, preferring instead his academic title of 'Doctor'.
Responding to this "systematic effort [...] to destroy Radhakrishnan's reputation as a scholar and a public figure," Summer 1929 the dispute escalated into a juristic fight, with Radhakrishnan filing a suit for defamation of character against Sinha and Chatterjee, demanding Rs. 100,000 for the damage done, and Sinha filing a case against Radhakrishnan for copyright infringement, demanding Rs. 20,000. The suits were settled in May 1933, the terms of the settlement were not disclosed, and "all the allegations made in the pleadings and in the columns of the Modern Review were withdrawn."
In 1936 Radhakrishnan was named Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at the University of Oxford, and was elected a Fellow of All Souls College. That same year, and again in 1937, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, although this nomination process, as for all laureates, was not public at the time. Further nominations for the award would continue steadily into the 1960s. In 1939 Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya invited him to succeed him as the Vice-Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University (BHU). He served as its Vice-Chancellor till January 1948.
Radhakrishnan was married to Sivakamu, a distant cousin, at the age of 16. As per tradition the marriage was arranged by the family. The couple had five daughters and a son, Sarvepalli Gopal. Sarvepalli Gopal went on to a notable career as a historian. Sivakamu died on 26 November 1956. They were married for over 51 years.
Currently, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan is 133 years, 8 months and 14 days old. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan will celebrate 134th birthday on a Monday 5th of September 2022.
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