Madurai

Good turnout at Braille bookstall

A BRAVE NEW WORLD: A visually challenged woman browsing a book at Madurai Book Fair on Friday. Photo: S. James

A BRAVE NEW WORLD: A visually challenged woman browsing a book at Madurai Book Fair on Friday. Photo: S. James   | Photo Credit: S_James

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A separate stall for Braille books, set up for the first time at Madurai Book Fair by Indian Association for the Blind (IAB), has been witnessing considerable footfall.

S. Manjula, a joint secretary at the IAB and the person in-charge of the Braille press run by the association, said many visitors were surprised to see a stall exclusively for Braille books. “Years ago, Braille reading was not very popular among visually challenged children. Now, there is a considerable demand for Braille-printed books. But many don’t know where to buy them. That is where these stalls help,” she said.

Many schools that were visiting the fair had taken down their details for ordering books for their libraries or the visually challenged children.

Ms. Manjula said the demand was high for school textbooks. “Though books are printed and distributed free of cost by the National Institute for the Visually Handicapped (NIVH), they are not easily available. Hence, many people come to us,” she said.

Apart from textbooks, Braille versions of novels by popular authors such as Jayakanthan, Sujatha, Imaiyam and Azha. Valliyappa were also on sale.

The stall also sold two Braille-printed monthly magazines – ‘Vizhichavaal’, containing essays, poems and stories written by visually challenged children from all over Tamil Nadu, and ‘Braille Manjari’, a compilation of selected essays that appeared in popular newspapers and magazines that month.

G. Ramanathan, a visitor from Kochadai, said he was pleasantly surprised by the books available in the stall. “I did not expect such a stall here. I am buying a few story books for a visually challenged girl in my neighbourhood,” he said.

S. Vijayalakshmi, who works with the IAB, said even many people who were not visually challenged visited the stall out of curiosity. “We have small boards showing Tamil and English alphabets and their Braille equivalents, and they try to touch and learn a few letters,” she said.

The book fair at Tamukkam Ground is open till Monday.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 8:22:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/Good-turnout-at-Braille-bookstall/article14639921.ece

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