Let Us Start on Equal Footing by Getting to Know Each Other on “First-Name Basis”

Vikas Dubey, a UK based Non-Resident Indian, seconds the No Sir No Madam cause.  With over 14 years of experience in advanced data techniques, he is a working as a Business Intelligence consultant in Edinburgh, the UK.  Originally from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, he holds a Master in Geographic Information Systems from the University of Nottingham, UK (UoNottingham) and is a gold medalist from Devi Ahilya University, Indore, India.

He believes that there is a kind of colonial hangover persists in India, which leads to inequality and discrimination within the workplace.  “As far, dignity and mutual respect are maintained; the exchange of words is a little less meaningful” Vikas says.

In Britain, people earn Sir/ Madam designation after their significant contribution to the society.  However, in India most of us do not realize the intensity of these words.  Sir/Madam has somehow paved its way into our daily lives and become casual, such that if we do not address our authorities as Sir/Madam most of them feel offended, he remarks.

He concurs that giving respect is mandatory; however, calling Sir/Madam is not necessary.  “You may call me Sir; even so, may not respect me internally then what is the point” he says.  According to him, people can connect better if they are addressed by their names at the workplace.  Rather than wasting time on addressing their seniors as Sir/Madam, people should be focusing on various other aspects and improve upon their working efficiency.

Vikas shares his UoNottingham experience – where he was asked to address his professors by their first name.  Initially, coming from an Indian background, it was very difficult for Vikas to accept this.  This incident made him realize the importance of professionalism in the education as well.

Sir/Madam chanting in each sentence has been inculcated in Indians right from the school days.  Hence, this typical colonial hangover will stay in our minds forever.  Looking for a positive change –According to Vikas, addressing teachers respectfully as acharya/ first name+ji/ (Mr./Ms./Mrs.)+last name should be implemented.  Furthermore, there should be an engaging conversation over this, to spread awareness as many people follow Sir/Madam trend without understanding where it came from.  Hopefully, there will be the significant change in the upcoming generations–he speaks.

Moreover, in the professional arena, when it is time to execute, most of us procrastinate the change.  Therefore, we may begin to adopt gradually other available Hindi alternatives such as Shreeman, Shreemati, or Mahodaya (i.e. Mr. /Ms. /Mrs.).  Eventually, everyone will be on equal footing and in the long run, people can address each other by first name in the professional arena.

Finally, observing the vibrant changes in India, he firmly advocates for No Sir No Madam cause to establish flat hierarchy to build professional India.

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