‘Aatmanirbharta’, which translates to self-reliance, has been named the Oxford Hindi Word of Year 2020 as the world famous dictionary believes that the word “validated the day-to-day achievements of the countless Indians who dealt with and survived the perils of a pandemic”.

Kritika Agrawal, who was part of the advisory panel that selected the Hindi Word of the Year, said: “In an address to the nation in early May 2020, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India’s Covid-19 recovery package, he emphasised the need of becoming self-reliant as a country, as an economy, as a society, and as individuals, in a bid to navigate the perils of a pandemic.”

“The Prime Minister elaborated on this, noting that Aatmanirbhar Bharat is not about being self-contained or being closed to the world, it is about being self-sustaining and self-generating. We saw a significant increase in the usage of Aatmanirbharta (self-reliance) following the Prime Minister’s address, highlighting its increased prominence as a phrase and concept in the public lexicon.”

The word is selected on the basis of ethos, mood or preoccupations. According to Agrawal, the year was all about self-reliance as people in India and elsewhere to find new ways of living and survive the pandemic.

“From home schooling to remote working, from creating our own means of entertainment to finding ways of keeping ourselves physically fit within confined spaces, from cooking for ourselves to caring for ourselves, and being forced to remain away from family and loved ones for extended periods of time, what has got many of us through is self-reliance,” she said.