Harekala Hajabba was in a line on a ration shop when authorities informed him that he got Padma Shri
Harekala Hajabba, an illiterate fruit vendor who built a school in his village won the Padma Shri Award for his selfless services in providing education to the children for over 20 years.
Hailing from India's Karnataka, Hajabba, 64, set up a school in his village, Newpadupu for children through his earning from selling oranges in this Port City.
He initially set up "Hajabba School" in a community mosque and later moved it to Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat Higher Primary School with the help of locals and the government, reports NDTV.
"Harekala Hajabba was in a line on a ration shop when authorities informed him that he got Padma Shri," wrote Kaswan in a tweet that has been 'liked' by nearly 6,000 people since it was shared.
Harekala Hajabba's village, Newpadapu, did not have a school until he saved money from his meager earnings to set one up in 2000, according to BBC.
As the number of students grew, he even took out loans and used his savings to buy land for the school.
Hajabba, who has never received a formal education, revealed that it was an encounter with foreign tourists that led to his decision of starting a village school.
"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 of 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.
The story has also won hearts on Twitter. Affectionately known as Akshara Santa (The saint of letters), Hajabba now hopes that the government will set up a PU college in his village.