Constitution Day: For The First Time, Indian Constitution Made Available In Braille
For the first time in history, The Constitution of India will be available in braille script from November 26. The statute of India can be accessed by visually impaired to mark the Constitution Day. Reportedly, the event was held at BJ Medical College in Pune on November 25. As a joint project by Swagat Thorat and Saavi Foundation with The Buddhist Association for visually challenged, The Constitution will be available in braille in five parts.
Satish Nikam, the president of the Buddhist Association, said that they had published Buddhavandana in Braille earlier and after realising that visually impaired had no access to The Constitution, they decided to make it in Braille script. He also added that the official copy in Braille script is sent to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute in Maharashtra.
Thorat said that they would publish booklets in Braille along with the Constitution that would have explanations and additional information to assist lawyers and UPSC aspirants from the visually challenged community. He also said that the braille script could not cross 150 pages and hence they decided to split it into five parts and the second part can be expected in the next two months, reported The Hindu. Rashmi Pandhare from Saavi Foundation told media that braille script is the result of collaborative efforts of organisations, as none had ever thought of such an effort.
The Constitution day, also known as the Samvidhan Divas is celebrated on November 26 to mark the day on which the Constitution of India was adopted. The Constitution was adopted on November 26, 1949, and came into effect on January 26, 1950.It was on November 19, 2015, when the Indian government declared November 26 as the Constitution Day.
Earlier success of braille scripts
It is an important mission by Swagat Thorat for the second time, as they had already published ‘Sparshdnyan’, India’s first Marathi braille newsletter.
Another similar effort by Swagat Thorat led to ‘Reliance Drishti’, the first Hindi newspaper available in Braille script. Nita Ambani launched the first edition, just before a week at Kamla Mehta School. The edition will be available only on the first and third Mondays of every month. Around 20,000 copies will be circulated free of cost over 325 institutions working with the visually challenged community across the country. The edition is expected to cover news similar to other newspapers including sections of politics, business, science, sports, health, technology and foreign affairs.
India had its first English lifestyle magazine ‘White Print’ in braille as an effort by Upasana Makati, a former PR professional. The magazine holds short stories by Sudha Murthy and various columns in arts, culture, food, music and technology.
However, India is not the first to have its Constitution in Braille script. Georgia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Fiji, Mozambique, the Republic of Mauritius, Macedonia, Myanmar, Brazil and the US have their Constitution in braille for a long time.
The Logical Indian Take
According to a Lancet study in 2015 funded by Brien Holden Vision Institute, 8.8 million people in India were visually challenged, and 47.7 million had partial visual impairments, which is estimated to grow to 115 million in 2050. With a massive population of visually challenged people, such an effort by the organisations is welcomed. It is one of the social responsibilities to keep all citizens of India well informed and aware of the fundamental rights.