Ambarish Singh: You Do Not Have to Use Salutations, if You truly Respect Someone

Ambarish Singh, the CEO and managing director of Pahel ( supports No Sir No Madam ideology.  Pahel is a social development enterprise based in Faizabad,  Uttar Pradesh with an ultimate aim to efficiently address vital issues concerning health.  In addition, they also target clean energy and livelihoods of rural households at the base of pyramid.

Ambarish has spent a lot of time in the corporate world before he realized he wanted to do something else.  He always had the desire to work towards uplifting the condition of people at the bottom of the social-chain.  With this ambition, he institutionalized Pahel.

He conveys that they adhere to No Sir No Madam doctrine at Pahel.  His employees refer to him as ‘bhaiya’.  He believes that ‘Sir/Madam’ culture is not good for organizations as it creates a divide between the employees and the senior-level executives.  Ambarish opines, “You do not have to address someone as ‘Sir/Madam’ to display respect.  Respect can be shown in many other ways.  I personally interrupt people who refer to me as ‘boss’ or ‘Sir’ and inform them to address me by my first-name.”

Having accumulated a lot of experience of working in private sector, he came across both types of organizations.  One, where people strictly follow ‘Sir/Madam’ edict, and the other where first-name custom is more prevalent.  Ambarish mentions — there have been instances where I have noticed people getting uncomfortable when I referred to them without a salutation.  It surprises me that people can get upset on being called by their first-name.  On the contrary, I have also met people in private companies that encouraged me to drop salutations while communicating with them.

“I, obviously preferred working with people who more were welcoming towards No Sir No Madam decree,” adds Ambarish.

Furthermore, he ventures on the dominance of ‘Sir/Madam’ tradition in government offices.  He shares, “I had to deal with government employees a lot because of my work.  I have noticed that they take offense on being addressed without a salutation.  Even officials of my age or younger to me are egoistic about being referred with a salutation.  It does not matter if you are polite in your tone or humble with your body language, they want to be addressed as ‘Sir/Madam’ compulsorily.”

Likewise, he contemplates about people who impose the salutation conventions on their house helpers and blue-collar workers.  Some people like to be addressed as ‘Sir/Madam’ by their helpers to feel superior about themselves.  Ambarish states that workers should not have to heed to such practices just to boost someone’s ego.  He reminisces, “I once had participated in a campaign with my kid.  The moment was encouraged by their school, and they were trying to make people aware of mutual respect.  Especially while dealing with petty job workers.  They talked about why labourers too deserve respect and about the ways in which we can be respectful towards them.”

Subsequently, Ambarish surmises that school is the best place to teach kids about No Sir No Madam habit.  He narrates, “I remember my son once told me about some Australian teachers and students who had come over to their school.  The Australian students disclosed that they address their teachers without any salutation.  My son was surprised, and he told me about this instance.  It was then that I got aware of the fact that people abroad practice No Sir No Madam theory at the school level.  Rightly so, as it teaches children to be respectful towards others, without adhering to some formal obeisance.  Ergo, I recommend schools to adopt No Sir No Madam edict as it would help students to learn about mutual respect much more easily.”

Ambarish suggests to spread this cause further, people need to talk about it to make others aware.  Additionally, there should be seminars held where people are educated about the benefits of following No Sir No Madam heed in his or her life.

He concludes by saying, “No Sir No Madam habit is a small change in behavior that will bring a huge remodeling in the environment around us.”

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