The Greatest Minds in History and their Contributions


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Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the great man whose birthday is celebrated as Teacher's Day in India, said, "The true teachers are those who help us think about ourselves." The greatest minds in history have been teaching us the most important lessons in life till now. Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was not only a great teacher, but an influential philosopher too. He was the proud recipient of India's highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna.

Teachers like him have made substantial contributions to the teaching profession. With matchless intelligence and out-of-the-box teaching techniques, these teachers have never failed to motivate teachers across the globe. For them, education is not confined to the curriculum determined for a particular school/university. Swami Vivekananda was the man behind 'Ramakrishna Mission', under which, many monks undertook propagation of practical Vedanta and various forms of social service. With his teachings, he empowered and encouraged the students to handle every situation in life with courage and dignity. One of his most famous sayings was "Education is the manifestation of perfection already in men".

Women have also played a very important role in shaping the nation's education and empowering teachers. Savitribai Phule was the first female teacher of India's first women's school. When education was not a right, but a liberty and when education seemed to be beyond women's reach, Savitribai Phule worked for the upliftment and education of the Indian women. She was one of the very few to recognize young girls' potential and calibre, and opened a school for untouchable girls. Despite of every form of discouragement from the orthodox society around her, she continued working towards educating children. Later on, the British Government honoured her contribution to education.

Rabindra Nath Tagore was another influential philosopher of India. His contributions, too, were remarkable for the growth of the society. He said "The main objective of teaching is not to give explanations, but to knock at the doors of the mind." He stood by his statement and often took his class to the playground. He was often found teaching his students under the tree, on the school’s ground. A great philosopher, artist, composer, and novelist, Rabindra Nath Tagore brought a revolution in the education system of the nation.

"Educationists should build the capacities of the spirit of inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial and moral leadership among students and become their role model" said Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, India's "Missile Man" and former President. He was passionate about teaching and was able to instantly connect with the students. Hard-working as a student, he studied Physics at St Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli and aerospace engineering at Madras Institute of Technology.

Chanakya was also one of the most influential philosophers and thinkers of ancient India. He was a great economist and thinker, who taught "Arthshastra" in ancient India. He was honoured as a great scholar, not only in India, but in the west too. A pioneer in the field of political science, he made huge contributions in shaping the foreign policy of India.

Aryabhatta, a great Indian mathematician, became one of the greatest discoverers in the history of India. He discovered arithmetic, algebra, plane trigonometry, spherical trigonometry, fractions, quadratic equations, sums-of-power series, and a table of sines. His extraordinary knowledge and contribution is still remembered and appreciated.

Teaching is considered to be a noble profession which can turn a child's life around. It can explore the child to new possibilities and opportunities in life. A teacher whose teachings are inspired by these great minds, can make immense contributions to education.

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