Oxford Dictionaries (India), helped by a panel of language experts, has chosen ‘Nari Shakti’ (women empowerment) as the Hindi word of the year 2018. Every year, one word that reflects the essence and discussions of that year is chosen as the Hindi word of the year and finds a place in the coveted dictionary. Last year saw a spike in the usage of the word after the Nari Shakti Puraskar (Women Power Award), awarded by the Government of India on International Women’s Day, triggered widespread discussions.
Orissa POST interacted with a few women from the state who are excited about the inclusion of the word in Oxford Dictionaries and feel that more such words should be included in future.
Sumitra of Cuttack, an advocate, says, “It’s an honour for every woman. The word has been derived from Sanskrit and is used today to symbolise women who are confident of “taking charge of their lives.” So many women in our state are independent. They no longer look for support from their male partners. It’s a big moment for every woman and the country has finally started believing in the growing power of women. This will initiate revision of many existing laws that pose obstacles in the path of women empowerment.”
There couldn’t have been a better time to choose this word given that women empowerment has emerged as a subject of prime importance in the last few years. Dr Banayotsna of Puri says, “Inclusion of the word in the Oxford Dictionary proves that women empowerment is fast gaining importance in our country. Today, women are no less competent than men, be it in education, sports, politics or administration.”
Banayotsna feels more importance should be paid towards encouraging and empowering women. She wishes words like ‘Beti Bachao’ and ‘Beti Padhao’ too find a place in the dictionary, as it will encourage people to care for the girl child and provide them with education, which will help them become independent.
Rashmi of Bhubaneswar echoes Banayotsna’s sentiments. “Last year, the Supreme Court banned ‘triple talaq’, the much-debated Islamic practice of instant divorce. It was a great initiative and, for sure, will bring relief to lots of Muslim women in our country,” she says.
However, Rashmi regrets that despite the government taking initiatives to empower women, many still remain unaware of these initiatives. “The inclusion of the word ‘Nari Shakti’ definitely reflects the belief in the country that woman can be independent,” she says.
Susmita of Cuttack too sounds excited about the inclusion of the word in the Oxford Dictionaries and says that more such initiatives should be taken to make women feel confident. “Today education is being imparted to women and they are self-reliant. Although law states that both men and women are equal, there are some who are unwilling to accept the fact. This development will surely encourage women to stand against such people,” she says.