It is the symbol of hope and life for the visually impaired people of the country and stands out in the Amar Ekushey Boi Mela. It is Sporsho, the only Braille book publication stall in the fair.
Though the book fair is a place for browsing and purchasing new publications or old favourites for the readers, those who are visually impaired are deprived of that pleasure as most publishers do not publish books in Braille version.Realising the problem, Sporsho came forward to extend its helping hand and create a platform for the visiually impaired to enjoy art, culture, literature, travel and history, especially our Liberation War through Braille books.
Like previous years, the publication house has set up its stall near the exit gate of Bangla Academy premises with the slogan “People are blind not because they are incapable to see with their eyes, but because they do not have the knowledge to visualize life from within”.
While visiting the stall recently, this correspondent found visually impaired booklovers reading from the Braille books with great enthusiasm.
“I’m so happy reading new books here.I’m now reading a book titled ‘Ekattorer Bicchu Bahini’,” said Tariqul Islam Nazim, a visually impaired student.
Is Braille is a tactile writing system invented by Louis Braille in France in 1824.It’s a system of raised dots that can be read with the fingers by people who are visuals impaired or who have low vision.
However, since its foundation in 2009, Sporsho has published a total of 82 Braille books. Of them, 19 new books have come this year.However, there is a shadow under the light as there is no Braille book stall without Sporsho at the book fair.
“There are many authors’ books but unfortunately, the Braille books are published by only a few authors. As a result, we have to stay satisfied with the limited books,” Nazim said.
“Every publisher and author should think a bit about us. We want to see Braille books in every stall,” he added.
“We have been providing free Braille books to the visually impired at the book fair since 2009.We don’t sell the books as those are very expensive,” said Nazia Jabeen, founder and publisher of Sporsho, which means ‘touch’ in Bangla.
“We dream to have at least one Braille book in every stall at the fair.This will encourage publication of more Braille books and establishment of Braille Press and most importantl, it will create employment opportunity for the ‘victorious of blindness … Thus, they will be empowered in the society.”
“It’s a Braille movement. We should all participate in this movement,” Nazia added.
Liya Akter, a volunteer said, “I love working here. I could earn money by working at other stalls but I could not find the self satisfaction that I get now working for the blind here.”
Another voluntary representative Shahriar Kabir Taufiq said, “I’ve been working with Sporsho for a long time. I love working for the blind. If they get benefit from us, that will be a matter of great achievement for us .”
The Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2020 is underway on the Bangla Academy premises and adjacent Suhrawardy Udyan, and it will continue till February 29.
The book fair remains open from 3:00pm to 8:30pm from Sundays to Thursdays; and from 11:00am to 8:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays. On February 21, the fair will remain open from 8:00am to 9:00pm.