Tagore`s works being converted into Braille

Updated: May 09, 2011, 09:24 AM IST

Kolkata: Visually-challenged children will now be able to read classics of literary giants like Rabindranath Tagore as the books are now being converted into Braille format.

Chennai-based Third Eye Charitable Trust plans to transcribe literary works, including those of Tagore, into Braille by tying up with publishing houses like Scholastic India, Penguin and Tulika Publishers.

"We have already converted two volumes of Tagore`s `Gitobitan` (a collection of songs) into Braille. The third volume is under production now and will be ready in the next few months," Mahua Seth, founder trustee of the NGO, told reporters here.

A total of 125 copies of 11 titles, including `Gitobitan` was donated by them to nine schools for the visually challenged kids in the city today.

"We believe that by providing non?curriculum based reading material, we can engage these visually impaired kids at a very early stage of their life. They read at their own leisure without being dependent on others, which promotes
independence and self worth," the activist said.

Devised in 1825 by Louis Braille, a visually challenged Frenchman, the Braille system is a tactile method of writing widely used by such people to read and write.

Employing groups of embossed dots to represent printed letters and numbers, the format allows people to read any language by feeling the dots through their fingers.

Under the initiative, they plan to publish 400 stories of Tagore, R K Laxman and R K Narayan besides folk tales for visually challenged children.

"Most of them would be in vernacular languages like Tamil, Bengali, Hindi so that even children from the rural areas who do not know English can understand," Mahua said.

Earlier, they had partnered with National Association for the Blind to publish Tagore`s Nobel-winning `Gitanjali` into Braille format.

Describing cost as a big hurdle in Braille publishing, Mahua pointed out that the per page printing expenses in Braille costs them more than Rs 30.

"Besides, it is a very cumbersome and time-consuming process to publish in this format," she said.