DH Latest NewsDH NEWSKarnatakaLatest NewsIndiaNEWSEducation

‘Illiterate’ orange vendor to ‘Padma Shri Hajabba’ – man who brought revolutionary changes in rural…


Harekala Hajabba, a 68-year-old orange vendor from Mangaluru, Karnataka became a star of the day, as he received India’s fourth-highest civilian award, the Padma Shri, from President Ram Nath Kovind for his efforts in bringing revolutionary changes in rural education. This man had built a primary school in his village Harekala-Newpadpu, with his earnings of Rs 150 per day.


Hajabba, who sells oranges at Mangaluru bus depot since 1977, is illiterate and has never been to school, neither did he have any kind of formal education. His life changed the day when a foreign tourist asked him the price of an orange in English, and he could not understand what had been said and felt embarrassed and depressed. ‘I only know Kannada, not English or Hindi. So I was depressed as I could not help the foreigner. As I could not communicate with the foreigner, I felt bad and wondered about constructing a school in my village’, Hajabba was quoted by ANI.


Hajabba’s dream was realised only after two decades, after he approached former MLA late UT Fareed, who sanctioned the construction in the year 2000. The Akshara Santa (Letter Saint), a title that he earned through his philanthropic work, came true as he invested all his life savings and started a school on one acre of land. The school had 28 students when it started, and now accommodates 175 students until Class 10. He has also requested Prime Minister Modi to construct a pre-university college (for Class 11 and 12 students) in the village.



Hajabba further said that he wants to invest the prize money that he has received from winning various awards in these many years in the construction of more schools in his village. He also 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 recognising his philanthropic work, and awarding him with the honour.

Also read: India’s first woman Air Marshal Dr Padma Bandopadhyay conferred with Padma Shri


It was declared in January 2020 that Harekala Hajabba would receive the Padma Shri award, but the ceremony could not be held earlier due to Covid pandemic, and the awards were distributed on Monday.


Post Your Comments

Back to top button