NEW DELHI: 'Samvidhaan', meaning "a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organisation is acknowledged to be governed" was on Tuesday announced as the Oxford Hindi Word of the Year (HWOTY) for 2019.
The Oxford Hindi Word of the Year is a word or expression that has attracted a great deal of attention and reflects the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the past year. It is also the Hindi translation of the word 'Constitution', an OUP statement said.
"This year's Hindi Word of the Year is a fitting choice reflecting the mood of the masses as also the focus of the decision-makers. Constitution embodies the spirit of the country and the year 2019 was witness to the spirit of the constitution being embraced across segments of the society. In 2019, the Constitution moved from being an academic concept to a movement in real-time," Kritika Agarwal, Hindi Language Champion for Oxford Languages, said.
'Samvidhaan' first received widespread attention last year with the abrogation of two key constitutional provisions -- Articles 370 and Article 35(A) -- on August 5, 2019, which removed the special status granted to Jammu & Kashmir. The revocation of the articles led to nationwide debates and discussions, bringing the word to the forefront of conversations across the country.
Some major decisions by the Supreme Court also significantly contributed to Samvidhaan's prominence in 2019: The Sabarimala verdict allowing women to visit the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala, stating that the discrimination stood as a violation of the Constitution's fundamental rights such as the right to equality.
Other significant decisions included the floor test in Maharashtra to save constitutional values and to ensure the smooth functioning of democracy, and the apex court upholding the order of the former Speaker of the Karnataka assembly disqualifying 17 MLAs under the anti-defection law (the 10th Schedule of the Constitution).
"The year 2019 witnessed the values of democracy, secularism, justice, liberty, equality and fraternity being tested on the touchstone of the Constitution or Samvidhaan. This is why it has been chosen as Oxford Hindi Word of the Year," the OUP statement said.
The Oxford dictionaries' team invited entries for the Oxford Hindi Word of the Year through its Facebook page and received several hundred diverse and thoughtful entries. The Oxford Hindi Word of the Year was chosen with the help of an advisory panel of language experts: Naveen Choudhary, Associate Director, Marketing, Academic India; Minakshi Singh, Consultant Editor Hindi, Oxford Languages; Sarada Biswas, Consultant Editor for Hindi, Oxford Languages; and Kritika Agarwal, Vivek Tripathi and Poonam Sahay, all Hindi Language Champions, Oxford Languages.
OUP said the HWOTY need not have been coined within the past twelve months "and it does not have to be a word that will stick around for a good length of time: it is very difficult to predict accurately which new words will have staying power".
"While the HWOTY has great resonance for the year in which it was chosen, it doesn't mean that the word will automatically go into any Oxford dictionaries," OUP said, adding that in "future years we might also look for a Word of the Year in other Indian languages".
Established in 1912, OUP India, a department of the University of Oxford, has grown to be one of the largest publishers in the region, with a strong presence in India and the neighbouring countries, including Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Headquartered in Delhi, it has regional offices in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai.