Helen Keller, one of the most prominent writer, philosopher, political activist of America, was deaf-blind from her early infancy. When she was only 18 years old, doctor diagnosed her with a critical illness, mentioning congestion of stomach and brain, which led her blindness and loss of hearing. It is assumed that she might have been infected with meningitis or similar kinds of disease.
Losing two of the most important cognitive organs necessary to act as an ideal human being, Helen was exposed to utmost sufferings from her childhood. Until 7 years, her only fellow and dearest mate was the daughter of their housemaid, who, as Keller recalled later, had a comfort feeling and understanding of Helen’s interactions.
Helen had four siblings. Two half-brothers from early marriage of her father and one more brother along with only sister. Her mother got inspired to educate her from the writing of Charles Dickens’s “American Notes” where she found the teaching method and institutes of deaf-blind individuals. She took Helen to Graham Bell, the well known researcher and scientist of America, who suggested Helen’s mother to admit her into “Perkins Institute for the blind”.
Keller’s whole life is a history of struggle and story of overcoming the obstacles with determination. She was grateful to her teacher, Anne Sullivan, who continuously advised and mentored her learning to sense her surroundings. In her book “Story of my life”, Helen depicted the figurative details of her learning method. Sullivan used to teach her words by writing alphabets in one hand and symbolising feelings of certain objects by placing them on the other. Helen sometimes got frustrated when she didn’t understand the meaning of words. In fact, words were a mysterious and difficult issue to learn at the initial phase of her education. Helen described one memory of her early education process: Sullivan was teaching her the word “water” by writing it in one hand whereas pouring water in the other. Helen reminisce the memory that she suddenly got an understanding of how water feels both as a word and an object.
Helen read in Radcliffe college of Harvard. She was the first woman to get a Bachelor of Arts degree as a deaf and blind woman. In her work life, she wrote her feelings and ideas in several books. Among them, “Story of my life” , “Light in the darkness”, “The world I live in” became popular around the world. She actively worked for the education of deaf and blind people. She also established a foundation named Helen Keller International Organisation (HKI) which works for ensuring education to the deaf and blind people of the world.
West Tascumbia of Alabama, her birthplace, is now a museum of United States. Her centenary birthday has been celebrated nationally in the US. She is considered a sparkle of hope amidst the greatest distress and incapability.
Palash Deb Ray/ YSSE