ABU(Senior group) Fine Work
How Braille has Changed My Life
India Urmil Sharma (52/ Female )

"Braille" is the script of six dots which was invented by a great blind person, named Louis Braille, the resident of France.The blind tactually read and write material printed in Braille in any language.
"Change" means--to get altered. Change comes into human life as a result of time, circumstances and incidents.
"Braille" has totally changed my life.
"Fruitless life became meaningful through study of Braille,
Found treasure of knowledge abundant,
Through burning midnight lamp
Have gained self-reliance in life--
Am able to support myself and family."
With life becoming totally dark at the age of just four years, I got admission to class 1 at the age of 6 and 1/2 years and acquired command over Braille in 21 days and helping my classmates to learn Braille, I continued to make rapid progress in my own speed of reading and writing. Passed each class examination in first division by writing question-papers and answer-scripts in Braille itself and was appointed class monitor each time. In fact, topped the school twice. Simultaneously, kept on acquiring knowledge by reading scriptures like Ramayana and Geeta and material relating to various other areas--all in Braille. In higher classes, used to make short notes in Braille on the content as it was being taught by the teachers. Consequently, got good marks at the examinations. After getting a job in the bank, studied the course of graduation by making notes in Braille and passed various stages of graduation. At the age of just 10 years, copying a worn-out and virtually obliterated sociology book,prepared a fresh 88-page book on Braille slate in clear and accurate grammar, in just 8 days with great commitment and a new sense of achievement. From lower classes onward, obtained first or second position certificates at district level Braille essay and reading and writing competitions. From class 8 onward, prepared and read in Braille at functions welcome addresses in honour of visiting dignitaries-- Gyani Zail Singh, Mr.Pranab Mukherjee, Mr. Jagpravesh Chandra and several judges and, consequently, received encouragement and appreciation certificates.
Reached a major milestone in life in 1983 which not only propelled me further on the path of progress, but also marked the commencement of a new era for other visually impaired persons. Once again, the recognition of Braille came to fore. Braille Shorthand was introduced for the first time in India at All India Confederation of the Blind, Delhi, in 1983.
Received training in the first batch of the said course and within 3 months of training, started taking down dictation on the Braille Shorthand Machine at the rate of 120 words per minute and typing at the speed of 45 words per minute. Fully satisfied with my performance the aforesaid organization presented to me "The First Indian Blind Stenographer" Certificate. Thereafter, as a result of the efforts of the said organization and myself, in 1984 I entered the Punjab National Bank, Delhi, as "The first blind stenographer." After the lapse of some time, a number of visually impaired persons were appointed in banks besides PNB and other government offices. In 1994, I was given by the Government of India the National Award as ‘The Outstanding Employee’. In 1996, my name was included in the "Limca Book of Record". During the same period, I received prizes like "Bharat Vikalang Bhushan" and "Neelam Kanga Citation” and the Indian Oil Corporation included me in their function as the chief guest. Received honours, mementos and congratulatory messages from senior officers of PNB also. In view of the success of my work through the medium of Braille at PNB, the Bank was also presented the President's "Best Employer Award".
I embossed on the Perkins Brailler many Braille magazines of AICB, Delhi for subsequent publication.
Even today, I keep increasing my knowledge by reading and relishing various Braille magazines.
I present my feelings in the form of self-composed poems written in Braille at Bank functions and other programmes, for which I have received several commendations also.
I expand my work at the Bank by making notes in Braille.I dispose of matters relating to banking union activities as a member of the Executive, by noting these down in Braille.
I have taught my son and daughter by writing down in Braille the courses of their elementary classes.Presently, they are both working as engineers.
The status I have attained today, the recognition I am receiving in society, the niché I have been able to make for myself -- all this is because of Braille only and all credit for this goes to the great "Louis Braille" whom I salute a million times!
"No inferior treatment any longer,
No discrimination towards me from anyone,
Equal sharer of equality ,
Competent in my field of work every day;
Continuously glowing with increasing intensity the lamp of fortune,
Morale has risen high,
The world of self-confidence and contentment has grown ever more--
Strange, indeed, are the ways of destiny."


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