Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (5th September 1888 – 17th April 1975) was an Indian philosopher and statesman who was the first Vice President of India (1952-1962) and the second president of India from 1962 to 1967. One of India's most distinguished twentieth – century scholars of comparative religion and philosophy his academic appointments included the King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta (1921 - 1932) and Spalding Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics at University of Oxford (1936 – 1952).
His philosophy was grounded in Advaita Vedanta, Reinterpreting this tradition for a contemporary understanding. He defended Hinduism against "Uninformed Western Criticism" contributing to the formation of contemporary Hindu identity. He has been influential in shaping the understanding of Hinduism, in both India and the west, and earned a reputation as a bridge-builder between India and the West.
Radhakrishnan was awarded several high awards during his life, including a knighthood in 1931, the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India, in 1954, and honorary membership of the British Royal Order of Merit in 1963. Radhakrishnan believed that "teachers should be the best minds in the country". Since 1962, his birthday is celebrated in India as Teacher's Day on 5th September.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born into a telugu Brahmin family in a village near Thiruttani India, in the erstwhile Madras Presidency near the border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu states. His father's name was Sarvepalli Veeraswami and his mother's was Sitamma. His early years were spent in Thiruttani and Tirupati. His father was a subordinate revenue official in the service of a local zamindar (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 higher Secondary School, Waljapet.