Teacher`s Day: Abdul Kalam to Pranab Mukherjee, politicians who were teachers

  • Naincy
  • Tuesday | 5th September, 2017

As we celebrate Teachers` Day, a look at some powerful politicians in the country who started out as teachers. 

It is said that “one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world”, true isn’t? If a person can engage a room full of kids and help them learn in the process, who would say they can’t take over the world. Wondering how? Well, the politicians in the Indian history are the perfect examples of the above statement.

So, as we celebrate this Teacher’s Day, let’s take a glance at six Indian leaders, who have worked as teachers prior to their political careers. Their stories are great examples of how important teachers are to our country.

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

India’s first Vice President and the second President, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan had an extensive career as a teacher. From 1918-1921, he was the professor of philosophy at Mysore University. From 1921–1931 and 1937 to 1944, he was appointed as King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta. In 1931, he was knighted. He is well known for his commentaries on the Prasthana Trayi, the Bhagavadgita, the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra. From 1931 to 1936, he was Vice-Chancellor of Andhra Pradesh University. In 1936, he taught eastern religions and ethics at Oxford University. He was the first Indian to be appointed the Vice Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University. 


Mayawati, the 17th Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, began her career as a school teacher in Inderpuri JJ Colony, New Delhi. It was her speaking skills and ideas which impressed SC&ST politician Kanshi Ram when he visited her family home in 1977. Kanshi Ram included her as a member of his team when he founded the 
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 1984. 

Mulayam Singh Yadav

The former Samajwadi Party president, Mulayam Singh Yadav is a trained teacher and initially worked as a lecturer in Karhail in Uttar Pradesh. He is also a celebrated wrestler. Yadav served three non-consecutive terms as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.

Shivraj Patil

The former union home affairs minister and Lok Sabha speaker, Shivraj Patil was a lecturer at Bombay University.

Subramanian Swamy

Subramanian Swamy was a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi where he taught Mathematical Economics before he came into politics.

Tathagata Roy

Not many of us know that Tathagat Roy, the former Governor of Tripura was a teacher apart from being an engineer and an author. He taught engineering students at Jadavpur University before starting his political career.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

India’s 11th President and a great scientist, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, was a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Management at Shillong Ahmedabad, and Indore and an honorary fellow of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He taught information technology at the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad and technology at Banaras Hindu University and Anna University and various other institutions.

Dr. Manmohan Singh

Before he became the 14th Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh was a teacher. He taught in several establishments including Punjab University, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi and the Jawaharlal Nehru University. 

Pranab Mukherjee

India`s 13th President, Pranab Mukherjee was a professor in a college in West Bengal`s Birbhum District. He also tried journalism before becoming a member of Rajya Sabha.

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