After Prime Minister Narendra Modi pushed for 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' (self-reliant India) amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, an Oxford panel has now chosen 'Atmanirbharta' as Hindi word of 2020.
The advisory panel of language experts Kritika Agrawal, Poonam Nigam Sahay and Imogen Foxell stated that "it validated the day-to-day achievements of the countless Indians who dealt with and survived the perils of a pandemic”.
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.
In a statement, Oxford Languages said in the early months of the pandemic when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India’s COVID-19 recovery package, he emphasised the need to become self-reliant as a country, as an economy, as a society and as individuals, in a bid to navigate the perils of the pandemic.
The usage of the word 'Aatmanirbharta' after Prime Minister Modi's address has increased significantly. 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.
"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).