Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan – Man of Philosophy and Humour

Jawaharlal Nehru once said that it is privilege to have a great philosopher, educationalist and a great humanist as India’s President Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. Having such great people at such high post itself shows the kind of men, we honour and respect. This season, Learnyst salutes the great teacher of all times on this occasion of Teachers’s day. Also, salute to all such teachers who have always thrived to bring the best out of their students and have set an example to the teachers’ fraternity.

Philosophy and humour might sound like north and south pole to you but you could see them both blended so well in one man that’s Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

“When we think we know, we cease to learn.”

said Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. I take the liberty of applying it here. Stop thinking about what you already know and just read through. You will learn about so many interesting situations and Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s witty remarks. 

Eye surgery gone sore

Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan got one eye operated in one of the famous hospitals in India. But, the operation was not fully successful hence, he thought of going to London for the operation of his second eye. Somebody asked him why he was going to London. He said:

“Here I was made Sukracharya, if I get my second eye operated here, I fear, they may make me Dhrutharasthra”.

Humorously he explained the bad conditions of our hospitals. The Indian doctors might have felt ashamed after hearing his words. Great people do not tell directly and in curt manner and they only delicately exhort.

Welcoming King of Greece

In 1962 King of Greece came to India on a state visit. Welcoming him, President Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan said:

“Your Majesty, You’re the first King Of Greece to come here as our guest; Alexander came uninvited!

Tasty brown pancakes

Once Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and few other mates including British governor general were having chitchat. British General said God likes them very much that’s why he gave them white skin. Then Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan laughed at that and told a story to all guys there. It goes like this.

“God was trying to make Pancake, he put batter on pan and removed it early. It was white and tasted really bland. That’s how whites are evolved. Then he realised its not perfect both the ways and thought it should be cooked moderately and then he realised its yummy taste. This is how god created the browns. So indirectly he had given a retort to British governor general with a perfect humour.”

Gandhi vs Radhakrishnan

It was in 1915 soon after Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) had returned from South Africa, Radhakrishnan met him for the first time in the house of mutual friend G.A. Natesan. Gandhi at that time was an emerging leader of Congress political party and and an advocate of mass participation in Indian politics. The meeting, as Radhakrishnan reports as “bad”, describes the meeting as follows:

Gandhiji: Don’t drink milk, which is the essence of beef.
Radhakrishnan: “In that case we all are cannibals. For we drink our mother’s milk, which is the essence of human flesh.”

<In the same meet up conversation then turns to medical relief.>

Gandhiji: Thousands of birth take place in jungle. They do not need any medical attention.
Radhakrishnan: Thousands die in the jungle too.
Gandhiji: How do you know?”.
Natesan: Don’t you know he is a professor of logic.

Usman was my Chancellor

Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was a great speaker and conversationist.  Radhakrishnan was much thought provoking and scintillating in his conversations. His speeches were punctuated with humor.  Once in a speech to an elite gathering he said:

“Usman was my best friend in college.  He was my senior, later became my classmate and then my junior. When I was a professor, he was the Vice chancellor. When I was Vice chancellor, Usman was my Chancellor”.

The people heard this remark could easily understand the subtle reference to the brilliance and capabilities of some people occupying higher positions.

X had become rich

Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan had a witty sense of humour. Once when he was asked about one of the colleagues who was director of a bank he said

“The Bank failed but the X had become rich.”

His sense of humour was so witty that many times even the victim of the joke couldn’t resist laughing.


 

About Ranjan