Visually-challenged Jharkhand girl tops PG course sans Braille aid

  • Saurav Roy, Hindustan Times, Ranchi
  • Updated: Jan 19, 2016 17:34 IST
Ranchi, India - January 19, 2016:Visually challenged Sweta Mandal who topped in the Masters in Human Right examinatiion of Ranchi university in Ranchi, India, January 19, 2016. (Saurav Roy/HT)

A visually challenged Jharkhand girl has topped a postgraduate degree course in Ranchi university and even cleared the National Eligibility Test (NET), all without the aid Braille.

Currently pursuing an MPhil at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, 27-year-old Sweta Mandal secured a gold medal in her masters in human rights by using software that converts text to speech.

“I listened to the journals and textbooks. It helped me understand my subjects,” she said.

Side effects from a radiation treatment for a brain tumour robbed Sweta of her vision when in class 10. Despite the ailment, she managed to secure 72% in her board exams by listening to recordings her parents had made of her lessons. A scribe helped her write her answers.

“Since I wasn’t a born blind, I could not learn Braille that well. My parents were the greatest support for me. They gave me the courage to pursue higher studies,” said Sweta, who will be conferred the gold medal for 2011-13 by Jharkhand Governor Droupadi Murmu at the Ranchi university’s convocation ceremony this Wednesday in which toppers from 2013 to 2015 will be felicitated.

Mandal completed her schooling from DAV Chaibasa, graduated from the National Institute of Open School with 65% in higher secondary and scored 65% in sociology from IGNOU in her graduation.

In 2014, she cleared the NET in human rights, making her eligible to teach at any government college across India. Mandal hopes for a career in research in human rights.

Explaining Mandal’s learning technique, renowned ophthalmologist Dr. Sushma Sinha said, “Descriptive subjects can be learnt by listening. Besides, people who lose one of their sense organs can concentrate more and learn faster than ordinary people.”

Both of Mandal’s parents -- Arun Kumar and Om Kumari – are also doctors and practice in Ranchi. The proud parents have promised to support Mandal for as long as she requires.

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