Karnataka's Harekala Hajabba, an orange vendor, honoured with Padma Shri. Here's why

Hajabba has educated more than 2,000 children by building a government primary school and high school in his village in Mangaluru
Harekala Hajabba receiving the Padma Shri from President Ram Nath Kovind
Harekala Hajabba receiving the Padma Shri from President Ram Nath Kovind

Harekala Hajabba, popularly known as Akshara Santha across Karnataka, was honoured with the Padma Shri award on November 8, 2021, by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. He was actually declared recipient of the civilian award on January 25, 2020. 

Hajabba received a letter from the Government of India which read that he would receive the award from the President in March 2020 but it was delayed due to the pandemic. But recently, over a year and half later, he received the call inviting him to travel to Delhi to attend the ceremony and receive the Padma Shri. 

If you are wondering who Hajabba is, he is an orange vendor who has done way more than sell oranges. He built a government primary school and high school in Harekala, a village in Mangaluru, with the money that he had saved and donations made by individuals and politicians. 

After receiving the award, this humble man who dreams of building a college in his village as well, said, "The Padma Shri award is not just an honour for me.  It is an honour for my school as well as thousands of individuals and government officials who helped me in every way to improve my school infrastructure and the quality of education here. I also thank both the state and central government for recognising my efforts and contributions to educating children."

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