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Karnataka orange-seller Harekala Hajabba inspires by starting a school with his meagre savings – awarded Padma Shri

Padma Shri awardee Harekala Hajabba, who is a orange seller, put all his meagre savings to start a school for children (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@Rammohan_M_Rai)

Realising the value of education, even though he himself is unlettered, Harekala Hajabba of Karnataka’s Mangalore, invested all his life’s savings into starting a school for children in his region.

What makes Hajabba’s story inspiring for all is the fact that this 68-year-old man is a fruit seller and with his earnings of Rs.150 daily, he built a primary school. The nation recognised his immense contribution to the society as the President, Ram Nath Govind, awarded him the country’s fourth-highest civilian award, the Padma Shri yesterday.

According to Better India, an incident in his life, became a turning point for Hajabba. Two decades ago, this orange seller was deeply embarrassed, when he was unable to convey to foreign tourists the price of the fruit he was selling. 

The reason for this was that he had no formal education and knew only Tulu and Beary languages. Recalling that episode, he told the media: “I was embarrassed that I could not tell the price of a fruit I had been selling for years.”

Newpadapu, the village from Hajabba hails, never had a school and therefore, several generations there were bereft of formal education and thus remained unlettered like him. Following his interaction with the foreign tourists, the fruit vendor in 2000 decided to invest all his life savings to start a school in one acre of land.

Talking about his initiative, he observed: “I had never had the opportunity to access education, and I did not want the children in the village to suffer the same fate.”

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