To be a loco pilot, a movie star or someone rich and famous may be the stuff of childhood dreams. But it was the noble thought of writing a book for the visually challenged that drove Ashwin Thomas, a Class VIII student of Petit Seminaire Higher Secondary School, to bring out his first work in braille.
The 12-year-old’s book, ‘Imaginations that changed the world’, is a braille biography of seven inspiring scientists. Fittingly, the opening chapter is devoted to the life and achievements of Louis Braille, the French inventor of the raised dots script that helps the visually challenged to read.
Wilhelm C. Rontgen, James Watt, Benjamin Franklin, Galileo Galilei, Marie Curie and Louis Pasteur are the other scientists featured in the book.
“I hope to bring out more books on scientists to encourage the braille-reading habit among visually challenged people,” said Ashwin Thomas.
He has been recorded in Kalam’s Book of World Records as the youngest author to write a braille book.
The boy took inspiration from his father, Deepak Thomas, a dentist, who has brought out a few books in braille in English and Tamil.
“Some time ago, he had accompanied me to the launch of my braille book on Helen Keller. Back home, I asked him why he was lying awake so late into the night, and that was when my son revealed his plans on doing something similar,” Mr. Thomas said. “There are not many braille publishing houses, especially for the Tamil script,” he said.
Ashwin’s book was published at the press run by the Indian Association for the Blind in Madurai.
The book was launched by Rev. Fr. Pascal Raj, principal of the school, by handing over the first copy to Akilandeshwari Srinivasan, a visually challenged Assistant Professor of Bharathidasan Government College for Women.