Published: 06th September 2017
What Teachers' Day means to you when your great-uncle is Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
From wondering why he read under the streelights to becoming a part of his legacy, Dr S Radhakrishnan's descendant recalls how her continuing tryst with him developed over time
Growing up, I did not realize what it meant to be a descendant of Dr S Radhakrishnan. I did what all children do best: exhibit a lack of grasp of what adults celebrate as “the reality”. I would wonder aloud, looking at his photo in our house, 'Why does he have a big nose?' Or, 'Why does Ammamma say that he had to study under the street lamp if he could have studied during the day?'
I went to Good Earth School from K-12, a school run by my grand uncle Dr A Gajanan Rao, another passionate educator. Guided by Jiddu Krishnamurti’s principles, I was raised to treat a human being as “the rest of humanity”. I went to Madras Christian College because, (a) almost everyone in my family went there, (b) MCC is sentimentally the best place in Chennai, for us.
Old school: Growing up, Ankita had a number of questions about her great grand uncle, Dr S Radhakrishnan
So, I do not know what it feels like to go to a school that kills creativity. Then, I was invited to teach in Vatsalya Learning Centre, the school run by my aunt, Priya Bharat, who introduced me to the many Ishaan Awasthis in our society. And that's where I chose to become a teacher.
I then discovered Dr S. Radhakrishnan, one of the greatest educators of India, if not the world. I realized that he did not study under the street lamps because he was playing all day, but perhaps because he was fascinated with books. He had, probably still has wherever he is, a very personal relationship with books.
Even today, Dr S. Radhakrishnan is, to me, more than what everyone shares on instant messengers on the 5th of September every year. He is a senior who went to the same college as I did. He comes from a South Indian town like I do. He spoke the same tongues that I do
Even today, Dr S Radhakrishnan is, to me, more than what everyone shares on instant messengers on the 5th of September every year. He is a senior who went to the same college as I did. He comes from a South Indian town like I do. He spoke the same tongues that I do
And he did for education what most teachers hope to do in every way of their life. I know this because I grew up with five of the greatest educators I know and much more who visit us every year. Growing up as I did, I do realize that education is a dish best served with love and respect.