Be it Harry Potter or the Ramayana, this Jaipur library brings literature alive in Braille
There is a saying that goes – ‘Between the pages of a book is a wonderful place to be’.
But what about those who cannot read?
Well, since 1998 the Braille Library of Jaipur has been making sure that the joy of reading is not lost to those who are blind. From popular children’s magazines like Champak and Chandamama to the Harry Potter series, the library ensures that the visually challenged can read by touch.
The library was started by the NGO Rajasthan Netraheen Kalyan Sangh (RNKS), in partnership with the organisation Group Against Blindness in the Netherlands and the Lions Club, Jaipur. The NGO itself is 50 years old and at the time of its launch in 1968, there was no use of Braille.
“It all started quite as a matter of chance”, says J.N Bhargav, Secretary, RNKS, who is a retired government school teacher. “There was a man who used to make plastic chairs who was blind and uneducated. Seeing his condition, some people suggested that we come together and form an association.”
The library has over 3,000 titles in Hindi, English and Sanskrit, and 1,500 cassettes.They are sent here by the All India Confederation for the Blind and the topics are wide-ranging, covering poetry, sports, health and geography. Within Jaipur the books are delivered to the doorstep. “We do this because most blind people don’t have someone to bring them here. So the books are delivered through autos”, says Bhargav. “We have made a catalogue so readers can easily find the books they want to read.”
We do this because most blind people don’t have someone to bring them here. So the books are delivered through autos” – J.N Bhargav, Secretary, RKNS
The library has members in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Odisha, and even outside India, in Sri Lanka. Delivery is free as there are no postage charges levied on Braille material.
Sachetan Ram Chowdhry, a retired school teacher, has been a member here for over 10 years. “It is very convenient as the books are sent to my home. I have always liked reading and now after retirement I have a lot of time and enjoy reading a lot”.
“It is very convenient as the books are sent to my home. I have always liked reading and now after retirement I have a lot of time and enjoy reading a lot,” says Chowdhry.
Apart from the library, the RKNS brings out the country’s first Braille newspaper in Hindi called Braille Samacharpatra, and publishes text books for blind schools of Rajasthan for classes 1 to 12.
It also runs a blind school where the teaching is in Braille. “The homework is done in Braille and children get to feel informed, inspired and entertained through the medium of Braille”, says Bhargav.
Click below to read the other stories in The Power of Braille series: