BRAILLE’S BOON FOR THE BLIND
Born in 1809, Louis Braille had lost his sight in a freak accident when he was just 3 year old! Yet he achieved what he wanted to. Though he was blind, he had opened the eyes of tens of thousands of blind all over the world!
At the school he could learn only by listening. At 10, he was admitted in the Royal School for the Blind Youth at Paris. Here again, the blind students had to listen to what was being taught verbally. Though books with raised letters that can be felt and read available, it failed to serve the purpose.
In the overall interest of all those deprived of sight, Braille wanted to develop it. When he was 12, he ran into a defence personnel by name Charles Barbie who had invented a code of just 12 dots, all raised like the present day screen printing. They were letters, words and numbers. A book he called as, ‘Night Writing.’ This was how the soldiers had passed on the information in the war front without talking that might betray their hideout. But it was rather tough to feel and understand the content. It kindled Braille’s spirit. He dogged at it and eventually made many changes in it.
He condensed the 12 dots into just six. After experimenting it with several other blind boys, he published a book in 1829. Still working at it nonstop, in 1837 he made another one, encompassing music and math symbols. It was only after his death that it gained a foothold worldwide in 1868.
St. Louis School for the blind, Adyar in Chennai has 250 Braille titles. These books were sponsored by the NGO. However, there are no sufficient books for the ill-fated children there. And the Braille Typewriter is scarce. When will the Indian govt, wake up from its slumber, is the common question put by everyone.
Despite his own blindness, Louis Braille had opened the eyes of the blind all over the world. But the Indian govt, still turns its blind eyes to these visually challenged!