Image Source: tulunadunews, thehindu
Harekala Hajabba is an orange vendor in the city of Mangalore, Karnataka, and a well-known social reformer. He is known for the revolution he has brought in rural education within his state. He kept part of his savings from selling oranges, to start a school in the region he came from so that the children there could get educated. Today, the school, which has grown with government support and donations from private individuals, is known as Hajabba School. He is affectionately known as ‘ Akshara Santa’ (The saint of letters) in Mangalore city.
His Motivation Behind Opening the school
Daily, he takes a trip of 25 km to Mangaluru city from his native place Newpadupu village to sell oranges. Once he encountered a foreign couple, who asked him the prices of oranges Hajaba turned numb and felt embarrassed as he was not able to understand their language. This Incident affected Hajaba very emotionally and he pledged to put forth a primary school for the children of his village to educate them as he himself was not educated.
How the school started and the struggle
He spent his lifetime savings to build a school in his village, it brought a revolution in the arena of rural education.And all these didn’t come as easy as we talk about it. The altruistic man kept saving money for 15 years from his every day earning to support the cause.
Starting with mere 28 students and a strong desire to literate every child in the village, Hajaba began the school at a Madrasa-an educational premise most often in premises of a Mosque. With no intentions to halt just yet the man rendered all his efforts towards convincing the government to sanction land for building a proper school as the small premise wasn’t fulfilling all the needs. He kept pursuing the government offices to get the land for the school and finally in 2000 the primary school started functioning in its full fledge.
Further, Hajaba worked diligently to upgrade the school to high school in June 2011 and in June 2014, the dream came true as ‘Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat Higher Primary School’. The high school came into force as a result of government support and funding from some private individuals.
His Present Condition
Hajaba fall prey to depression as he had spent all his savings for the school and hence couldn’t afford a repair of his house. Pertaining to the ill health Hajaba was admitted to the hospital, then the President of Union Christian Association (UCA) Alban Menezes was informed by Hajaba’s son about the scenario who gifted a 15 lakh house to the man spending 13.5 lakh on his own and the remaining 1.5 lakh was collected from UCA members.On receiving such an overwhelming response, Hajabba said, “I never dreamt of living a house worth Rs 15 lakh in my life. Today, I am extremely happy, thankful and I pray for the well-being of the donors who built me a house. I am an ordinary man and I have not earned a single rupee for myself.”
The Logical Indian Community salutes remarkable efforts by Hajaba, a man who still sweeps in his own established school and the person who doesn’t even own a single chair there, and feels obliged to him for taking up issues as pivotal as rural education which the government must have taken up way earlier.