Sunil Bakshi; University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumnus — I find ‘Sir/Madam’ Culture to be Patronizing
Sunil Bakshi, the CEO and founder of Infiniti Liveaboard (http://www.infinitiliveaboard.com) has always been in favor of No Sir No Madam ideology. The Infiniti is a brand-new high end live-aboard that was constructed in Thailand, in 2013 specifically for live-aboard diving. It can comfortably access places where everyday boats cannot reach.
Sunil has completed his engineering from the prestigious University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He comes with a strong business background and has managed a premier engineering consultancy since 1995. However, being a diving-enthusiast, he also wanted to start a business that involved his passion.
Having studied and worked in the United States, he has always been accustomed to No Sir No Madam tradition. Consequently, he instilled the same culture in his organization as well. Sunil conveys — I find ‘Sir/Madam’ convention to be patronizing. People here are so accustomed to salutation edict that despite giving them the liberty to address me by my name, they avoid first-name culture.
Conversing with people on a first-name basis lets each party bond better. Whereas, ‘Sir/Madam’ makes people question themselves constantly, if they are crossing any boundary while communicating. Furthermore, people get apprehensive and hesitate to approach any senior figure in the firm for any help.
For his other business, Sunil has to interact with government officials persistently. He mentions, “There is no other way of corresponding with bureaucrats. You either have to address them as ‘Sir/Madam’ or face consequences. I find it annoying that a person has to force himself or herself to such unwanted customs in order for their work to be completed. Additionally, it is only you, who has to refer them with a salutation in order to display respect. They do not greet you with ‘Sir/Madam’. As a result, they start feeling superior to you and misuse their designation and authority.”
In addition, he contemplates upon the lack of dignity of labour that exists in India. Sunil shares his experience while studying in the US. He used to work in a pizza shop and did all the petty jobs as well as be responsible for serious tasks. Sunil narrates — I never had to address my senior as ‘Sir/Madam’. Even the customers, who used to come in, would be very polite and cordial. People there, respect you for who you are irrespective of your profession and background. By removing ‘Sir/Madam culture, there is more parity and mutual-respect that gets instilled.
This would never happen in India as people are indifferent towards individuals who work as labourers and blue-collar workers. Therefore, it is vital that they be informed about No Sir No Madam doctrine in order to reduce inequality within society.
Sunil reckons that No Sir No Madam theory should be imbibed into school education systems. He cites an example of his daughter’s school where they already follow the first-name orders. The students from an early age are informed to address their teachers as ‘Mr.’ or ‘Mrs.’ followed by their name. Sunil recommends that other schools in India should also try to adopt a salutation ridden culture. If kids learn to respect each other and their seniors without adhering to salutations, they will not have to bow down to salutation edict in the future.
Additionally, he recommends spreading awareness among people about No Sir No Madam movement. People need to be educated that ‘Sir/Madam’ custom promotes discrimination. They will only be able to accommodate themselves to No Sir No Madam habit when they learn about the positive effects of it.
In conclusion, he quotes, “try to and be as forthright and honest as you can be. You can achieve success without imposing any unwarranted diktat onto others, if you are diligent in your work and efforts.”