[AI] your thoughts on braille

Amiyo Biswas amiyo.biswas at gmail.com
Wed Jun 4 03:17:25 EDT 2008

Hello Subramani,

Thank you for the topic you have chosen, it is particularly significant
since this is the bicentenary year of Monsieur Louis Braille. I would just
share my personal feelings.

I use computer a lot for my work since 2003. I have access to it at home, in
the office and in my organisation as well. I also carry a pen drive and am
mp3 player for carrying important files and audio books.

At the same time I carry a small braille slate for use when I don't have
access to my pen drive. Though I hardly have to write anything in braille on
account of my frequent access to computer, I read braille books a lot. I
carry a braille book on my long journey. I purchase braille books if I can.
One problem is that braille books are too heavy and bulky. But I have to
obtain them since nothing else gives me the pleasure of reading.
Nebuchadnezzar, the famous emperor of Babylon, traveled with 500 camels
carrying his library. I wish if I had his fortune. Audiobooks and e-text
have rendered things easier and cheaper. But for serious studies like logic,
mathematics and so on, braille does not have an alternative yet. That is why
braille and computer technology have been integrated in the advanced
countries in the form of refreshable braille displays. Once these displays
are available at a reasonable price in India, they will help us immensely

Best regards,


Cell: +91-9433464329

----- Original Message -----
From: "Subramani L" <lsubramani at deccanherald.co.in>
To: <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2008 12:32 PM
Subject: [AI] your thoughts on braille

> Folks:
> Appologies for the lengthy mail.
> A couple of weeks from now 'Sahana', a trust in Bangalore is holding its
> workshop to emphasise the importance of using Braille by the visually
> challenged, despite widespread availability of technology. I thought
> this could be a right occasion to write (in my newspaper) about how
> Braille teaching/learning and its wider use is fairing against the
> increasing number of accessible technology/devices. In this regard I
> would like you all to share your opinions or personal experience on
> Braille learning or use in your daily lives. Giving a few pointer below
> for you all to think. I request you to contribute to this topic with
> relevant and thought provoking messages, both for and against Braille.
> -The trustee Mr Varadarajan with whom I spoke, doesn't dismiss the
> prominent role technology is playing in making the VC employable and
> compete with others in the mainstream. But, he feels in the excitement
> created by computer/technology, promotion and retention of Braille as
> the primary medium of reading/writing for the VCs has been ignored or
> given second preference at best.  Who is responsible for this? Do you
> think trainers neglect Braille or do you think the urgency they need to
> show in getting employment for the VCs justifies any neglect they may
> show towards Braille?
> -Though people like Mr Varadarajan have been stressing the importance of
> learning Braille, the wide ranging application of technology has
> virtually eliminated the need for the VCs to go through the pains of
> learning, or, writing in Braille. This, in many ways, is comparable to
> the so-called art of letter writing which is almost extinct thanks to
> PCs, laptops and mobilephones. So, do you think it is pratcial for the
> VCs to adopt to technology at the expense of Braille?
> -Of course, the fact remains that Braille is still relevant for 90 or
> more percent of VCs who have virtually no access to computer. But, given
> that NGOs and training institutes have started to address the access
> problem and, hopefully, in a few years time almost all VCs will have
> access, do you think Braille can be consigned safely to the museum?
> -There are also attempts to incorporate Braille in technologies with the
> advent of refreshable Braille systems, Braille keyboards and output
> devices. Given that this would still restrict communication only between
> the VCs and will not fully help interaction with others in the
> mainstream, can we still look Braille as the most relevant medium for
> us? (Please feel free to contribute your own views independent of these
> points)
> Regards,
> Subramani
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