Grandma's Tales

December 18, 2006

My other Avtaar 3 PC’s speech at the job fair

Filed under: Language — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 9:49 am

P Chidambaram, Union Finance Minister came, went speechless (had a sore throat) at the job fair for people with disabilities. (Ref: last post) He wrote down his speech on the spot. But before that he watched with interest when we demo-ed two different software that people with disabilities could use. One is called the “dragon software” which projects your speech onto a screen. All the teacher/lecturer has to do is to speak into a microphone, and the software (trained to recognise that particular voice and speech patterns) turns it into text.

Who benefits? The hearing-impaired. They look at the screen and take notes.

The other is the JAWS software. It is a screen-reading, voice-enabled software which turns into speech what you press on the keyboard. (Pity, it is the only such software available in India.) Who benefits? The visually-impaired. They put on the headphones, punch the keys, listen to what they have got on the monitor and continue to work.

If you think only MS office can be used by people with visual difficulties, you are wrong. At Ability Foundation we have trained guys to do C+++, JAVA and everything else. Our very bright student Srinivasan now very successfully programs software using JAWS. He refused to be slotted as a telephone operator, waited till a software company would come forward to install JAWS and employ him. After a couple of weeks he called in to say, “I’m using the latest version of JAWS. I’m so happy!”

Here’s PC’s speech at the fair.

I am glad to participate in this job fair for the differently-abled. In a way, I am also slightly impaired today, although I hope only temporarily! I have nearly lost my voice! Differently-abled people are not disabled. A faculty or an organ is deficient, but they more than make up for that by being able to use other faculties and organs more efficiently.
We are all children of the same God. No one should be regarded as a child of a lesser
I am happy – and genuinely moved – to see that nearly 70 companies will interview about 1100 candidates today. My earnest wish is that all of them – I repeat all of them – should find a job today. These young men and women are educated. They are qualified. They have skills. They have confidence. They have the will to overcome their handicaps. Please give them a chance.
I am conscious that government will have to do more to encourage employment of differently-abled people. I intend to interact with Ability Foundation and the sponsors
the CII, the Lions Club – and find new ways and means to help the differently-abled.

Footnote: IBM’s topnotch programme analyst in Pune (there’s an invisible security cordon around him! All calls and e-mails are routed through a secretary) is Mr. Jyotindra Mehta, who is blind. That should tell us something.



  1. Saw an artcile on Wired on this type of technology. Your readers will be able to relate to the context of this story very well.

    Comment by Mojo — December 18, 2006 @ 11:40 am | Reply

  2. “…..Mr. Jyotindra Mehta, who is blind.” Should we have said visually challenged? What is your take on proper usage?

    Comment by Rajesh Kumar — December 18, 2006 @ 2:45 pm | Reply

  3. Mention of “God”, 3 times, from PC!!

    I am amazed. He’s the guy who replaced the word “God” with the word “Constitution” when he took oath as Finance Minister.

    Comment by swami — December 22, 2006 @ 2:46 am | Reply

  4. Great point, swami! Very impressed with the observation! That’s the politicians’ art. They speak with more tines in their tongue than you can count! Thanks!

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — December 22, 2006 @ 8:08 am | Reply

  5. Dear Geetha,
    Re.hung:”hung”used for humans may well be on its way to being standard US English.That’s a privilege US usage enjoys!Indian mistakes in English can never hope for this status.As for a hung Saddam,it reflects a political attitude rather well.A Freudian Slip,maybe!
    Happy New year!
    Gomathi Narayanan

    Comment by gomathinarayanan — December 29, 2006 @ 11:44 am | Reply

  6. Hi Gomathi,
    Great to see you here! Hang it, I guess you are right! The way American English (?) is rolling over, I’m afraid I won’t be able to catch up! But we can’t allow them to hi-jack the language, can we? This is language hegemony! 🙂

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — December 29, 2006 @ 8:49 pm | Reply

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