September 5 is celebrated in India as Teachers’ Day synonymous with its second president, Dr. Sarvepilli Radhakrishnan, who also was a teacher, besides being an eminent philosopher of international fame.
But a true story about him reveals that his famous work the “Indian Philosophy” is largely plagiarized from the Ph.D. thesis of Jadunath Sinha, one of his students. However, when Sinha came to know about this theft, he filed a case in court against his teacher. It is another matter that owing to Radhakrishnan’s influential position, the case was disposed of without causing much trouble to him. But how can truth be totally extinguished? It ultimately turned out that Radhakrishnan was not so lucky after all because most of the chapters of Sinha’s thesis had already been published in other magazines prior to the publication of Indian Philosophy. Thus it was well proved, without the need of any court’s intervention, that Radhakrishnan’s most magnificent and glorious work was nothing but an intellectual theft.
“There are many teachers in India who have earned their names in the academic world by plagiarizing the works of their students, like Radhakrishnan, and there are many more teachers who due to caste, religion and gender biases, force their students either to leave their education before completion or even to commit suicide.”, writes a commentator from the Department of Dalit studies at Indian Social Institute (ISI), New Delhi.
In view of the serious plagiarism charges, Teachers’ Day should be in honour of true and dedicated teachers instead of plagiarist Radhakrishnan. In that role, the day should be reserved for Jyotirao and Savitribai Phule, social reformers and educationalists.