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Remembering Indian Scientists cum Teachers on Teacher's Day

Updated on June 27, 2016

Teaching- A Noble Profession


Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan


Noble Profession

Teaching is a noble profession. The teachers are the guiding force: be it in school, college, university, in any research center, a coaching institute or a private tutor. Talent is God gifted but it needs to be brushed up and that hard task is undertaken by the teaching professionals. The teachers deserve to be honored at every step just like the parents of every individual. Parents are the guiding force at home while the teachers perform the same task in the educational institutes.

Definition of Teacher’s Day

Teacher’s Day is a day to honor the teachers in a special way. Honoring only on one day is not the right gesture to show our deep reverence for the teachers but it is only to make them feel a little more than usual. In India 5th September is celebrated as Teacher’s Day. It is the day when we celebrate the birthday of each and every individual those who opted teaching as their profession. It is a very noble profession. Now the question is: Why 5th September has been chosen as the Teacher’s Day in India when India is known to be a land of teachers?


Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, an eminent teacher, the first Vice President of the free India and the second President of India was born on 5th September 1888 in Tiruttani of Tamil Nadu, India. A scholar of Philosophy started his career after his M.A as a teacher in Madras Presidency College. Then on his teaching profession continued and it did not remain confined within India but touched the hearts and benefited many outside India at different renowned educational hubs. He also served as Vice Chancellor of Andhra University and after that Banaras Hindu University. Thereafter, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan became the first Vice President of India in 1952 and later in 1962 he became the President of India (second). After Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan became the President of India his students and friends wanted to celebrate his birthday. In this connection they requested for his perusal and in reply to it he expressed his desire in these words:

“Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if 5th September is observed as Teacher’s Day.”

Hence, from 1962 onwards 5th September has been known as Teacher’s Day in India. Celebrations do take place and the students try to make this day memorable for the teachers, the guiding force behind them.

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, first and foremost was an eminent teacher. He was a gentle person and extremely learned personality. India lost this great man on 17th April, 1975. Still, on 5th September each year he is revered as a great teacher and along with him according to his wish all the teachers are showered with honor in India.

Keeping this in mind I want to exclaim a point that India is a land of variety and it is also a land of great teachers. It is not that Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was the first teacher in India. Before him there were many great teachers in India and even there were many great teaching contemporaries of him. The basic thing is he through his wish adorned teaching, the noble profession, with respect and love. Now, when Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan is no more and chances of his students to be around are very doubtful. Then too, this day is celebrated in India as an honor to the present teachers and with a mark of respect to the departed great teaching souls. This is simply fulfilling Dr. S. Radhakrishnan's wish. In this context we may pay our tribute to many great teachers of India. Today, in this hub let me highlight some eminent scientists who were great teachers too.

Tribute to teachers

J. C. Bose


Bose, the Educationist

Hereby, I present short biographies of some world famous Indian scientists. Teaching, a noble profession, was their main interest and so they dedicated their life for it. Naming some distinguished Indian scientists who were great teachers and educationists too:

Dr. Jagdish Chandra Bose (Dr. J. C. Bose)

This great man was the first to prove that plants and metals have feelings too. This is not all, he even invented Wireless Telegraphy a year ahead of the invention when patented by Marconi but it was sheer hard luck of Dr. J. C. Bose. He studied Physics, Biophysics, Biology, Botany and lot more.

Date of Birth: 30th November, 1858 in Mymensingh now in Bangladesh.

In his native place he studied in his mother tongue (Bangla) but later shifted to Calcutta (Now Kolkata) and studied in St. Xavier’s School as well as in St. Xavier’s College. Thereafter, he went to England for his higher studies.

After completion of his studies Dr. J. C. Bose returned to India and served the country with his teaching ability. It was 1885 when he returned and joined as Lecturer of Physical Science in Presidency College, Calcutta. The tragic part was that India was then not an independent country and so Dr. Jagdish Chandra Bose was offered half the salary of his British colleagues. It did not deter the patriot in him and he accepted the job to build up the future generation of India but declined to accept the salary less than his British colleagues. He went on with his job without pay for three years but finally the authorities gave up and accepted his genuine demand. He was then paid the salary equal to his British colleagues from the date of his joining three years ago.

