Blind student writes examination, excels

Of a tribe sans scribe

This student of the Kuvempu Institute of Kannada Studies (KIKS) of the University of Mysore has shown why he is more normal than those having eyesight.

He has achieved a phenomenal score of 90.22 per cent and secured the second rank in his final semester MA exam without the aid of a scribe.

Nagaraj wrote the exam with the help of the non-visual desktop access software and set a record in the annals of higher education in the State.

It was Nagaraj’s oratorial skills that got him a seat for BA at the prestigious Maharaja College in the city. One of the secretaries of the governor, moved by his speech, had recommended Nagaraj for a seat in his alma mater, the Maharaja College.

Nagaraj belongs to an agricultural family in Siraguppa taluk of Bellary district. He had his primary education at the government school for the blind at Siddaroodhamutt in Hubli.

He completed his high school at the Aaroodha Education Society and pre-university education at the Gopanakoppa PU College in Hubli. He knew 65 of the total 105 rules mentioned in the grammatical treatise ‘Shabdamani Darpana’ of Keshiraja.

During the exam, Nagaraj’s scribe did not write down the ‘Halegannada’ (old Kannada) lines properly. He was advised by Vasumathi, who used to read out Kannada lessons for him, to find a solution to his problems himself.

He then secured a gold medal in linguistics in the BA exam. Nagaraj joined post-graduation with a resolve to write the exam on his own.

He got able support in Prof Panditaradhya, who opened all avenues of study through computers for the visually impaired. T S Sridhar of the JSS Polytechnic gave him the e-speak software.

He practised reading through the JAWS software and could read all online newspapers, including Prajavani, which are in unicode. Thanks to the efforts of Prof Panditaradhya and Neelagiri M Talawar of KIKS, Nagaraj was permitted to write the exams using computers.

He presently works as a first grade assistant in the health department at Siraguppa. He does data entry as part of his job. Nagaraj was in the city on September 5 to wish his teachers at KIKS on the occasion of Teachers’ Day.

He has passed the national entrance test of the UGC. Having cleared the preliminary of the KAS exam, he plans to do a PhD and become a professor.

Nagaraj hopes for a day when all blind students are allowed to write their exams through special softwares.

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