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World Braille Day: Why India’s First-Ever Braille Constitution Is a Step Long Overdue

Interestingly, one of the brains behind this awesome project also runs ‘Sparshdnyan’, India’s first Marathi Braille newsletter!

Six dots and six bumps creating constellation-like patterns across a white sheet of paper.

This is a coded language, which goes far beyond the contours of written letters and alphabets, becoming a universal medium of expression for the visually-impaired.

Surprisingly, all of it was invented by a 15-year-old French boy, Louis Braille.

Louis adapted it from the top-secret army coded language of 12 dots called ‘night writing’, from former soldier Charles Barbier.

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From the 12 dots, he created a simpler version of 6-dots, Braille. In 1829, at the age of 20, Louis published his first-ever book in Braille.

Photo Source: Valli Rajan/Twitter

Now, after almost 200 years, the world follows the universal language of reading and writing for the visually-impaired, marking January 4 as World Braille Day.

In India, a further step of inclusion was taken a few months ago, when a number of organisations came forward to translate the Constitution in the Braille script.

Swagat Thorat and Saavi Foundation, with The Buddhist Association for the Blind, Nashik, undertook the project and delivered the entire Constitution in Braille script, divided into five parts, as reported by The Logical Indian.

According to Satish Nikam, President, Buddhist Association, the publishing of the Buddha Vandana in Braille made them realise that visually-impaired Indians did not have access to their basic statute, the Constitution, thereby laying the foundation for this project.

The book was divided into five parts as the script could not cross the limit of 150 pages.

Photo Source: Benetech/Twitter(L); Gayadhar Malik/Facebook(R)

To further benefit from the project, they have also published booklets in Braille, including additional information and explanations for the visually-challenged, especially those in the line of law and justice, or even UPSC aspirants, Swagat informed The Hindu.

While it is a historic move for India, many other countries like the USA, Myanmar, Brazil, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Georgia, Tanzania, South Africa, Fiji, Macedonia, Mozambique and the Republic of Mauritius, had already translated their Constitution into Braille a long time ago.

In a country, with an average population of 8.8 million visually-impaired, such a move is truly beneficial and empowering.

(Edited by Shruti Singhal)

Representational Photo: Kartikay shukla/Twitter


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