Literacy, more than an attribute is a need. A need to feel powerful because of knowledge. A need to feel able and enlightened. A need to make a life for oneself, as well as the need to feel capable for helping others. Literacy, in our belief is an entitlement that no one should be deprived of. Individual capability is the least of criteria. A will to learn is all that is needed to be literate, and more importantly, to be educated.
January is celebrated as the National Braille Literacy Month. This is also the birthday month of Louis Braille, the man behind the Braille code. This is the code which revolutionised the world of reading and learning for the visually-impaired people.
As much as we should observe this month, we should celebrate it too. To appreciate the efforts of Braille, who at the age of 15 developed a 6-dot code to help the blind people in learning and reading without difficulty or prejudice.
The awareness of Braille literacy is needed because in India, we lack trained teachers who know how to read and teach Braille. The availability of such teachers will make it easy for visually-impaired students to study in a much efficient way as well as in a balanced environment.
Awareness of Braille literacy is needed for the sole fact that with literacy comes qualification and with qualification comes employment. People with visual defects have the same right to a sustainable life as any one of us. With better and widespread Braille techniques and its propagation, it’ll become an easy task for the visually-impaired to get jobs and make a life for themselves.
Having said that, India isn’t as ignorant of Braille literacy as it would seem. The nation saw its first Lifestyle magazine being launched in Braille in 2014. Colleges in India have braille codes on notice boards for blind students, among other incentives such as smart canes as well as ramps which are specially constructed for them.
However, in today’s date the existence of Braille code is receding day by day with the advent of technology. The voice instruction feature in mobiles and laptops have replaced the code. As great as it is, the incentives and helpful methods that come into order for helping the blind, we shouldn’t forget the start of it all which came about with Braille.
And we’ll always be thankful to Louis Braille.