After Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s emphasis on Aatmanirbharta in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, this particular word has been named by Oxford Languages as its Hindi Word of the Year 2020 as it “validated the day-to-day achievements of the countless Indians who dealt with and survived the perils of a pandemic”.
Aatmanirbharta means self-reliance. The word was chosen by an advisory panel of language experts Kritika Agrawal, Poonam Nigam Sahay and Imogen Foxell, news agency PTI reports.
The Oxford Hindi word of the year is a word or expression that is chosen to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance.
Oxford Languages, in their statement, said that as PM Modi announced India’s Covid-19 recovery package in the wake of the pandemic, he emphasised on the need to become self-reliant as a country, as an economy, as a society and as individuals, so as to navigate the perils of the novel coronavirus crisis.
There was a massive increase in the usage of aatmanirbharta following the Prime Minister’s address, highlighting its increased prominence as a phrase and concept in the public lexicon of India, the statement said.
The major success of the entire Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign is the large-scale manufacturing of the Covid-19 vaccine in India. During the Republic Day parade, the Department of Biotechnology highlighted the Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign and showcased the Covid-19 vaccine development process in its tableau at Rajpath.
“In an unprecedented year, aatmanirbharta found resonance with a wide cross-section of people as it is seen to be an answer to the revival of a Covid-impacted economy,” Sivaramarkrishnan Venkateswaran, Oxford University Press India managing director, said.
This word “gives a voice to the strength displayed by young and old alike in dealing with extended periods of isolation, lack of familial support, loss of livelihoods and other difficulties through sheer determination and self-reliance”, Kritika Agrawal said.
Previous Hindi words of the year are Aadhar (2017), Nari Shakti (2018) and Samvidhaan (2019).