A fair chance

Braille guides are introduced at the Book Fair

Published - September 05, 2012 08:34 pm IST - MADURAI:

WORTHY INITIATIVE: Braille guides for visually challenged. Photo:S. James

WORTHY INITIATIVE: Braille guides for visually challenged. Photo:S. James

Visually challenged school students are now one step closer to competing with their mainstream counterparts with the arrival of the Braille version of the Konar guide to Tamil textbooks.

Palaniappa Brothers, the publishers, have taken the initiative and printed the guide at the Indian Association for the Blind (IAB) Press. The guides for 10th and 12th Standards have come out in eight and seven volumes, respectively. The 10th Standard guide costs Rs.1,362 and the 12th Standard guide costs Rs.1,394.

Though a little pricey, the guides will be of great use for students. “If the visually challenged have to succeed in examinations, all the facilities and study materials accessible to the mainstream students should also be made available to these challenged students,” says N. Ramani, one of the editors of Vizhi Savaal, a Braille magazine published by the IAB. The magazine provides a platform for the visually challenged to express their creative ability. “Almost 90 per cent of the articles in the magazine are contributed by the visually challenged,” he says. “There are retired professors, students and experts in our list of contributors.” From computer applications to human rights issues, poems and essays, the magazine throws light on varied topics. The IAB has also released children’s books and textbooks in Braille. “It would be easy for us to release the textbooks in Braille on the day Government releases its textbooks, if we get the Unicode software from them in advance,” says Ramani.

Palaniappa Brothers have also entrusted the job of bringing out M. Sivalingam’s Computer Iyakka Muraigal and Minnanjal books in Braille to the IAB. The latest on their list is the Vivega Chinthamani, an anthology of poems. As part of the centenary celebrations of Srinivasa Ramanujan, the life history of the great mathematician is also in press.

“Text to speech software is a big boon for the visually challenged,” says Ramani. “They can now type letters on their own without any assistance. Even if there is any mistake they can correct it with the help of this software,” he adds. So far, the IAB has released 70 Braille books including the Kriya Tamil Tharkala Tamil Dictionary in 53 volumes and the Tirukkural text, Tamil commentary and English translation.

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