Khushboo Pahal: ‘Sir/Madam’ Culture is Power Dynamic and Forces a Person to Follow Any Order Imposed on Him/Her
Khushboo Pahal, is the academic director at Sunshine schools (www.sunshine-schools.com, firstname.lastname@example.org ) New Delhi. She has been a mentor and training manager at think stations. To add to her expertise, she has even interned at National Foundation for Corporate Social Responsibility (NFCSR).
Khushboo is a graduate in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management and has earned her master’s in public administration from Indira Gandhi National Open University. She has interned at Ministry of Corporate Affairs. She is a ‘Teach for India’ alum and has taught in a government school from 2014-2016 during the course of her fellowship. She has an affinity towards teaching and works to educate people emphatically.
Khushboo has ensured to maintain a salutation ridden environment in her school. She states that ‘Sir/Madam’ culture is power dynamic and intimidates people to follow any order given to them. She expresses — in her school students address the teachers as ‘didi’ or ‘bhaiya’. She believes that uprooting salutations lets students enjoy the learning process and approach teachers without any fear.
Having experience in various fields, she is well informed about the dominance of ‘Sir/Madam’ tradition in our country. She indicates her concern regarding the practices of government officials, who impose salutation edict onto people. Khushboo narrates “My sister appeared for an internship interview with the ministry. She, along with other interviewees, kept standing until the officials arrived in the office and took their positions. She assumed that to be the culture based on her limited information. Furthermore, on asking the available volunteers about salutations she decided to address the officers as ‘Sir’.
In addition, Khushboo opines — If bureaucrats are made to follow No Sir No madam custom, they will develop a personal relation with people. Consequently, they will be able to concord people’s problem and be reluctant in asking for a bribe.
Having volunteered for various organisations, she has been able to learn the different experiences people have been through. Khushboo sympathizes with the plight of blue-collar workers. She mentions people from lower-economic backgrounds are exploited because of their helplessness.
Khushboo explains that a person after achieving prosperity in life wants to be felt superior. Subsequently, he/she will try to impose authority over people inferior to him/her. She emphasizes that people consider their helpers as servants and think they can make their helpers do anything as their livelihoods depends on them.
Khushboo’s school has set an example for every person to uplift the less fortunate people. She conveys that in her school, the non-teaching staff that comprises of maids and peons are respected equally as any other teacher. As a routine, after every meeting, the teachers and managers hug each other. Along with the teachers, they even hug the maids and share gifts with them on every special occasion. Furthermore, on Teacher’s day, the non-teaching staff is felicitated along with the teachers. They are even presented with the same gifts that the teachers are awarded with.
It’s really inspiring to see someone work towards uplifting the less fortunate and purvey equality within the society. The students studying in this school will surely grow up to be responsible and follow No Sir No Madam in their lives as well.
Similarly, she appeals to everyone else to take small initiatives to spread parity. Additionally, she remarks — to conduct talks with organisations and inform them about No Sir No Madam movement. Empowering people by eradicating any salutation compulsion will encourage them to work with integrity.
Winding-up, she comments — Instill No Sir No Madam ideology in your life to empathize with others. Everyone has their story to share from which others can learn.