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Dubai: What do Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and philanthropist Devarapalli Prakash Rao share in common?

The two started out as tea sellers.

While the former has chosen politics as a career and became the premier of the world’s biggest democratic nation, the latter has received a Padma Shri, one of the top civilian awards in India, given on the occasion of Republic Day.

Prakash Rao was selected from the Odisha quota for the honour.

His ancestors, originally from the Andhra region, made Odisha their home several generations ago.

Rao, who lives in a slum area in Buxi Bazar, has converted one of the two rooms in his house into a school for poor children.

He not only teaches the children, but also provides them free food.

Not just that. For over 40 years, he has been supplying hot water, milk, bread and food for poor patients at a nearby government hospital.

He earns about Rs600 (Dh31) daily by selling tea and snacks at a stall, but the humble man spends nearly half of this amount on helping others.

For his efforts, Prakash Rao has previously received several awards including the Human Rights Award.

He was specially mentioned on PM Modi’s Man Ki Baat programme for his services to society.

The selfless man has also donated blood 210 times.