Harekala Hajabba is an orange vendor who is not currently hitting the headlines because of his amazing act. He is settled in Karnataka’s Mangalore and another reason behind he is being so famous today is because he has recently received Padma Shri Award. Not only it is a very prestigious award but also is famously known to be India’s fourth-highest civilian award. Harekala received the award from the President of India in the national capital on Monday.
The 66-year-old orange seller received this award for bringing a revolution in rural education. He helped in constructing a school in Harekala-Newpadpu village in Mangalore. The recently built a school that has 175 underprivileged students who are located in the same village. Mr. Hajabba, who has been selling oranges at Mangalore bus depot for years has started in 1977 and is illiterate as he has never been to school. He always wanted to bring revolution to the education system in his village.
He got the idea back in 1978 when a foreigner asked him the cost of oranges that he was selling. “As I could not communicate with the foreigner, I felt bad and decided to build a school in the village,” the orange vendor told ANI. “I only know Kannada, not English or Hindi. So I was depressed as I could not help the foreigner. I wondered about constructing a school in my village,” he then stated. He wanted to construct a school and it was realized only after two decades. The Akshara Santa (Letter Saint), is the title that he earned through his philanthropic work. He approached former MLA late UT Fareed, who sanctioned the construction back in the year 2000. When the school began it had only 28 students.
Now there are 175 students in the school and the school accommodates students until Class 10. Now, the Padma Shri awardee wants to invest the prize money that he has received after winning various awards. From all these years he has been getting awards which he will use to build more schools in his village. The 66-year-old man said, “My target is to build more schools and colleges in my village. Many people have donated money and I have accumulated prize money for purchasing the land for the construction of schools and colleges.”
“I have requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to construct a pre-university college (for Class 11 and 12 students) in my village,” he said. He thanked President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, district in-charge minister Kota Srinivasa Poojary and MLA UT Khadar for acknowledging his work. The Central government has now announced the names of Padma Awardees back in January 2020.