Rajendra Prasad: No Sir No Madam Upholds the Very Principles of Equality
Rajendra Prasad is the General Manager of MEC Global (http://www.mecglobal.com). MEC Global is one of the largest media agencies around the world. They connect their client’s brands with their audiences in meaningful ways through owned, paid, and earned channels.
In the last 2 decades as a marketing professional, Rajendra has worked with leading brands in the field of advertising, media, and analytics.
Rajendra vividly remembers the day he called out a senior colleague with a customary ‘Sir’. He was reproached. Even after about 15 years he remembers every word of it. His senior colleague, had said “I am yet to be conferred knighthood. Till such time, please call me by my name”.
After pangs of the slight subsided, the real meaning of the words he heard was clear. He realised that the days of hierarchy and authority were dissolving into the times of equality & diversity. Since then he has been a practitioner of No Sir No Madam. He strongly feels that first-name culture is essential to the progressive times we live in today.
Rajendra feels that it is our default setting to refer someone with salutation. As a society, we are not convinced that the first name can effectively replace Sir/Madam. We feel that it lacks respect and earnestly confirms to the tradition even after 70 years of independence. Our system is so used to it that people in power expect to be addressed as Sir/Madam. Any other way is considered as a sign of disrespect and their discomfort can have some uneasy side effects. However, now is a world enriched by ideas and enabled by communication.
Diversity is respected as much as knowledge. Removing obstacles are necessary. Doing away with salutation which is an archaic practice helps people come together and express better. Especially, youngsters thrive when given this freedom.
He is being fortunate to be working in an industry where No Sir No Madam comes naturally. Rajendra suggests that individuals who practice No Sir No Madam should turn into active ambassadors. Companies should consciously inculcate the practice in their HR manifest and make it integral to their corporate governance. They should be proud of creating an ecosystem of parity.
Rajendra also cites examples of other countries he has traveled to where the use of Sir/Madam is non-existent. In fact, he remembers his friend in Europe amused by her son. When he saw him addressing his teacher by first name and the positive effect it has been having. Similarly, he feels “people coming to India from foreign countries must be finding use of Sir/Madam strange and difficult to understand”.
Rajendra concludes that our children are our hope to build the future we can only dream about. The changes we want to see in the world must be sown as seeds in young minds. These are minds without baggage and with potential for abundant goodness. They must be nurtured for creating a world without bias. A world where everyone is equal. A world without Sir/Madam.