In order to mark the birth bicentenary of Louis Braille,the inventor of the Braille script,Mumbai-based Blind Persons Association (BPA) on Saturday felicitated people who have significantly contributed in promoting Braille literature.
The felicitated people included editors of Braille periodicals,Braille transcribers,authors of various books pertaining to development of Braille,as well as those involved in education of the blind and in repairing Braillers (machines used for writing in Braille script) and other writing equipments for the blind.
The BPA caters to the needs of non-institutionalised blind persons. It provides educational assistance,free distribution of educational material,medical assistance,self-employment projects,recreational programmes,equipment bank for the blind and counselling services.
On the occasion,the association also organised an essay competition for blind students on the topic The Social Implication of the Invention of Braille System.
Shanta Narsian,general secretary of BPA said,The year 2009-10 is being celebrated all over the world as the birth bicentenary of Louis Braille,who opened the door of knowledge for millions of blind and visually impaired individuals. We want to show our gratitude to all those who have helped better the lives of the blind.
Among those who were felicitated was 55-year-old Pramod Bane,a Parel resident,who is the sole Brailler mechanic in Maharashtra. Around 20 years ago,Bane,a former mechanical engineer,repaired a defunct Brailler,which his wife,a volunteer at the Smt Kamala Nehru School for the Blind at Dadar,had brought from the institute.
Bane has been repairing Brailler and other equipment for the blind at minimal costs ever since. It feels good to be appreciated for your work. Not much has changed in the design of the Braillers since I started working in this field, said Bane. He added that he received Brailler machines from as far as Dhule and Ahmednagar.
Bane has played an instrumental role in restarting the printing press of the National Association for Blind (NAB) that had stopped working due to mechanical glitches around three years ago. Besides,Bane has also designed models of railway stations,post offices etc. for blind students.
Dr Prem Bhargav,editor of Braille science quarterly magazine Vigyaan Bharati said there were few magazines which catered to the blind and visually impaired. Mumbai-based Vigyaan Bharati,which was started nine years ago by Prem Bharagava and her husband Dr Vijay Bhargava,is a collection of articles from different science periodicals and has circulation all over India. Swagar Thorat,the editor of the only Braille Diwali ank Sparsh Dyaan,Braille teacher Swarna Ahuja,and some transcribers were among others to be felicitated.