History and Milestones

Brief History

Saturday, January 19, 1952, saw the flowering of the seed sown way back in 1947, by Mr. Mangulal Jethalal Shah. Mr. B. G. Kher, the then Premier of Bombay Province moved a resolution at the First All India Conference for the Blind held in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), which led to the founding of the National Association for the Blind (India). Six weeks later, with an Executive Council of just 19 members and the support of workers and sympathizers of the blind, Barrister Rustom Merwanji Alpaiwalla was appointed the first President of NAB (India). These determined people then began the mission to establish NAB (India), as an icon of boundless services for the blind.


 milestoneSince its inception, each year has been a forward leap in NAB (India)’s reach in promoting the interests of people with vision loss in India.

To understand and appreciate NAB (India), it is essential to view the organization's accomplishments since January 19, 1952, till date.

1952 to 1960
  • Adopted Serve the Blind as its motto; the Triangular Logo – symbolically indicating close association between the State, voluntary agencies and the blind; and the Sanskrit phrase Tamaso Ma Jyotirgamaya on the logo – meaning “Lead me from Darkness to Light” – which has emerged as a guiding principle in formulating every activity of the Association.

  • Pioneered Employment and Placement Service for the blind in India.

  • Dr. Miss Helen Keller laid the foundation stone of the NAB Workshop for the Blind.

  • Introduced the White Cane in India.

  • Established Finance Raising Committee, to raise funds for its growing activities.

  • Established the M. N. Banaji Industrial Home for the Blind at Jogeshwari, Mumbai, on the property donated by Bai Serenbai Muncherjee Nowrojee Banajee.

  • Initiated Integrated Education for the first time in India.

  • Started the first ever Braille Production unit in India.

  • Released the first issue of magazine “Blind Welfare” – NAB (India)’s official publication. 

  • Established the National Society for Prevention of Blindness (NSPB). NSPB was eventually conferred autonomous status.

  • Set up the Tata Agricultural and Rural Training Centre for the Blind at Phansa in Gujarat, with financial support received from Sir Dorabjee Tata Trust.

  • Established its first Branch – NAB Tamil Nadu State Branch – in Chennai (formerly Madras).

  • Established the National Academy of Teachers of the Blind at Palayamkottai in Tamil Nadu, in association with the National Christian Council of India.

  • In collaboration with Lions Club NAB (India) started the NAB Lions Blind Welfare Library.

1961 to 1970
  • Set up the first Home-Teaching Service for adults and children.

  • Established the first ever Talking Book Centre in India for production and distribution of educational and recreational literature for the blind.

  • Started a Rehabilitation Centre for the Blind at Mt. Abu, Rajasthan, to address the comprehensive rehabilitation training needs of newly blind adults.

  • Launched a Nursery for the Blind – the first of its kind service in India – catering to pre-school blind children.

  • Started a Home for Aging Blind at Khandala, Maharashtra.

1971 to 1980
  • Established NAB-Hadley Service together with Hadley School, USA, which offered distance education courses to blind Indian students.

  • Initiated Orientation & Mobility Training in schools and institutions for the blind.

  • Established a Research Centre exclusively dedicated to research in the field of blindness and visual impairment.

  • Established Department of Rehabilitation to train blind individuals for their socio-economic rehabilitation, and develop human resource for training and providing rehabilitation services to the visually challenged.

  • Established Department of Education to promote education of the blind throughout India in special schools and in the Integrated Education set up, award scholarships and channelize sponsorship programs.

1981 to 1990
  • Constituted Women’s Committee to promote socio-economic growth of blind women.

  • Initiated Community Based Rehabilitation for the rural blind population.

  • To impart training in light engineering to the blind, established with the support of Industrial Development Bank of India, a Polytechnic at Ambernath in Thane District, Maharashtra.

1991 to 2000
  • Established Client Service Department to provide timely help in resolving personal and other day-to-day issues of blind persons.

  • Initiated Home-based Program for Visually Impaired Children with Additional Disabilities.

  • Started Training Centre for Teachers of the Visually Handicapped.

2001 to 2012
  • Collaborated with Microsoft Corporation USA to set up in Mumbai the first ever Cyber Cafe for the Blind.

  • Established a Centre for Blind Women, in New Delhi.

  • Established a Research & Rehabilitation Centre for the Visually Challenged, in Nashik, Maharashtra.

  • Started a Hostel for Blind Women in Mumbai.

  • Established in collaboration with Tata Indicom, the first ever Call Centre totally managed by blind individuals.

  • Established a Sports and Cultural Centre for the Blind.