Dr. J. C. Bose taught and continued his research too in the Presidency College, Calcutta. There he worked for 30 long years and retired in 1915. Well, who can afford to lose a teacher of his calibre and thus was appointed as the Emeritus Professor at Presidency College, Calcutta for 5 years.

He was an extremely popular teacher. Dr. J. C. Bose always involved his students in experimental studies. He applied wide range of scientific experimental education and encouraged his students to imbibe it. He insisted his students to discover something extra. He was against the blind following of the teachers and the textbooks. His lectures were loved by the students and he never taught them with the mere ambition of getting through the examination. He suggested the students to read books and study the notes given by the teachers but stressed on using their own brain. Allow your brain to discover a new concept was his message to his students at every point.

This great teaching soul departed on 23rd November, 1937 at the age of 78 leaving behind a legacy of scientific education in the form of The Bose Research Institute in Calcutta. It was founded by him in 1917. In his teaching era many students have been blessed by his teaching ability but to name a few geniuses: Meghnad Shah and Satyendranath Bose.

Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray at the backdrop


Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray (Dr. P. C. Ray)

He was a great scientist and professor of Chemistry. He was popularly addressed as Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray.

Date of Birth: 2nd August 1861 in Khulna district now in Bangladesh.

Dr. P. C. Ray studied for some years in his village and then got enrolled in Hare School, Calcutta (Presently Kolkata), India. Later he studied in Albert School, Calcutta. After schooling he joined Metropolitan Institute (Presently Vidyasagar College). Finally for his B.Sc and D.Sc degrees he went to Edinburgh, U.K. In 1888 (Year of Birth of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan) returned to India and worked in the laboratory of his friend Dr. J. C. Bose (Mentioned above) for one year.

In 1889 Dr. P. C. Ray joined as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry in Presidency College, Calcutta. He used to donate his salary to the department of Chemistry. His students who were unable to afford their lodging used to live with him. He was a great advocate of industrialization in India and was the pioneer of the Pharmaceutical Industry in India named Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works.

Dr. P. C. Ray always used humor and wit in his lectures, He was extremely affectionate towards his students and that is easily understood by his act of allowing his students to stay with him due to financial crunch. A teacher like him can only say the popular Sanskrit saying at the success of his student with great happiness:

“A man may desire victory always but he should welcome defeat at the hands of his own disciples.” This great teaching soul left this world on 16th June, 1944 at the age of 83.

Dr. Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (Dr. C. V. Raman)

The greatest achievement of Dr. C. V. Raman was that he received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930. He was not only the first Indian but also the first Asian to receive this award. Discovery of ‘Raman Effect’ brought him this laurel.

In his college days he was a student of Physics and stood first throughout his academic career. Dr. C. V. Raman was even a Post graduation topper and recorded highest marks in the Madras University. He was the student of Presidency College, Madras.

Date of Birth: 7th November, 1888 (The same year Dr. Sarvepalli

Radhakrishnan was born on 5th September) in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India.

He stood first in Indian Audit & Accounts Service and then joined as the Assistant Accountant General at the Finance Department of the Government in Calcutta.

During his official stay in Calcutta Dr. C. V. Raman started his research work at “Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science” during morning and at night. He later got transferred from Calcutta but after sometime when he lost his father he came back on leave to Madras and stayed there for six months. Then he again resumed his research work in Madras University Laboratories.

In 1915 The Science College, Calcutta University was started. Dr. C. V. Raman left the government job and joined as a Professor of Physics. There he continued his research also. Students from different parts of India came for research under his guidance. Here, he did not stop. Constantly C. V. Raman accepted different offers made to him by various educational hubs.

He was known to be a great teacher. The students loved him because his lectures were full of freshness. It was not at all a boring lecture. He never maintained a time limit of his lecture. The classes of Dr. C.V. Raman ended when he used to finish his explanation and discussion of the subject. His lectures were not based upon a single book. Supreme self confidence was his strength and he constantly tried to build it within his students. All these qualities made him a great teacher and so students were fond of him. It was not all; he even had contact with his ex students and helped them whenever they wanted his help.

On 21st November, 1970 Dr. C. V. Raman, the great teacher breathed his last. His absence meant a lot to the students.

Birbal Sahni

He was a man who studied all the various details of fossil plants and then gradually became a World Famous Palaeobotanist. Birbal Sahni was a master of both the subjects: Geology and Botany.

