NEW DELHI: Perhaps no other word has divided the country as much as ‘Aadhaar’, but Nandan Nilekani’s brainchild is Oxford Dictionaries’ Hindi word of the year for 2017.
The announcement was made on the Oxford Dictionaries’ blog on Saturday. It beat ‘mitron,’ ‘notebandi,’ ‘vikas’, ‘swachh,’ ‘yoga,’ ‘gau rakshak’ and ‘bahubali’, among other words, to emerge the winner.
Aadhaar, which literally translates to ‘support,’ has been on people’s minds ever since the Narendra Modi government decided to make it mandatory for citizens to link their bank accounts, phone numbers, mutual funds and other things in the name of security. Aadhaar is also essential for availing the government’s social sector benefits.
The scheme has been in the news over data theft and ‘sale’ and ‘misuse’ of data. In certain instances, technical flaws have resulted in beneficiaries of various government schemes not getting what they are entitled to.
The government’s ambitious project also earned bad press after a woman in Jharkhand was denied ration at a PDS shop after the biometric equipment failed to identify her fingerprints. The Supreme Court is currently hearing a clutch of legal challenges to Aadhaar.
In November 2017, Oxford Dictionaries called for entries for the Hindi word of the year as it felt this would lay emphasis on the role played by Hindi, the world’s fourth-largest spoken language.