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Times of India
15 October 2010
By Anoop Jaipurkar
Pune, India

A handicap can be debilitating, or it can become your greatest strength. Dhanraj Patil, who translated the religious text Dnyaneshwari into Braille and Sandeep Bedi, a CEO, are visually challenged but they are the greatest source of inspiration.

Dhanraj Patil shows his grandson how to read the time on a Braille watch Dhanraj Patil shows his grandson how to read the time on a Braille watch
Bedi lost 95 per cent of his vision at birth, but he has always done well in studies. "I topped the St Vincent’s college of commerce from standard XI till graduation. I was also in the HSC merit list. I completed my postgraduation in economics from Pune university. But my greatest qualification remains my communication skills," said Bedi. Today, he is an economist and the director of a Pune–based IT and management consultancy firm.

The 43–year–old visually impaired equity analyst had his task cut out early. "I did not want a career in music or making handicrafts. I was always interested in academics, and was supported by good readers. So, Braille texts were never an option. Most of the study material was stored in my mind, and the rest in audio cassettes," he said.

There were struggles. "I came from a middle–class family. Consistent and focused approach, good mentors like Dr Vishwas Udpikar, and a determination to make it big helped me develop my career, " he said.

Dhanraj Patil (58), has translated over 1,500 books and poems into Braille. He is the recipient of the state, national and President’s awards for his distinguished service to teach the blind man’s text messages to the inmates of Yerawada central prison.

With a ‘visharad’ in music, Patil also edits a bi–monthly magazine for the Pune Blind Men’s Association. "I do not have eyes, but I had a vision to gain knowledge and live a dignified life and fulfil my responsibilities as a son, husband and a father."

Patil recalled the time when he translated Dnyaneshwari into Braille with the help of prisoners. His only regret remains his inability to pursue his doctorate.

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