Rajeev Talwar: Co-Founder of Home4pet Advocates the Exigency for a Translation from Sir/Madam to First-Name Culture
Rajeev Talwar, co-founder of Home4pet (http://www.home4pet.com) is a firm believer in No Sir No Madam Initiative. Home4pet is a one-stop shopping experience for every pet owner. It fills the much-needed space for pet products and services, which otherwise is a much disorganized market.
A Charter Accountant, Rajeev has been associated with the corporate sector for over 20 years before starting Home4pet. Rajeev is an enthusiastic participant of No Sir No Madam practice at his workplace. “I ensure that my employees do not feel obliged to address me as ‘Sir’. I deem parallelism at work to be an important factor for efficiency in communication.” He also adds, practicing No Sir No madam culture let’s employees express themselves better.
Having tremendous experience of working in the corporate sector, Rajeev has come across the dominance of the Sir/Madam tradition. Being a consultant for many companies, he has dealt with many top-level managers. He recollects one such instance, “I addressed a senior executive by his first name. The executive got upset and demanded to be addressed as ‘Sir’.
Furthermore, Rajeev indicates that executives in the corporate sector are accustomed to the Sir/Madam culture. It is imbibed into their minds, in order to receive respect; each one has to address their superiors as Sir/Madam. However, respect should be earned by our work. It is a norm to follow orders given by the seniors in order to receive a decent increment.
For his work, Rajeev constantly interacts with Govt machinery. Government of India has been following the Sir/Madam culture as a legacy from the colonial period. He cites I remember an instance – An assistant of a high ranking official did not approve my work for a prolonged period. On further inquiring, I found, that it was because I spoke to the assistant with his first-name. He had to address the assistant as ‘Sir’ as well to show his respect.
Rajeev strongly believes, “India is a country of beautiful traditions. Earlier, we used to sit on the floor to have our meals, bow with Namaste and greet everyone. Rather now we have moved to dining tables, made our relations more formal, and rigid. Somewhere between moving from our custom to show off, we adapted the Sir/Madam convention.”
“I think we need to get back to our civilization of Namaste – providing equal mutual respect. We should learn to show respect without using any formal salutation. Sir/Madam compulsion is that bench we need to get rid of,” he ensues.
Rajeev recommends – a propensity should be taught from childhood. Children should be made to learn the advanced way of tending a person. No Sir No Madam ideology preaches equality as well as respect. Guardians, have a pivotal role in making their kids understand that respect should be earned and not demanded.
A change needs to be brought about in the education system. The very formal British way of writing letters needs to be remodelled. We need not to follow rules set by our colonial rulers. It has been 70 years since we achieved our Independence. It is time we free our minds too of such ordinances.
Sir/Madam practice is like a tree which is withering and turning yellow. We need to uproot it and nourish it with new nutrients for fresh leaves and flower to blossom. Rajeev finishes by stating, “Although adapting a change is difficult; it is of high significance that we bring about this change. No Sir No Madam initiative can help us transform towards a modern and fair-minded India and of-course the world .