The first Education Minister of independent India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad had offered Birbal Sahni a Government Administrative Job but he declined the offer. It was only because Birbal Sahni was extremely attached with science and his research work.

Date of Birth: 14th November, 1891 in Bhera (Presently in Pakistan)

He worked as Professor of Botany for 1 year in each of the universities of Banaras and Punjab after he completed his studies. In 1921 Birbal Sahni was appointed as Professor and Head of the Department of Botany at the Lucknow University, India.

This great teacher had a long list of students who used to admire him. His advice to his students was:

“Know what you have to say and say it straight.”

Birbal Sahni did not stick to his subject only. He was very strong in many languages. Due to his strong command over the language he used to teach his students German and French after the college hours.

Fate was cruel. Birbal Sahni died at 57 due to heart attack on 10th April, 1949. India lost a great scientist and teacher. Just few days ago on 3rd April, 1949 the foundation stone was laid by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru of the Institute of Palaeobotany which was founded by Birbal Sahni. After his death the name of the institute changed to Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany.

Dr. S.N.Bose, A Lovable Teacher


Satyendra Nath Bose (S. N. Bose)

Albert Einstein and Madame Curie were two world famous scientists with whom S. N. Bose worked during his professional career. Bose-Einstein theory is world famous in Physics.

Date of Birth: 1st January, 1894

In childhood he solved the problems of Mathematics by more than one method and that fetched him marks more than the prescribed maximum marks in his school days at Hindu High School, Calcutta, India. He was the student of Presidency College, Calcutta. There he was the student of the great scientist cum teacher Dr. J.C. Bose (Mentioned above). Through out his academic career S. N. Bose never stood second.

In 1916 he joined as the lecturer of Physics in the Science College, Calcutta University till in 1921. Then he got appointed as Reader of Physics in Dacca University, Dacca (Presently capital of Bangladesh) the then it was in India in 1921. The most interesting part about his caliber was that he achieved the post of the Professor and became the Head of the Department of Physics in the Dacca University without having a doctorate degree. It happened due to the recommendation of Albert Einstein. S. N. Bose contributed as the Professor in the Dacca University for almost 25 years. Later on he served at many different positions.

His advice to his students was to have self confidence. S. N. Bose suggested his students that never lose self confidence. Other than this he always asked his students to solve the problem first and then accept the solution. S. N. Bose wanted his students not to accept any solved solution only because it has been already solved rather try to solve it and then accept the result. He was of the opinion that a student must read books on a particular subject more than what has been prescribed to them. S. N. Bose eagerly helped and offered guidance to his students even after college hours.

Everyone is mortal and so was S. N. Bose, in spite of being a teacher of such repute. The great teacher like him died on 4th February, 1974 but after instilling some great knowledge and values.

The present generation and the generation to come must enrich their mind and soul through reading about these great scientists cum teachers. The lives of these great men teach us that simplicity is the key to greatness. These teachers are no more but there contribution to the world of science is very much present. It is our moral duty to remember these great teaching souls on Teacher’s Day and try to imbibe their qualities. Let India produce many more like these great teachers. Happy Teacher’s Day!


A Respectable Teacher and Astrophysicist


Biography of another Scientist

Meghnad Saha

This genius was born on 6th October, 1893 in a village named Shaoratoli, very near to Dhaka to an undivided India. It is now in Bangladesh. He belonged to a poverty stricken family. After his school education his father was not interested in continuing his studies. Saha’s one of the elder brothers and one school teacher of his convinced his father for the further studies which resulted as a gift to the scientific world. Thus, India produced one more scientist of an extraordinary caliber.

He was an achiever through out his academic career. After completing his Masters he then in 1916 joined as the Physics Lecturer in Science College, Calcutta (presently Kolkata). In 1947 Prof. Saha began an institute of Nuclear Physics which was later named after him as Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics. He is extremely famous for his ‘Saha Equation’. He was known to be a very great Astrophysicist.

Prof. Saha was a very dedicated teacher. He was never reluctant in sharing his valuable time with his students. His wide knowledge was always on offer to help his students that which made him a very respectable professor.

Meghnad Saha also joined politics, well not for the power in the national government but for the sake of development of Science in India. Later he even got elected as a Member of the Parliament.

Prof. Saha died in 1956 due to High Blood Pressure but he never stopped working until his death.


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