Bharat Ahirwar: Do Not Subordinate Yourself by Addressing Others as ‘Sir/Madam’
Bharat Ahirwar, the founder at Russsh (https://russsh.com ) has always been a spirited henchman of No Sir No Madam movement. Russsh is an innovative errand-running and same-day delivery service in Mumbai. They offer reliable and affordable services that let people outsource their daily chores and errands.
He is an Arts graduate and has spent more than 10 years working in companies such as United Airlines, Lintas, and Big help. As an elder sibling, Bharat has always had to run tasks for his mother and father. Being tired of doing all the household chores himself, he realised the need for a service that would handle all the errands. Thus, he came up with the idea to set up Russsh.
He started working at a very young age. During his college days, he used to work as a waiter at various events. “I remember when I was serving drinks to some men, whom I addressed as ‘Sir’. They informed me that I do not need to refer them with a salutation.” It was surprising to Bharat that affluent people did not get offended on being addressed by their first-name.
Bharat has always believed in treating everyone equally and with respect. He has induced the same ideology at his workplace too. His employees do not have to address him by any salutation. Bharat gathers that half the work gets simplified when there is no hierarchical barrier. “No Sir No Madam usage improves the communication between your employees and you,” he adds.
Although, not everyone adopts No Sir No Madam easily. Bharat had to face challenges while instilling the first-name habit among his employees. People are so habituated to salutation custom that any other culture seems vague to them. He vocalizes “I personally have had to remind my new employees about the casual environment of our workplace. Moreover, ‘Sir/Madam’ greeting is so imbibed into people that it takes a lot of time to change their mindset.”
Bharat used to attend French tutorial classes. He recounts “There were two ladies, who used to attend those classes too and had recently moved to Mumbai. In the very beginning of our course, we were briefed about not addressing anyone as ‘Madam’ or ‘Sir’. However, every time those two ladies had any doubt, they would refer the instructor as ‘Madam’. The authorities even imposed a fine of Rs. 10 onto anyone who used a salutation.
Bharat always tries to converse with people, referring them by their first-name. He believes, it helps in connecting better with the other person. Even while dealing with older people, he mostly addresses them by their first-name. He states — I never had a problem in addressing someone without a salutation. It mostly depends upon the individual’s mindset, whether he/she finds first-name habit as disrespectful.
Like in case of public sector, officials relate respect with salutation. Hence, they strictly follow and expect others to greet them with a formal obeisance. He shares his experience while dealing with a custom officer. For work, Bharat had to meet a senior official in the excise department. Bharat mentions that he had to prepare himself to address the officer with a salutation. Simply because he did not want to offend the person in-charge and had his work disregarded.
Mentality of such people needs to be remodelled, in order to infuse No Sir No Madam principles in India. Bharat proposes that it would be easier to switch our perception, if kids in school are taught about No Sir No Madam. Children will not have to face such experiences, if they are made to follow first-name habit from an early age.
Furthermore, he ventures upon his experience while traveling abroad. ‘Sir/Madam’ culture dominantly prevails in India only. In foreign countries, everyone addresses each other by first-names, wherever they might be. We Indians, negligently convince ourselves that this is how the culture is abroad. Whereas, the truth is, they learnt the boons of No Sir No Madam and decided to embrace it. Similarly, we Indians ought to welcome and follow No Sir No Madam system in India. After all, there is no harm in adopting a better culture.
Overall, he wraps up — Do not degrade your identity by addressing someone as ‘Sir/Madam’. Follow No Sir No Madam creed and inspire others to follow you.