A world without books
In the Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired Students, only nine titles in the rack are books of fiction.
They can read only 32 titles even though there are over 6 lakh books. This is what the central library of Dhaka University offers 73 visually-impaired students.
In the ground floor of the three-storey building, a special room is allocated for them. It is called Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired Students. Only nine titles in the rack are books of fiction.
"The books that we have here are obsolete. Arrival of new books are rare," said Shahin Sarkar, a visually-impaired student of Islamic Studies.
When it comes to reading a contemporary popular novel, they mostly depend on their friends reading aloud to them.
Jhumur Akhter, a student of political science, said, she no more depends on library books as they do not serve her purpose. Instead, she relies on audiobooks, but these are mostly in English. The world of Bengali fiction is out.
"There is a computer app named "Envision AI" that helps me a lot in reading. I use digital media more and more," said Jhumur.
Assistance for Blind Child, a voluntary organisation based in Dhaka, prints braille books. But their titles are very few in number.
Sanjay Ranjan Kar, executive director of the organisation, said, "We print braille books but those are not available in the market. Braille books are very expensive. So we print on demand."
Sporsho Foundation, an organisation that prints braille books, has so far published 68 titles in 12 years. But these books are not for commercial sale.
The president of Sporsho, Nazia Jabeen, said, "We are trying to publish braille books. But printing such books are very expensive. So it is difficult to publish them commercially."
The government has a braille press under the Department of Social Services, at Gazipur.
Rabeya Khatun, assistant manager of the Braille Press, said a number of machines are lying inoperative. Hence they are printing text books only. Some other books are also in print. Bangobondhur Attojiboni is one of them.
She is hopeful that in near future some projects will be taken up to publish novels, story books and poems in Braille.
Sightsavers Bangladesh, an international organisation that works for the visually-impaired people, do not have any initiative for book publication.
Its country director Khondoker Ariful Islam, said, "A collaboration between the government and NGOs is needed to have books available for the visually-impaired people - be it physical or audio book.
"All the required equipment are available here. Only right actions are needed," she said.
Meanwhile, on the Dhaka University campus, visually-impaired students will have to live in a world almost without the touch of physical books and remain glued to computers that reads out to them.