On January 26, the Oxford Dictionaries announced ‘Nari Shakti’ as the Hindi Word of the Year. The Hindi Word of the Year chosen every year, in many ways, reflects the conversations, ethos of a particular year. The word this year, Nari Shakti, has been derived from Sanskrit and when broken down, the word ‘nari’ means women and ‘shakti’ means power.
In 2018, the word initiated a lot of conversations mainly because of the identification of this term by Hindi speakers across the nation due to several efforts and initiatives undertaken by the government, civil society, NGOs, and universities in order to empower women. According to a report in PTI, the word was selected by the Oxford Dictionaries (India) along with the help of an advisory panel of language experts, including Namita Gokhale, Randhir Thakur, Kritika Agrawal and Saurabh Dwivedi.
The word rose to prominence last year due to two reasons. One of them being the Supreme Court’s decision to ban the controversial Islamic practice of triple-talaq. The second was the historical decision of the apex court to allow girls and women into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. Several other momentous decisions in favour of women empowerment were taken last year. Some of them were allowing women to participate in combat roles in the armed forces. lifting the ban on the entry of women into Haj without a male companion.
Needless to say, the word this year has affected some major changes. The word has also enabled several Hindi-speaking women to feel empowered and recognise their rights and potential. The decision to name ‘Nari Shakti’ the Oxford Dictionaries’ Hindi Word of the Year was announced during a session at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) at the Diggi Palace.