Oxford Dictionaries is delighted to announce the 2018 Hindi Word of the Year

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The Hindi Word of the Year for 2018 is NARI SHAKTI
Jaipur: 26th January 2019 (Jaipur Literature Festival, India) – Today, Oxford Dictionaries announces ‘Nari Shakti’ as its Hindi Word of the Year for 2018.

The 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. Derived from Sanskrit, Nari means ‘women’ and Shakti means ‘power’. Today the term is used to symbolize women taking charge of their own lives.

Nari Shakti drew focused attention in 2018, largely thanks to efforts by the Government of India and Hindi speakers nationwide to realize aims for inclusive development. This has led to new initiatives being established, existing laws being revised, and the championing of the #MeToo campaign which has helped facilitate women’s rights and empowerment across all areas of Indian society.

March 2018 recorded a large spike in the use of Nari Shakti as discussion arose around the Government of India’s Nari Shakti Puraskar (Women Power Award) held on International Women’s Day. Recognizing exceptional achievement by women who have broken stereotypes and chartered new paths in their contributions to society, the awards sent the tone for the rest of the year with Nari Shakti gaining greater momentum.

Two major decisions taken by the Supreme Court also significantly contributed to Nari Shakti’s prominence in 2018: a ban on ‘triple-taliq’, the controversial Islamic practice of ‘instant divorce’, and the taking down of a rule that disallowed girls and women entry to the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. Other impactful changes included the lifting of the ban on women going to Haj without a Mehram or male companion, women being accepted into inter-combat roles in the armed forces, the expansion of the hugely successful government sponsored Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save the girl child, Educate girl child) campaign, the opening of 200 one-stop centres to help women facing violence across the country, and the opening of a universal helpline dedicated to forming international alliances to tackle cybercrime and the online harassment of women head-on.

In 2018, there is no question that Nari Shakti has risen to effect change, working to enshrine women’s rights and ensure that all women across the Hindi-speaking world and beyond are empowered. This is why Nari Shakti has been chosen as Oxford’s Hindi Word of the Year.

The Word of the Year was formally announced on Saturday 26thh January at the Jaipur Literature Festival where it was subject of a panel discussion with Saurabh Dwivedi, journalist, Editor-in-Chief of thelallantop.com and former Associate Editor at AajTak, Neelesh Misra, founder of Gaon Connection and former Deputy Executive Editor of the Hindustan Times, Geetanjali Sree, author and playwright, Rakshanda Jalil, award-winning translator, critic, and literary historian, Pravin Kumar, assistant professor of Hindi at the University of Delhi, and Akhil Katyal, teacher in creative writing at Ambedkar University, Delhi.

The Hindi Word of the Year was chosen by the Oxford Dictionaries team in India with the help of an advisory panel of language experts:

Ashok Kumar Sharma is a Hindi Language Champion and Advisor at the Public Relation Society of India

Kritika Agrawal is a Hindi Language Champion, Lawyer (Oxford), polyglot, and Indian language expert

Namita Gokhale is writer, publisher and festival director. She is the author of 16 works of fiction and non-fiction, and co-founder and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival and Mountain Echoes, the Bhutan Literature Festival

Randhir Thakur is Associate Commissioning Editor, Hindi, Oxford University Press India

Saurabh Dwivedi is a Journalist, Editor in Chief of thelallantop.com and former Associate Editor AajTak

Vijay Nandan is a Hindi Language Champion, freelancer, writer and translator

Oxford Dictionaries Language Champion, Kritika Agrawal, says: “Nari Shakti or women power is reflective of the renewed power of women that came to the fore in 2018. It is representative of the courage that women derived and the feeling of sisterhood which was stronger than ever before. It is a sentiment, and that sentiment is being carried forward in 2019. Nari Shakti is a movement involving both men and women, and a reminder that we need to keep fighting the good fight.”

Word selection panellist, Namita Gokhale, says: “‘Nari Shakti’ encapsulates the spirit of our times, with all its struggles, challenges, and triumphs.”

For further information, visit Hindi Word of the Year.