Students of the government school promoted by Harekala Hajabba at New Padpu in Harekala rejoiced as they watched him receiving Padma Shri award from President Ram Nath Kovind live from Delhi on Monday.
The school had made the arrangement to enable students and teachers to watch the live programme of presenting of the national civil awards. The students clapped and shared the enjoyment.
Mr. Hajabba, in his 60s, had been eking out a living by selling oranges at Central Market in the city. One day, a foreigner asked him the price of a kg of oranges. He could not answer as he did not know English. Mr. Hajabba did not want the children of his Harekala village, on the outskirts of Mangaluru, to face a similar situation and decided to open a primary school.
The school began in a madrasa on June 17, 2000. Later, it became a government school and the high school section was opened in 2007. Mr. Hajabba built the school with grants from the government, companies and from donors. Initially, he contributed ₹5,000, which was his savings from selling oranges. Now, it boasts Classes I to X.
Mr. Hajabba’s achievement has become a subject of study in undergraduate courses in Mangaluru, Davangere and Kuvempu universities. In addition, Kannada-medium schools in Kerala have been teaching about him to Class VIII and Class X students. He has won various awards and used the money he won for the school itself.
Meanwhile, seer of Udupi Pejawar Mutt Vishwaprasanna Tirtha received the Padma Vibhushan award from Mr. Kovind, posthumously given to his senior Vishwesha Tirtha. The seer received the award in honour of the senior seer.
Sri Vishwesha Tirtha Swamiji passed away on December 29, 2019. The 88- year-old seer was chosen for the award for his service in the field of spiritualism.