Herekala Hajabba, an orange seller from Karnataka is one of those who will be honoured with the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2020. According to a tweet by Indian Forest Services officer Parveen Kaswan, the 68-year-old recipient was standing in line at a ration shop when he received the news that he had been chosen for India's fourth highest civilian honour.
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
The tweet revealed that the fruit seller who hails from Dakshin Kannada has been educating poor children for a decade in a mosque in his village of Newpadapu. The tweet added that he has put all the efforts he could, including his savings, for children’s education.
According to international media, Hajabba’s village, Newpadapu did not have any school until he saved money from his meagre earnings to open one. After he set up the school in 2000, the number of students grew. This prompted him to take loans and spend all his saving in order to buy more land for the school.
In an interview to media, Hajabbas revealed that he himself did not have any formal education but an encounter with foreign tourists led to his decision of starting a school. Elaborating on the encounter, he said that once a foreign couple asked him for the price of oranges but he wasn’t able to understand even after putting his best efforts. He added that he could only speak two languages Tulu and Beary and the couple walked away. He revealed that he felt very bad and decided that no children in his village should face similar situations. He further said at that moment he realised that the manner in which communication can help progress in life and at the same time bring people together.