Saurabh Singh: Mental Programming Begins from Childhood

Saurabh Singh, the founder at IMA Appweb (http://www.ima-appweb.com) fervently follows No Sir No Madam ideology.  IMA Appweb is an online marketing agency in Delhi that provides internet marketing to its clients.

Saurabh is a graduate in computer science engineering.  Saurabh has also received his masters in computer Science from Punjab University.  He found IMA Appweb after realizing that the corporate life was a little mundane.  Furthermore, he wanted to be an entrepreneur; hence, he quit his job to develop his venture.

Saurabh constantly works on inculcating a salutation-free custom in his company.  He believes in creating an obligation ridden workplace. Therefore, he advocates his employees not to refer him as ‘Sir’.  His employees refer to him as ‘bhaiya’ or add ‘ji’ at the end of his name.  However, some employees are still hesitant to address him by his first-name.  He opines — this is because most of us associate respect with the words ‘Sir’ and ‘Madam’.

He was inspired to implement No Sir No Madam doctrine when he was working in an advertising agency.  “I felt a sense of freedom as there were no mandatory obligations,” Saurabh states.  He believes in the simple doctrine — If I like a practice, I implement it in my life.

Furthermore, having worked in a multi-national company, he found the existence of ‘Sir/Madam’ tradition distasteful.  Saurabh considers himself a person who does not like to talk too much.  He had a difficult time working in the company, as he could not express himself.  “I felt alienated as I could not interact with others.  Moreover, salutation custom made it difficult to approach anyone.”

He emphasizes — There should be no such mandatory decree at a professional workplace.  People should understand that respect is earned and not demanded.  Hence, he considers addressing such issues as a pressing matter.

Besides, the private sector, ‘Sir/Madam’ edict prevails in public sector too in India.  Bureaucrats expect others to address them as ‘Sir/Madam’.  They consider any other greeting as a sign of disrespect.  Even in police stations, there is a hierarchical order that everyone needs to bow down to.

Saurabh talks about his experience while dealing with the police officials.  He mentions that it is hard to get your work acknowledged by any officer.  One can hope to get their issue addressed, only if he/she has some reference of a highly designated person.  This is so, because police officers feel that they are superior to the civilians.  It is truly desolate that this is the scenario in other public offices as well.

Saurabh expresses that introducing No Sir No Madam thesis in the education system can have a bigger impact.  He voices, “When children are at the infancy level, they learn things quickly and tend to follow it for the rest of their lives.  Therefore, kids should be educated about showing respect without clinging to any salutation.”

Before his own venture, Saurabh was also a guest lecturer at a college in Delhi.  On the first day, he briefed the students not to refer him as ‘Sir’.  This gesture facilitated in creating a genial relation with the students.  They would also often socialize after college.  When his company was going through a difficult time, some of the students he taught, volunteered to help.  Saurabh emphasizes, “this happened only because of the cordial relationship he shared by the students.”

However, the same students wrote a letter against another faculty member, asking for his resignation.  Saurabh realized the students did so, because that specific professor had developed a tyrannical culture into the classroom.

He also divulges that today’s youth have already implemented first-name habit of their lives.  It is the only older people who refuse to embrace this custom.  One of Saurabh’s friend, aged 45, was working in a renowned start-up.  However, the average age of the employees in the company was between 25-28 years.  As a result, they would address each other by their first-names.  His friend being accustomed to ‘Sir/Madam’ order was really uncomfortable by this casual culture and decided to quit.

Overall, it is not the people in small towns; however, the highly educated people who associate respect with salutation.  Hence, Saurabh concludes by suggesting every individual to adopt first-name culture by dropping the colonial “Sir/Madam” vocabulary.

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