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Tuesday, January 18 2022

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Hajabba was in queue outside ration shop when ‘Padma Award’ knocked at his doorstep!

Mangaluru: ‘Akshara Santha’ Harekala Hajabba gas been accorded highest civilian award Padma Shri. The ‘Saint of Letters’ has bagged many awards and recognitions so far, but nothing could ever take away the simplicity.

“I was waiting in a queue outside ‘ration shop’ (Fair Price Shop) when they called me to tell me that I have been selected for Padma Shri,” Hajabba said. Yes, Hajabba was waiting in the queue to give his thumb impression to get his ration items on Saturday, January 25.

After receiving felicitation for being selected for the Padma Shri award, during the district level Republic Day celebration at Nehru Maidan, Hajabba spoke to the mediapersons and said, “As the caller spoke in Hindi language, I could not understand what they were saying. Hence, I asked an auto-rickshaw driver of my village to speak to them. Though he spoke, all he could understand that I was chosen for an award by the government. I came to know about the value and the reputation of the award only after some mediapersons approached me to inform about the award,” Hajabba, who was now that he does not know to speak in Hindi or English.

” When A B Ibrahim was Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada district, he recommended to the government to provide me with the same award. Later, I forgot about it and I continued my work. As the government has selected me for the award this time, I am very grateful to them. I also thank media, which shed light upon my personal life and made me a hero,” he added.

When asked whether he would wear ‘suit-boot’ while receiving the award Hajabba said, ” I am an ordinary man and I would never bid farewell to my original attire dhoti and shirt. It is my trademark and there is no question of wearing ‘suit-boot’ at any cost. Even though I had been abroad, I never said goodbye to my original attire.”

Though Hajabba is an illiterate person, he understood the value of education and thus poured all his earning from selling oranges at Central Market in the city into a government school in his village.

Hajabba, who says that he was once embarrassed when a few foreigners asked him the price of the oranges that he was selling and he could not reply, that prompted him to make sure that no child in his village and outside remains deprived from learning.

He started a school in his village at Newpadpu in 1999 and since then has been toiling relentlessly to run the school. Later, he was succeeded to be granted a High School in his village after former minister U T Khader became MLA for the first time in 2007.

Now, he dreams of having a PU College and an ITI College in his village.

Hajabba was in queue outside ration shop when 'Padma Award' knocked at his doorstep!

Ganesh Mavanji

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