Classic Marathi literature will now be available in Braille for students. Under a project initiated by the Rotary Club of Pune,Parvati,over 32 titles from Marathi literature that have not yet been transcribed will be made available to visually challenged students across the state.
On Monday,at the Ruia Mook Badhir College,SP College premises on Tilak Road historian and writer Babasaheb Purandare launched 18 new titles. Among the books that were launched are Shiv Charitra by Babasaheb Purandare,Sane Gurujis Shyamchi Aai and novels by Mahadevshastri Joshi.
The first phase of the project was initiated in March this year when 14 books other than regular textbooks were transcribed for children between the age group of 5-15 years. Project in-charge Dilip Sohani said,We found that there was very few literature available for visually challenged,hence the move. Some 3,500 pages were transcribed in the first phase,while the second phase will see 9,000 pages. These books are being distributed to government blind schools across the state. For now,the project has mapped around 40 schools where the books will be sent.
We have already sent the books to schools in Pune,Mumbai,Nagpur,Sholapur,Kolhapur and Miraj among others, said Sohani. In Pune,the books will be available at The Poona School and Home for the Blind in Kothrud,Pune School and Home for the Blind Trust,Koregaon Park and Jagruti School for Blind Girls,Alandi. Each school will receive two copies of one title.
The club is planning to transcribe Ramayana and Mahabharata by Marathi writer T G Bapat in the third phase. The transcription from print to Braille was done by Umesh Jaere,a robotics professional. Jaere has developed a software called Pragyachakshu that can transcribe books into braille faster. A normal transcription for say a 50-page book takes three months,but we do it in four days. This has improved our efficiency a lot, he said.
The work was completed in six months. While most of the funds are being generated by the club members,they have also got a grant of Rs 50,000 from Rotary District 3131,the clubs district level centre. All the books have been transcribed after permissions from publishers and authors. The best thing is that not even one person has asked for royalties, said Sohani.