[AI] your thoughts on braille

Vedprakash Sharma vedprakash.sharma at gmail.com
Wed Jun 4 22:05:03 EDT 2008

It Is true That new technologies have helped a lot in accessing information. 
however, braille still plays a great role.
We cannot think of using these technomachines all the time, as they are 
cumbersome and delicate. for taking notes, for writing your thoughts as you 
are travelling and do not have any other tools for this, for many such 
things, braille is still required. for example, some times I have to 
moderate a discussion. at that time, braille proves the best alternative for 
reminding notes. likewise, sometimes, I have to deliver a vote of thanks or 
other info-speech. during my performances as an anchor-person on the stage 
on school functions too, only braill helps. no other technology can 
substitute this. reading a book in braille medium suits best to me. 
especially, when solving a calculation, I have to write the figures in 
braille. I have not been able to adapt myself to speech this much that I 
could solve mathemetical problems. formulas are easy to memorize if they are 
in braille form.
having said this, I would also like to add that the new access techs have 
contributed a lot and in more than one way with regard to the employment 
opportunities. though there are problems, there are limitations, but these 
can be addressed to. as far as the braille is concerned, it should be and 
would be, the initial medium of reading and writing for the VI's.
it is not only the braille which has been effected with the advent of new 
tech's. print media is also complaining the same. people, in general, have 
left reading books. habit of reading and writing is at decline. sms has 
replaced the postcards and e-mails the in-land letters. a beautiful 
handwriting is seldom seen these days. therefore, it is not the question of 
braille only. everybody wishes to adopt more convenient methods. so it would 
be better if we can develop a new method wherein the braille reading and 
writing would be easier. many new symbols are required to be accomodated in 
braille. braille writing is burdensome and tiring. one has to apply force to 
emboss dots on thick paper. at an average, three dots are required to form 
just one letter. these aspects of braille should be addressed to.
thus, we can atract more and more readers and writers to use braille.
----- 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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