When Joseph Stalin finally agreed to meet the new Indian Ambassador at 9 pm, the staff at Kremlin were surprised. Stalin was not known to give any time to foreign envoys.
It was the peak of Cold War in 1950’s and India was trying to find its place in the global affairs. So when Prime Minister Nehru picked the new Ambassador for Stalin’s USSR, he went for one of India’s most recognized and influential thinkers. And a great teacher.
Stalin had a lot of questions. On India’s landholding laws, autonomy of it’s army and if Colombo was a part of India. The Ambassador patiently answered all the questions and in a quiet moment, politely suggested that the USSR must take the initiative to end the Cold War.
Stalin pulled out his cigar and firmly said “It takes two hands to clap and there is another side responsible too!’
The Ambassador calmly replied “As a peace-loving country, the Soviet Union should withdraw its own hand as it takes two hands to clap.”
The staff had never seen Stalin at a loss for words.
When Dr. S Radhakrishnan made a point, kings and commoners were compelled to listen. He interpreted western thoughts through the lens of Indian philosophy in a simple and impactful manner.
And that is why he held the prestigious chairs of Banaras Hindu University and Oxford with equal ease.
The Legend of the Great Teacher started much earlier, though. When he was finally leaving the Maharajah College of Mysore in the late 1920’s, his students made him sit in a decorated horse carriage that had no horses. They carried him all the way to the railway station taking the place of horses.
A selfless, great teacher is loved and respected forever!