Tuesday, October 9, 2012

GOOD NEWS TO THE BLIND બ્રેયીલમાં શુભસંદેશ - નવો કરાર

  બ્રેયીલમાં શુભસંદેશ - નવો કરાર   is going to be released at the Inaugural Mass of the Year of Faith on 12.10.2012 in Gandhinagar Archdiocese Cathedral by Rt. Rev. Stanislaus Fernandes, SJ.
Thanks for your collaboration.


 બ્રેયીલમાં શુભસંદેશ - નવો કરાર 

GOOD NEWS TO THE BLIND
Braillema Bible – Catholic Navo Karar


Introduction

The people of the world know that the Bible is the Holy Book of the Christians. At the same time, still people of various religions are not aware that the Bilble is not made up of one single book, instead it is the collection of various books. The Christians are fully aware and it is their firm Faith that the Bible is the Word of God written in words of different human persons. Further it is believed that the Word of God is the food, drink and support for their life-long journey.  The readers and the listeners find greater meaning by drawing water from the same Biblical well and drink such precious water (amrutvani) in order to quench their thirst.

The Bible is divided into two parts. First part is the Old Testament and the second part is the New Testament. The books which were written before the birth of Jesus are known as the Old Testament. Whereas the books which were written after the birth of Jesus are known as the New Testament.  After the Baptism, at the appropriate time, with the unique experience of his ABBA FATHER, Jesus went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day at Nazareth and in the midst of all gathered there he proclaimed the purpose of his public Mission – “The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord” (Lk 4:18-19).

According to me, from my experiential knowledge, I must say that every Blind person is ‘the divine eye of the Divine’ – ‘devna divyachakshu’. To such dear ones, the year 2012 is something special to them. Why? Because, the Catholic Pope Benedict XVI has declared a special year (from October 11, 2012 to 23 November, 2013) as the YEAR OF FAITH in order to know, love and follow Christ MORE in daily life. In this context, I, as the follower of Jesus, re-call the Mission Manifesto of the greatest Missionary Jesus – “... sent me to give sight to the blind”. This particular statement has churned my existence as an ordained evangelist and has motivated me to answer creatively in proclaiming His GOOD NEWS to all peoples, especially to the visually challenged persons of my karmabhoomi Gujarat. Thus, while accompanying various categories of the disabled persons in North Gujarat, already a year back I was moved to prepare the Gujarati New Testament in Braille transcription and to present to them as a precious gift at the beginning of the YEAR OF FAITH. Indeed the present prepared ‘Braillema Bible – Catholic Navo Karar’  is a unique GOOD NEWS to all the visually impaired persons of our Growing Global Gujarati Group. Now let me explain in brief the genesis and rationale of this innovative project.

Problem statement

  • A backward attitude towards life has led many persons in Gujarat to think of disability as a curse. ‘The blind neither have the physical vision nor they have vision for life’, such a negative attitude creates tension among the visual and the non-visual persons.
  • The non-readiness approach to tackle the causes of disability, especially on visual impairment.
  • Non-enthusiastic nature for life by many non-disabled persons leading them to be non-participatory in the mobilization and rehabilitation of the Persons with Disabilities.
  • The blind may have the hunger and thirst for the Word of God of the Bible. But till this date they have no means to read directly the Catholic Bible. Till this date they are deprived of this unique facility in comparison with their normal counter parts.

Logical Intervention

According to the population census survey 2010, the population of Gujarat is 50,596,992. In which nearly there are an estimates 10,45,000 disabled persons of all categories in Gujarat.  This is based on the 1.98% of disability given by the National Sample Survey Organisation.  Of these, around 1.5 lakh people have visual impairment. Around 40% these are school age going children.  So we have about 60000 blind children using Braille in Gujarat.

In Gujarat, we have about 82 institutions who are directly involved in the education and rehabilitation of the blind persons. Besides these, the Inclusive Education for the Disabled Children at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) and the Education for All (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan – SSA) at the Primary stage cater directly to the educational needs of these visually impaired children.

Main Objectives

·       To be a leaven to provide the New Testament in Gujarati Braille transcription to the Blind.
·       To enable the visually impaired persons of Gujarati speaking to read independently without the help of the reader and to assimilate personally the New Testament in Gujarati Braille transcription and to motivate them to become the agents in ennobling the human community to love and serve God and His peoples.    
·       To give an opportunity to the visually impaired persons of all religions and cultures to taste and see, i.e. to experience the Word of God for a meaningful integration and inclusion in the human society.
·       To initiate the blind persons of Gujarat to have the ‘darshan’ (vision) of God in Jesus by reading the New Testament of Catholics.
·       To encourage such visually challenged persons to challenge the darkness of the world and to contribute creatively in removing such darkness from the grasped gospel messages of Jesus.
·       To encourage the Institutional heads and the Educational sector personnel to motivate the Blind persons to read and to grasp the messages for a meaningful life from the New Testament.

Sources of inspiration

·       Catholic New Testament in Tamil Braille transcription – 1st time in an Indian language: When I learnt that the Second Reading of the Mass was read out by a visually challenged person in Chennai at the inaugural Eucharist celebration on 9, January, 2011 by the Conference of the Catholic Bishop’s of India’s Meet (Editorial, The New Leader, vol.124, No.: 3, February 1-15, 2011. It says: “…she read from Braille Tamil New Testament, newly published by the Tamil Nadu Bible Commission. This is the blessing to all the visually challenged people, now the blind can read the Word of God by themselves.)
·        Vanche Gujarat movement of Gujarat Government – Best Reader Competition for the Blind: The aim of the competition was to motivate the blind students to read inspirational short stories, novels, poems, biographies and books.

Conclusion

To me, in this context, offering this ‘Braillema Bible – Catholic Navo Karar’ in the hands of the Blind persons of Gujarat is one of the novel ways of the New Evangelization process at the beginning hour of the YEAR OF FAITH. Indeed a greater opportunity is given to us to CELEBRATE this Faith-filled year as a Grace-filled year in the midst of all types and all categories of persons with Special needs.

We are grateful to Alboan and Misiones La Rioja, the NGOs of Spain for their generous financial support to prepare this ‘Braillema Bible – Catholic Navo Karar’ in 12 volumes. We also appreciate the Staff of the Braille Press, National Association for the Blind (Gujarat Division), Vastrapur, Ahmedabad  for their computerized Braille transcription, proof reading, printing and binding.

Fr Girish Santiago SJ
Blessed are the Blind for theirs is the Kingdom to ‘see’ joyfully the newly transcribed book in Braille and to read it, assimilate it and to act as men and women of good will according to the living WORD of God! Let the WORD continue to BECOME FLESH and dwell amongst us in and through our well focussed compassionate approach of incarnation, insertion and involvement. Let our ‘domestic churches’ (homes), the ‘structural churches’ (places of adoration and worship) and the ‘institutional churches’ (cells & centres) become truly an ‘abode of inclusion’ – sammilitalayam! Timely and truly, our on-going faith-justice based apostolic commitment towards the needy has enabled and enhanced us to name aptly our centre at Unteshwari as sammilitalayam. May our Spirit-filled approach towards inclusion bring solace – shanti – salaam – shalom to all.   
Fr. Girish Santiago, SJ
 Director



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