Padma Shri To Karnataka Orange Seller Who Started School In His Village
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.
Harekala Hajabba was in a line on a ration shop when authorities informed him that he got #Padma Shri. This fruit seller from Dakshin Kannada is educating poor children in his village of Newpadapu from a decade in a mosque. Doing all the efforts including spending his savings. pic.twitter.com/rufL3RZ15o— Parveen Kaswan, IFS (@ParveenKaswan) January 26, 2020
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 ₹150 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.
May the people of your kind thrive... Thank You sir! https://t.co/P8EN9xtkDd— Biswanath Kar (@bishu_pagla) January 28, 2020
Meet The Orange Seller From Karnataka Who Won Padma Shri..🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 https://t.co/tnBdcJDDWo— Ranganathan Madhavan (@ActorMadhavan) January 27, 2020
BRILLIANT news ... An orange seller, #HarekalaHajabba— Girish Johar (@girishjohar) January 28, 2020
from Karnataka gets a Padma Shri for teaching the poor...he use to spend all his savings on children, teaching them in a mosque ! BRAVO ! 💫💕#JaiHind 🇮🇳#PadmaShri #PadmaAwards2020 pic.twitter.com/jRTIuIS0JB
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.