Shri. T.D. Dinakar was born on 5th February 1969 in Coimbatore. He did his schooling in St. Michael’s Hr. Sec. School and graduated from the P.S.G. College of Arts and Science, both in Coimbatore.
During the last semester of his graduation and immediately soon after, while he was pursuing his I.C.W.A. I course, he witnessed difficulty in reading books. It was diagnosed by doctors that he suffering from a rare eye disease called ‘Macular Degeneration’ and there is no scope of recovery or prevention of further degeneration. After three years of unsuccessful attempts to regain his vision through various types of medicines and seeking divine intervention, Shri. Dinakar took the guidance of the Junior Employment Officer, Coimbatore on his vocational rehabilitation.
In 1992, Shri. Dinakar learnt Grade II Braille in the Resource & Development Centre, Sri Ramakrishna Vidyalaya, Coimbatore as per the guidance of Dr. M.N.G. Mani, Secretary General, ICEVI and then joined the National Institute for the Visually Handicapped, Chennai, where he underwent one-year course in Braille Shorthand, typewriting and computer operation.
He worked as Computer Instructor for one year from Dec. 1993 to Dec. 1994 at NIVH and he was selected for the post of Assistant (Typist) in The New India Assurance Co Ltd and was posted in Chennai. In March 1996, he took transfer to Coimbatore.
During the course of his employment, he pursued his higher studies and acquired his Post Graduation in Public Administration from the Madras University, PG Diploma in Personnel Management & Industrial Relations, PG Diploma in Public Relations – both from Annamalai University and he also became the Fellow of Insurance Institute of India.
From the very first year of his joining the insurance company, he competed for promotion to the post of Stenographer on equal terms with his sighted colleagues. Whereas his colleagues would take the stenography skill test in Pitman’s shorthand, Shri. Dinakar would take the same in Braille shorthand. Though he would pass the skill test every time, he would not be able to get promotion, as he would b the junior most among the employees, who were successful in the skill test. After his fourth successful attempt in the skill test, Shri. Dinakar was promoted as Stenographer in Oct. 1999.
Being now aware that the visually impaired can appear for the Civil Services examination, Shri. Dinakar started preparing for the exams in Aug. 1999. Since Brailling or recording of the voluminous books was impossible, all his family members and friends would read out the books and Shri. Dinakar would listen to them and assimilate the subjects. He made his first Civil Services attempt in May 2000, but was unsuccessful. He made his second attempt in May 2001, cleared both the preliminary and main examinations and appeared for the Interview in May 2002. Even though he was the only visually handicapped candidate among the 1200 or so candidates, who appeared for the interview, Shri. Dinakar found himself not recommended by UPSC for posting.
He represented before The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, but in vain. He, therefore, filed a civil writ petition before the Delhi High Court in July 2003 and after a long drawn-out legal battle with UPSC and Union of India, Shri. Dinakar was offered Group A posting in the Indian Railway Personnel Service. He joined the Railway Staff College, Vadodara in March 2007 as Probationary Officer and after successful completion of his training, he was posted in Southern Railway Headquarters, Chennai as Asst. Personnel Officer/System in-charge of computerisation of Personnel Department. Recently, he was promoted as Divisional Personnel Officer and has been posted to Chennai Division, Southern Railway.
The special mention about Shri. Dinakar’s Civil Service attempt lies in the following three different situations faced by him and the blind of today face:
- The blind candidates today are given a separate question paper in the preliminary without questions containing graphs or pictures. But, Shri. Dinakar had to answer the same question paper as the sighted candidates would do.
- Unlike today, there was no reservation for the blind in Civil Services in 2001.
- Presently, the blind candidates can take the exam in six centres in the country. But, until 2002, blind candidates had to necessarily take their exams in New Delhi only. Shri. Dinakar, therefore, had to travel at least five times to Delhi for the exams.
In addition to his pursuit in academics and career, he was also passionately involved in the developmental and welfare activities for the blind in Coimbatore. He was an active member of the National Federation of the Blind for the period from 1993 and 2005. He raised funds and materials for the Braille Library and Note book unit of NFB, Coimbatore. He also personally approached the ophthalmologists and eye hospitals in Coimbatore in a desire to rehabilitate the newly blind. He played a very active role in the 18th All-India Conference of NFB, which was held in Coimbatore in Oct. 2003, where more than 1500 members participated.
Until he joined Railway Staff College, Vadodara in March 2007, he was an adviser of Parasparam Public Trust, a charitable institution in Coimbatore and a Trustee of UDIS Foundation founded under the Managing Trusteeship of Dr. M.N.G. Mani, the Secretary General of International Council for Education of the Visually Impaired. He is presently a member of Association for the Rights of the Visually Challenged (ARVIC), Coimbatore. Further, he and his colleagues in the insurance company would collect money from their colleagues on monthly basis and carry out welfare activities every year.