New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: On November 8, Harekala Hajabba, received the Padma Shri, one of the highest civilian awards of India from Ram Nath Kovind the President of India. Hajabba received the award for making contributions to the sector of education.

Harekala Hajabba is an orange seller from Mangalore in Karnataka. The 69-year-old saved money from his vendor business to build a high school in his village. In the year, 2020, Hajabba was named as one of the recipients of the prestigious Padma Shri Award.

About 20 years ago, Harekala was caught in a moment where he could not tell foreign tourists the prices of the fruits he was selling. He wasn't aware of the language due to the lack of education and school in his village. Deprived of his fundamental rights, Hajabba decided to contribute to the sector of education.

He invested all his life savings into starting a school in village Newpadapu in the year 2000. He even took loans to secure the future of students in his village. he made sure that, the children of his village will never have to face the embarrassment that he had faced.

Hajabba has been conferred many awards, the 'Real Heroes' award by CNN IBN and Reliance Foundation. He was also named Person Of The Year by Kannada Prabha, a leading Kannada-language newspaper.

Social activist and writer Ismath Pajeer have published a book on Hajabba's life, titled 'Harekala Hajabbara Jeevana Charitre' (The life story of Harekala Hajabba). The life history of Hajabba has been included in the syllabus of Mangalore University. The British Broadcasting Corporation published an article on Hajabba with the title "Unlettered fruit-seller's Indian education dream" in November 2012

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' (letter-saint). Hajabba's next dream is to build a Pre-University college in his village.

Posted By: Ashita Singh