Taking cue from the recent debate surrounding the Unique Identification Number (UIN) a.k.a. Aadhaar, Oxford Dictionaries has announced its Hindi Word of the Year for 2017 – Aadhaar. The announcement was made at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Saturday, 27th January along with the words - Notebandi, Swachh, Vikaas, Yoga and Bahubali. This induction reflects the social, cultural, political and economic trends and events of 2017.
Aadhaar is a Hindi word that has existed long before the inception of Aadhaar card or UIN in 2010 by the Congress government. However, it rose to prominence as it sparked nation-wide debates after there were reports to link the Aadhaar card with one’s bank account and phone number. The move was seen by many as a breach of privacy. Even, USA’s whistleblower Edward Snowden chipped-in his opinion on the issue.
Rarely do former intel chiefs and I agree, but the head of India's RAW writes #Aadhaar is being abused by banks, telcos, and transport not to police entitlements, but as a proxy for identity–an improper gate to service. Such demands must be criminalized. https://t.co/rRSn42XLlQ— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) January 21, 2018
That might be true if banks, landlords, hospitals, schools, telephone & internet companies were prohibited by law from asking for your #Aadhaar number. But any Indian can tell you they're asked for their number by non-government entities––and those companies have databases too. https://t.co/WsKC9wR6sj— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) January 21, 2018
“However, the very idea of putting such a vast amount of sensitive personal information in the hands of the government has led many Indians to protest against Aadhaar as a violation of the fundamental right to privacy. Widespread popular anxiety over data use and security was further compounded by the Indian government’s recent push to have enrolled individuals link their Aadhaar to a host of essential private and public services, from bank accounts and mobile phone numbers to old-age pensions and welfare schemes, and by widely reported security breaches and data leaks. Humanitarian issues have also been raised in connection with the treatment of homeless people who have not been assigned an Aadhaar,” read a blog post on Oxforddictionories.com.
Aadhaar was chosen as the Hindi Word of The Year 2017 by a panel consisting of Ashok Vajpey (Hindi poet and critic), Pankaj Dubey (writer, producer and director), Anu Singh Choudhary (writer, translator and filmmaker) and Chitra Mudgal (one of the leading literary figures of modern Hindi literature) at the Jaipur Literature Festival.
Lawyer, polyglot and Indian language expert Kritika Agrawal, , senior editorial manager at Oxford University Press, India, Mallika Ghosh, writer and publisher Namita Gokhale and Poonam Nigham Sahay who is an associate professor at Ranchi University, among others, also contributed in choosing the word.