A Tamil dictionary in Braille format, claimed to be the first of its kind, was released here by N. Lakshmi Narayanan, Vice-Chairman, Cognizant, on Friday. The Cre-A: Tamil Dictionary in Braille has been brought out by the Madurai-based Indian Association for the Blind (IAB), with funding support from Cognizant Foundation.

Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan hailed the dictionary as the first step in the pursuit of knowledge by the visually challenged and was hopeful the IAB would be a role model and symbol for other service organisations.

He also distributed free copies of the dictionary to 40 institutions from all over the State. S. Madhavan, Chief Executive Officer, Cognizant Foundation, thanked Cre-A for offering free copyright for the work that would benefit the visually challenged people. The funding of the Braille dictionary project, he said, was a “departure from our own charter” as assistance had been provided in previous years only for creation of assets.

A. Jeya Prakash, president, IAB, congratulated the team that finished the work within half the time of the stipulated period. He looked forward to see the publication of ‘Tirumandiram' and ‘Tiruvasagam' in Braille format.

I. Arivanandham, Regional Director, National Institute for the Visually Handicapped, felt that the dictionary would prove to be a meaningful contribution in the field of empowerment of visually challenged people. It was a commendable effort to mainstream these people.

The secretary-general of IAB, S. M. A. Jinnah, recalled how it was difficult to get even a piece of paper in Braille format a decade back. With support of Cognizant Foundation, government and philanthropists, it was now possible to bring out a voluminous work.

N. Ramani, Editor, Cre-A, described the Braille dictionary as a watershed in Tamil publishing history. A dictionary in Braille format was made possible by advancements in technology. A. Sermathai, joint secretary, IAB, proposed a vote of thanks.