The Hindi imposition row has once again assumed centre stage with ICAI President Nihar N Jambusaria’s message.

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news Language politics Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 13:15

Language politics and the Hindi imposition row has once again assumed centre stage after a bizarre message by the ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India) President, Nihar N Jambusaria promoting hindi at the workplace made headlines.

In his monthly message to the members, Nihar N Jambusaria said: "Realising the power of our mother tongue Hindi, ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India) is trying to incorporate more use of Hindi into its work culture." ICAI’s three lakh members (auditors and accountants) are “encouraged to adopt Hindi language in their work and interactions with other stakeholders," he added in his President’s message for October 2021.

The message further read, “At a time when the whole world is looking at India as a global leader, successor and torch bearer, our language must also be a global beacon. With the government's focus on making India, 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat', it also focuses on us being 'Aatmanirbhar' with our mother tongue and its nationalistic approach. September 14 is marked as Hindi Diwas, and this day gives us a message to be proud of our heritage with a focus on language. I believe there should not be a specific day for Hindi, rather Hindi should be part of our life...We should be proudly speaking our Rajbhasha (national language) on any occasion”. 

He also added that "as part of the professional behaviour, all the employees took the Rajbhasha pledge to use and promote Hindi".

Several Chartered Accountant members of ICAI have expressed concerns over the imposition of Hindi at their workplace after reading the President’s message. Many were also quick to point out that Nihar N Jambusaria was heading the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and not the 'Institute of Chartered Accountants of North India'. 

Coming out strongly against such ideas, the President of Society of Auditors P.S. Prabhakar said: "The ICAI President has needlessly stirred a hornet's nest by 'promoting' Hindi language in his monthly message to chartered accountants and I really don't know whom is he trying to please."

Prabhakar also said: "His knowledge both about Aatmanirbhar (which has no preference to any single language) and about the Constitution of the India which has not given the Rajbhasha/National language status to any language is appallingly poor."

Prabhakar said that Nihar N Jambusaria's attempt is to ridicule the unity in diversity concept about which several national leaders have spoken.

With three lakh members-one of the largest accounting professional bodies in the world -- ICAI should be at the forefront in designing the accounting standards, which is what Aatmanirbhar of the profession actually means, Prabhakar argued.

"Funnily enough ICAI is the cheerleader for IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) which are 'imported' accounting standards," Prabhakar said.

It may be recalled in 2019 Union Home Minister Amit Shah said: "It is very essential that the entire country has one language which becomes its identity in the world."

His comments triggered strong protests from the DMK party, following which Amit Shah clarified he did not want imposition of Hindi on anyone.

As per Article 343 of the Constitution, Hindi is one of the 22 official languages in India but not a national language. Even though Hindi remains the most spoken mother tongue in the country, 60% of the population speaks a language other than Hindi. 

Hindi in Devanagari script along with English, were deemed official languages under the Constitution in 1950 which also stipulated that Parliamentary business may be conducted in Hindi or English. 

In January 2010, even the Gujarat High Court had observed that while a majority of the population who speak Hindi may have accepted it as a national language, officially it is not.

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