September 5 Teacher's Day is usually remembered by anyone who's attended school in India with some degree of fondness.
Teacher's Day is that day of the year when students get to play teacher - and teach their teachers. September 5, the birthday of Independent India's second President, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975), is celebrated as Teacher's Day in India since 1962.
Radhakrishnan believed that teachers should be the best minds in the country. The reason behind the celebration of Teacher's Day in India is anecdotal. It is said that when Radhakrishnan became the President of India, his friends and students requested that they be allowed to celebrate his birthday. To this, Radhakrishnan replied, "Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if 5 September is observed as Teacher's Day."
Dr. Radhakrishnan, whose birthday is celebrated as Teacher's Day in India, was of course himself a teacher. In 1909, he joined the philosophy department of Madras Presidency College and in 1918 he moved to the University of Mysore to teach philosophy. In 1921, Radhakrishnan moved to the University of Calcutta as professor of philosophy and in 1926 he represented the university at the Congress of the Universities of the British Empire. In the same year, he also represented the university at the International Congress of Philosophy at Harvard University. Radhakrishnan went on to teach at the University of Oxford in Britain. He served as the vice-chancellor of Andhra University from 1931-36 and occupied the same post at the Banaras Hindu University from 1939-48.
Google has marked the occasion with a Teacher's Day doodle that portrays the various kinds of teachers every student encounters in school. The uppercase letter 'G' plays the role of a stern bespectacled teacher - that one who caught you dozing in class and the one whose strict invigilation kept students from cheating during examinations. The letter 'o' portrays the mathematics teacher while the next 'o' is the teacher every student loved - the one who taught languages. The language teacher is surrounded by o-shaped students who appear to be paying rapt attention as the teacher reads out a gripping story from a literature textbook.
The next letter 'g' is a sports teacher, who is holding a basketball. Although several students in India play basketball, the choice of sport for this doodle still seems a little odd considering that other sports are more popular among Indian students. We sought an explanation for this and found that Google has used the same doodle twice earlier this year. This was used for Teacher's Day in Mexico (May 15, 2014) and in Peru (July 6, 2014), where basketball may be more popular than in India.
The lowercase 'l' in Google's Teacher's Day doodle portrays the chemistry teacher, who would try to teach you to identify various chemicals through their odour and whose job involved ensuring that you didn't end up with a nasty burn injury. Finally, the letter 'e' is a music teacher. This teacher appears to be an orchestra conductor, which again points to Google's re-use of the doodle. A more localised version would probably show a teacher playing the sitar or a harmonium.