Padma Shri To Karnataka Orange Seller Who Started School In His Village

India   |   Published : 28 Jan 2020 11:49 AM GMT / Updated : 2020-01-28T18:21:59+05:30
Padma Shri To Karnataka Orange Seller Who Started School In His Village

Image Credits: Parveen Kaswan/Twitter

Harekala Hajabba, popularly known as 'Akshara Santha' (the saint of alphabets) has spent a decade in providing education to the village children in a mosque.

The selfless service of an orange seller from Karnataka has earned him the Padma Shri, one of the civilian honours given by the Indian government.

The 68-year-old Harekala Hajabba, popularly known as 'Akshara Santha' (the saint of alphabets) has been providing education to the village children in a mosque for over a decade.

The orange seller was standing in line at a ration shop when he received the news that he had been chosen as an awardee tweeted, Indian Forest Service Officer Parveen Kaswan.

Dakshina Kannada-based Hajabba hails from the village of Newpadapu near Mangalore, has not received any formal education but that did not deter him in making efforts to educate the children of his village.

Newpadapu did not have a school, so Hajabba used the premises in a mosque to provide basic education to the students. With a meagre earning of about โ‚น150 a day, it was hardly possible for him to start a school. But determined to educate children he opted for loans and spent whatever savings he had to set up a primary school in the year 2000.

It was an encounter with two foreign tourists that initially led him to take up the initiative of opening a new school.

Recounting the experience that fueled his intention, he told The News Minute that the couple was asking him the price of the oranges which he could not comprehend. "Despite my best efforts, I could not talk in anything besides Tulu and Beary language. The couple walked away. I felt very bad, and felt that at least the children from my village should not be in a similar situation. I realised the manner in which communication can help one to progress in life, and at the same time bring people together," he said.

His efforts led to the building of Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat Higher Primary School in his village. A humble heart, he still wakes up early in the morning to sweep the school premises and boils drinking water for the students and faculty treating the campus as his own home.

Twitterati hailed the honouring of this gamechanger.



Hajaba was awarded the 'Person of the year' by Kannada Prabha newspaper in 2004 and 'Real Heroes' award by CNN-IBN in 2009. The story of his life has also found its way into the syllabus of many universities in Karnataka.

The students in his village discontinue after 10th standard since there is no provision for higher education so Hajabba hopes that the government starts a Pre University College soon.

Also Read: Meet Padma Shri Awardee 'Chacha Sharif', Who Has Cremated 25000 Unclaimed Bodies

Suggest a correction

    Help Us Correct

    To err is human, to help correct is humane
    Identified a factual or typographical error in this story? Kindly use this form to alert our editors
  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Form Submitted Successfully
    Error in submitting form. Try again later
Next Story