(originally published in Outlook India)
Kishor Bhattacharyya is at the forefront of an effort to secure a rightful place for visually challenged people in the Northeast.
As a first step, Dristidan, an NGO for the welfare of blind people which he founded with a few like-minded friends in early 1998, has opened a Braille library in Guwahati. "Our idea is to provide easy access for blind people to books and journals," says Kishor. "For instance, we've secured a Braille copy of a Central government gazette notification that details various schemes and assistance available for the blind."
"My aim is to give blind people the confidence to survive in this world, to tell them you can also be achievers," he says. "Through Dristidan, I'd like to bridge the gulf between the blind and people with sight. I want to generate ambition among them."
Self-confidence is what sets Kishor apart from other people. "I've never felt inferior because I can't see," he says, though he has suffered humiliation at the hands of insensitive individuals. He lost his eyesight due to glaucoma at the age of five. A post-graduate in history from Guwahati University, Kishor also lectures in Guwahati University.
A survey on blind people throughout the region, and a shelter for the homeless blind in the North-east, are part of Dristidan’s tasks. "This survey has four categories and would enable us to know their problems first-hand," he says.
Kishor has many plans for the future. If you want to be part of them, write to:
Dristidan, Pub Sarania Main Road
Guwahati 781 003.