Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan


All Souls College Oxford, OX1 4AL
United Kingdom
51° 43' 26.2992" N, 1° 16' 30.414" W
Date of birth: 
05 Sep 1888
City of birth: 
Madras Presidency
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
16 Apr 1975
Location of death: 
Madras, India
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1926
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1926, 1929-30, 1936-52


Sarvepalla Radhakrishnan was a writer and philosopher. He was acting President of India from 1960 and elected President in 1962 until 1967. Born in the village of Tiruttani in the Madras Presidency and educated in Madras Christian College, he taught in various universities in India and abroad. While at the University of Calcutta, Radhakrishnan was invited to give a series of lectures at Manchester College, Oxford, in 1926. He returned on a tour in 1929-30 to give the Hibbert Lectures at University College, London, and again address Manchester College. During this visit, Radhakrishnan also spoke at the Indian Students' Union in London in February 1930.

Radhakrishnan was knighted in 1931 and invited to take up the Spalding Professorship of Eastern Religions and Ethics at All Souls College, Oxford from 1936 to 1952. Radhakrishnan also served as an Indian delegate to the League of Nations during the 1930s. Radhakrishnan balanced his political career with his academic career and acted as Ambassador to the Soviet Union 1949-52 before becoming Vice-President of India. Radhakrishnan was successful in comparing eastern and western philosophies and in interpreting Indian philosophy for western audiences. His birthday is celebrated as Teachers' Day in India.

Involved in events: 
Published works: 

Basanta Kumar Mallik: A Garland of Homage from someone who knew him well (London: Vincent Stuart, 1961)

(Ed. with P. T. Raju) The Concept of Man: A Study in Comparative Philosophy (London: Allen & Unwin, 1960)

The Dhammapada (London: Oxford University Press, 1950)

East and West in Religion (London: Allen & Unwin, 1933)

Eastern Religions and Western Thoughts (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1939)

The Hindu View of Life (London: Allen & Unwin, 1927)

An Idealist View of Life (London: Allen & Unwin, 1932)

Indian Philosophy (London: Allen & Unwin, 1929)

Is This Peace? (Bombay: Hind Kitabs, 1945)

Mahatma Gandhi: Essays and Reflections on his Life and Work (London: Allen & Unwin, 1939)

The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore (London: Macmillan, 1918)

The Philosophy of the Upanishads, with a foreword by Rabindranath Tagore (London: Allen & Unwin, 1924)

The Principal Upanishads (London: Allen & Unwin, 1953)

Religion and Society (London: Allen & Unwin, 1948)

Religion in a Changing World (London: Allen & Unwin, 1967)

The Religion We Need (London: E. Benn, 1928)

Secondary works: 

Copley, Antony R. H., ‘Radhakrishnan, Sir Sarvepalli (1888–1975)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2008) []

Gopal, Sarvepalli, Radhakrishnan: A Biography (London: Unwin Hyman, 1989)

Murty, K. Satchidananda, and Vohra, Ashok, Radhakrishnan: His Life and Ideas (New York: State University of New York Press, 1990)

Archive source: 

National Archives of India, New Delhi

Current Affairs Footage, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London