Published: 02nd January 2019
Blind JNU student fails semester after being denied scribe, study material in Braille
Munesh Kumar is a BA Japanese student in JNU's Centre for Japanese Studies. He had done his Master's in Hindi from JNU in 2017
For 25-year-old Munesh Kumar, Japan was the land of his dreams. Even when life deprived him of vision since the day he was born, it never stopped this young man from dreaming. He wanted to become a teacher and help change the lives of other blind people. So, last year, when he got admission to Jawaharlal Nehru University's Centre for Japanese Studies for BA in Japanese he was more than elated. Little did he know about the sort of miseries that awaited him there.
Munesh failed the first semester of his course with a CGPA of 0.83 and for him, this wasn't very unexpected. The reason? The university allegedly denied him a scribe or studying material in Braille. "The reading material wasn't available in Braille. Also, the computers there did not have any software to help me with the learning process," alleges Munesh. Even though Munesh approached the library to find out about the same, he was informed that no such facilities are available for Japanese students.
This was something new for this Delhiite, who completed his Master's in Hindi from JNU in 2017. "All the other centres in the university have all the facilities for the blind. I have done my MA Hindi from JNU and at that time, I was provided with proper reading material and a scribe," he says, adding, "The University should have informed me about this at the time of my admission. I had qualified for other courses too. I would have studied something else."
An even bigger shock awaited when exams came around. Munesh says that he had to write all his exams by himself and raises a valid question here. "I am 100 per cent blind. I had to write all the exams all by myself. How do I write Japanese when I can't see at all?" Even though Munesh approached the centre to find out if his case could be considered, he was told that no special concessions can be made in his case.
Munesh also said that the centre did not provide him with a steady tutor. "The tutor only taught me for an hour a day. I'm the only student in the entire batch. As exams approached, on my constant request, he helped me revise for a few days. That is the only thing I learned in the entire semester," he says. He also said that his roommates in Kaveri hostel helped him a lot to prepare, despite not knowing Japanese.
Staring at a dark, uncertain future, he is looking at sending another complaint in the hope that someone would be allotted to him — so that he can learn Japanese.