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‘Aatmanirbharta’ was named Oxford Hindi word of the year 2020 for ‘validating achievements of Indians’.

With people losing jobs due to the nation’s lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested people to be ‘aatmanirbhar’ or ‘self-dependent’. PM Modi could not stop stressing over the word, ‘atmanirbharta’ while announcing the Covid recovery package, highlighting its increased prominence in India’s public lexicon.

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‘Aatmanirbharta’ has been named by Oxford Languages as its Hindi word of the year 2020 as it “validated the day-to-day achievements of the countless Indians who dealt with and survived the perils of a pandemic”.

The word, ‘Aatmanirbharta’ was chosen by an advisory panel of language experts Kritika Agrawal, Poonam Nigam Sahay, and Imogen Foxell.

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‘Aatmanirbharta’ is an expression that is and was used to review the year 2020.


In a statement, Oxford Languages said in the early months of the pandemic when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India’s COVID-19 recovery package, he emphasized the need to become self-reliant as a country, as an economy, as a society, and as individuals, in a bid to navigate the perils of the pandemic.

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After PM Modi’s speech, there was a massive increase in the usage of ‘aatmanirbharta’, and people taking several steps to become ‘self-dependent’. The lockdown did not let the courage of people die, rather it made some of them stronger by being ‘aatmanirbhar’ and taking matters into their own hands.

One of the standout successes of the entire Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign is the large-scale manufacturing of the COVID-19 vaccine in India. During the Republic Day parade, the Department of Biotechnology highlighted the Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign and showcased the COVID-19 vaccine development process in its tableau at Rajpath, reported The Print.

“In an unprecedented year, ‘aatmanirbharta’ found resonance with a wide cross-section of people as it is seen to be an answer to the revival of a COVID-impacted economy,” said Oxford University Press India managing director Sivaramakrishnan Venkateswaran.

Language expert, Kritika Agrawal said amid several interesting and topical entries received, ‘aatmanirbharta’ stood out because it validated the day-to-day achievements of the countless Indians who dealt with and survived the perils of a pandemic.

This word “gives a voice to the strength displayed by young and old alike in dealing with extended periods of isolation, lack of familial support, loss of livelihoods and other difficulties through sheer determination and self-reliance”, she said.


Aadhar was the Hindi word of the year 2017
Nari Shakti was the Hindi word of the year 2018
Samvidhaan was the Hindi word of the year 2019

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