Here’s why Samvidhaan, meaning Constitution is Oxford’s Hindi word of 2019
‘Samvidhaan’ or Constitution has been dubbed as the Oxford Hindi Word of 2019 by Oxford University Press (OUP) on Tuesday, saying it received widespread attention in the year which was witness to the spirit of the Indian Constitution being embraced across segments of the society. It said the word was chosen as 2019 saw the values of democracy, secularism, justice, liberty, equality and fraternity being tested on the touchstone of the Constitution or ‘Samvidhaan’. Oxford University Press justified their decision by saying that the Indian Constitution was until this year only something which was relevant to trained professionals like members of the government, police, lawyers, judges and legislators, but it was in 2019 that the Constitution found renewed significance among common citizens.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. OUP said ‘Samvidhaan’ means a “body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organisation is acknowledged to be governed”.
The word ‘Samvidhaan’ first received widespread attention in August 2019, with the abrogation of two key constitutional provisions - Article 370 and Article 35(A) of the Indian Constitution, on August 5, which effectively removed the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir. Some major decisions by the Supreme Court also significantly contributed to Samvidhaan’s prominence in 2019: the Sabarimala verdict, the floor test in Maharashtra and upholding of the order of the former Speaker of the Karnataka legislative assembly disqualifying 17 MLAs under the anti-defection law, an OUP statement said.
According to Kritika Agarwal, Hindi Language Champion for Oxford Languages, “The Hindi Word of the Year for 2019 is a fitting choice reflecting the mood of the masses as also the focus of the decision makers... In 2019, the Constitution moved from being an academic concept to a movement in real time.” 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 by the Oxford Dictionaries team in India with the help of an advisory panel of language experts.
“Aadhaar” was Oxford Dictionaries’ inaugural Hindi Word of the Year for 2017, followed by “Nari Shakti”, or women’s power, in 2018.
(With inputs from PTI.)