Increasing Awareness about Indian Sign Language
My dear countrymen, it is said – no obstacle can stand in the way of a person who has been forged by the struggles of life. In our everyday life, we also see some friends who are coping with some physical challenge or the other. There are many people who are either unable to hear, or are unable to express themselves through speech. The biggest support for such friends is Sign Language.
But a big problem in India for years was that there were no clear gestures, no standards for Sign Language. To overcome these difficulties, the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Center was established in the year 2015. I am happy that this institution has thus far prepared a dictionary comprising ten thousand words and expressions.
Two days ago i.e. on the 23rd of September, on the Sign Language Day, many school courses have also been launched in Sign Language. A lot of emphasis has also been given in the National Education Policy to maintain a fixed standard for Sign Language. It is being further disseminated, even by making videos of the dictionary of Sign Language.
On YouTube, many people, many institutions, have started their channels in Indian Sign Language, that is, the campaign that started in the country about Sign Language 7-8 years ago, is benefitting millions of my specially-abled brothers and sisters now.
Pooja ji, who hails from Haryana, is very happy with the Indian Sign Language. Earlier she was not able to communicate with her son, but after going through Sign Language training in 2018, the lives of both mother and son have become easier. Pooja ji’s son also learned Sign Language and in his school he won a prize in storytelling as well. Similarly, Tinkaji has a six-year-old daughter who cannot hear. Tinkaji had made her daughter undergo a Sign Language course but she herself did not know Sign Language, and hence she could not communicate with her daughter. Now Tinkaji has also undergone sign language training and thus both mother and daughter now converse a lot among themselves. Manju ji of Kerala has also benefited a lot from these efforts. Manju jiis not able to hear since birth.
Not only that, this has been the situation in the lives of her parents as well. In such a situation, sign language has become a means of communication for the whole family. Now Manju ji herself has decided to become a Sign Language teacher.
Friends, I am also discussing about this in ‘Mann Ki Baat’ so that the awareness about Indian Sign Language increases. With this, we will be able to help our specially-abled friends more and more.
Brothers and sisters, a few days ago, I got a copy of the Hemkosh too written in Braille. Hemkosh is one of the oldest dictionaries of Assamese language. It was prepared in the 19th century. It was edited by eminent linguist Hemchandra Barua ji. The Braille Edition of Hemkosh is around 10,000 pages long and is going to be published in more than 15 volumes. In this, more than 1 lakh words have to be translated. I greatly appreciate this sensitive effort. Every such effort goes a long way in increasing the skill and capability of our specially-abled friends.
Today India is also raising the flag of success in Para Sports. We have all been witness to this in many tournaments. Today there are many people who are engaged in promoting the fitness culture among the specially-abled at the grassroots level. This imparts a lot of strength to the self-confidence of the specially-abled.
(Excerpts from PM’s address in the 93rd Episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on 25.09.2022)