70-odd teams participate in the car rally for the blind

There are not many days when the visually challenged get to guide the sighted. At the annual car rally for the blind, organised here on Sunday, that was precisely what happened. In the rally, the drivers, who had volunteered to take part in the event, and the visually impaired navigator were mutually dependant on each other.

Instructions in Braille

The navigator read out the instructions, which were in Braille, for the driver to follow the rally route. The first such rally was held in Mumbai in 1988. Chennai followed suit in 1989. Since its inception here, the event is being organised by the National Association for the Blind in partnership with the Madras Motor Sports Club.

Terming the rally as a truly inclusive sporting event, Prema Venkateswaran, secretary of the Association's Tamilnadu chapter, said that the basic idea was to bring together the visually impaired and the sighted in an equal partnership.

The rally, which saw the participation of 70-odd teams, covered a distance of 59 km. Even the driver's speed is monitored by the navigator. “We want to make people aware of how easy it is to communicate with the visually impaired. Many regular participants have become friends for life,” said Ms. Venkateswaran.

Priya Krishnaswamy, who had participated in previous rallies as a driver, said “Once you listen to a visually challenged person and trust their ability, you get to understand their world a bit. The rally was an eye-opener.” The event was flagged off by actor Karthi.

Quiz competition

The valedictory function of a State level quiz competition for the visually challenged, organised by Nethrodaya, was held here on Sunday.

The team from Madurai were adjudged the winners and Madras High Court judge K. N. Basha presented the prizes.