ABU(Junior Group) Fine Work
"How Braille Has Changed My Life?"
India Manoj Yadav (22/Male)

The evolution of human civilization began gradually with the advent of human beings.With growth of civilization, man began the search for knowledge.The extension of knowledge led to the discovery and invention of different types of scripts for collection of knowledge in the world.Braille is also one of all those scripts, which proved helpful and useful in the expansion and collection of knowledge of all visually impaired persons like me.Just as the poet, Bihari condensed knowledge like ‘ocean in the pitcher’ in his sole literary work "Satsai" and just as Tulasidas, through his Ramcharitmanas,fulfilled the life of every human being by setting in motion the pious flow of the Lord Rama devotion movement, similarly, the messiah of the blind, Louis Braille, illuminated the life of all blind persons like me with the light of knowledge through the invention of the Braille script.
Braille has changed my life in every possible way. When I reflect on the changes brought about by Braille in my life, I first of all ask myself the question as to how would my life have been in the absence of Braille? Yes, indeed, I cannot even imagine my education and my life without Braille. Just as man seems like an animal in the absence of education, similarly, in my opinion, despite the availability of all audio equipment, a visually impaired person, too, is virtually like an illiterate individual without the knowledge of Braille.For me, Braille script alone is the medium which has provided me the first yardstick of literacy.
In childhood, I was admitted to the Jeevanjyoti school in Varanasi at the age of 5 years.At that time I was very weak in my studies but after continuing practice, I was successful in developing my Braille reading and writing abilities. After class 5, I was sent to the Navjyoti, Lucknow branch of Jeevanjyoti Varanasi school. There, I attained education up to class 12. All my education was conducted through the Braille medium.There was a strict ban on the use of recorded books in my school and all reading material was provided to me in Braille itself. This proved an extremely commendable step in the development of my education and thus my self-confidence went on increasing rapidly.
Braille had an extremely positive influence on my life. When I was in class 8, on January 3, 2003, I got an opportunity to participate in the National Hindi Braille Reading Competition organized by AICB and, in that competition, I won the first prize of Rs.5,000 in cash. This was the first biggest accomplishment of my life, the credit for which goes to Braille. I have conducted my graduation studies at Delhi University's Dr. Zakir HussainCollege. During this period also, I continued to get almost all textbooks in Braille, thanks to AICB and for this, I express my heartfelt gratitude to AICB.
Today, when I go to my village and write in Braille there, sighted people also get interested to know about Braille and to learn it. Thus, the Braille script provides me a status of special dignity in my village and society in one way or the other. When I was studying with normal students in school and college, I, too, used to stand up in the class and read aloud in Braille the given text. This led to my teachers and classmates to interact with me with great affection and respect instead of considering me inferior.
Despite the availability of a wide variety of audio equipment today, Braille has become an indispensable part of my life. To me, the utility of the computer lies not in its ability to read out texts for me, but in its capacity to provide to me study material in Braille itself since I can retain my concentration for much longer while reading Braille, as compared to recorded books. When I have the study material under my fingers for reading through Braille, I get real self-confidence and my memory power is developed.Braille is the sole touchstone of my freedom of expression and my literary creativity. I have won many cash prizes by participating in several varsity and national level debate competitions, because I jot down important points in Braille.
I dedicate myself fully to Braille and am determined to contribute my mite towards the development of Braille script.

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