Meet the fruit seller from Karnataka who won Padma Shri in 2020
Bangalore : A Karnataka-based fruit seller has been named for the prestigious Padma Shri award for 2020. According to a tweet by Indian Forest Services officer Parveen Kaswan, the man was standing in a ration shop queue when he got to know that he has been chosen for India's fourth-highest civilian award.
"Harekala Hajabba was in a line on a ration shop when authorities informed him that he got #Padma Shri," wrote Parveen Kaswan in his tweet. "This fruit seller from Dakshin Kannada is educating poor children in his village of Newpadapu from a decade in a mosque," he said, adding that Mr Hajabba spent his own savings on the school.
Harekala Hajabba was in a line on a ration shop when authorities informed him that he got #Padma Shri. This fruit seller from Dakshin Kannada is educating poor children in his village of Newpadapu from a decade in a mosque. Doing all the efforts including spending his savings. pic.twitter.com/rufL3RZ15o— Parveen Kaswan, IFS (@ParveenKaswan) January 26, 2020
According to a report by BBC, his village did not have any school until he started one in 2000 by the savings he managed by selling fruits. As the number of students increased, he even took the loan and spent all of his earnings to buy land for the school.
Hajabba explained that he has never taken a formal education, but one of his encounters with the foreign tourists led him to the decision of opening a school in his village.
"The couple were asking me the price of oranges, but then I did not understand. Despite my best efforts, I could not talk in anything besides Tulu and Beary language. The couple walked away. I felt very bad and felt that at least the children from my own village should not be in a similar situation. I realised the manner in which communication can help one to progress in life, and at the same time bring people together," he said to The News Minute.
Affectionately known as 'Akshara Santa' (The saint of letters), Hajabba now hopes that the government will set up a PU college in his village.