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'Samvidhaan' announced as Oxford Hindi Word of the Year 2019

28 January 2020

We have chosen ‘Samvidhaan’ as the Oxford Hindi Word of the Year 2019. It translates as ‘Constitution’, meaning ‘a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed.’

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. Samvidhaan (Constitution) 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 5 August 2019, which effectively removed the special status granted to the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. The revocation of the articles lead to nationwide debates and discussions around the Constitution, bringing the word to the forefront of conversations across the country.

Some major decisions by the Supreme Court also significantly contributed to Samvidhaan’s prominence in 2019, such as the Sabarimala verdict, allowing women to visit the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala, stating that the discrimination stood as violation of the constitution’s fundamental rights like the Right to Equality. Other significant decisions included the floor test in Maharashtra to save the Constitutional values and to ensure the smooth functioning of democracy, and the apex court upholding the order of the former Speaker of the Karnataka legislative assembly disqualifying 17 MLAs under the anti-defection law (the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India).

Kritika Agarwal, Hindi Language Champion for Oxford Languages said: “This year’s Hindi Word of the Year is a fitting choice reflecting the mood of the masses as also the focus of the decision makers. Constitution embodies the spirit of the country and the year 2019 was witness to the spirit of the constitution being embraced across segments of the society. In 2019, the Constitution moved from being an academic concept to a movement in real time.”

The Oxford Living 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 Living Dictionaries team in India with the help of an advisory panel of language experts:

• Naveen Choudhary – Associate Director, Marketing, Academic India
• Minakshi Singh – Consultant Editor Hindi, Oxford Languages
• Sarada Biswas – Consultant Editor for Hindi, Oxford Languages
• Kritika Agarwal – Hindi Language Champion, Oxford Languages
• Vivek Tripathi – Hindi Language Champion, Oxford Languages
• Poonam Sahay – Hindi Language Champion, Oxford Languages