Who is Harekala Hajabba, the orange vendor who won the Padma Shri for social work?

By: |
November 08, 2021 5:02 PM

On January 25, 2020 it was announced that Hajabba will be awarded with the Padma Shri award. However, the award function could not be held back then in wake of the COVID-19 situation.

On January 25, 2020 it was announced that Hajabba will be awarded with the Padma Shri award. However, the award function could not be held back then in wake of the COVID-19 situation.

Harekala Hajabba, a street vendor from Karnataka’s Mangalore, was on Monday awarded Padma Shri, the highest civilian award, by President Ram Nath Kovind for making contributions to the education sector. The 69-year-old saved money from his vendor business to build a high school in his village. Not just this, he has been contributing to its growth year after year.

On January 25, 2020 it was announced that Hajabba will be awarded with the Padma Shri award. However, the award function could not be held back then in wake of the COVID-19 situation.

A day before receiving Padma Shri, Hajabba, who sells oranges, was quoted by Republic World as saying that that he will “preserve this prestigious honour bestowed on me in my house along with other awards, mementos, and certificates that I received from more than 500 organisations.”

BJP national secretary Y Satya Kumar congratulated Hajabba on being awarded with the prestigious award. “A real hero. Meet Harekala Hajabba Ji. A illiterate fruit vendor who devoted his entire life and earning’s towards educating others. He also built a ‘Primary School’ for underprivileged children in his village. Congratulations to him on being conferred with #PadmaShri,” he tweeted.

The 69-year-old is popularly known as Akshara Santa which means Saint of letters. He always regretted for not being able to study as his village Newpadapu did not have any school. Taking up the challenge, Hajabba began his journey towards making the school in 1995.

He got the land for school and got approval from the education department too. His dream turned into reality when Dakshina Kannada zilla panchayat sanctioned a school in the year 1999.

Hajabba has been conferred many awards, including 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.

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