Ameya Sahasrabudhe, the Co-Founder of Ithaka believes in No Sir No Madam custom. Ithaka aspires to be a one-stop travel planning platform for travelers. Currently, it serves Thailand and Bali and plans on expanding through South-East Asia and Europe next.
He completed his graduation from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B). After completing his studies, Ameya worked at the oil rig for a while. Being a travel enthusiast, he realized that he wanted to do something that suited his personality. Thus, he teamed up with his college friend, Rahul Singh, to establish Ithaka.
Being an ardent practitioner of first-name culture, Ameya ensures to inculcate the same at his workplace. He ponders that ‘Sir/Madam’ tradition is a proxy for giving respect just for the sake of it. Furthermore, he states, “I believe that a person should be respected for their values and actions and not just for their designation.”
Having worked in a private sector, he is aware of salutation custom practiced in companies. He voices — ‘Sir/Madam’ decree creates a form of favoritism in organizations. A lot of good ideas get rejected, and bad ideas get encouraged. Seniors tend to give importance to those employees, who cater to boost their ego. This in turn demotivates individuals who sincerely want to contribute to the growth of the business.
Salutation custom; a practice introduced by the Britisher in administrative offices, is still followed in the government sector. ‘Sir/Madam’ obeisance is so ingrained in officials whom they do not comprehend its usage.
“I remember when I had been tagged-along with my father to a party. My father, being a senior government official, everyone addressed him as ‘Sir’. However, I was shocked when someone, the age as my father referred to me as ‘Sir’ too.”
“I felt awful that someone so senior to me had to address me as ‘Sir’. I was just 11 years old and had not achieved anything yet, to be referred with a salutation.” People working within the government sector need to realize that salutation practice was a dictum of the 19th century. They need to be introduced to the decorum of the 21st century and made to impart it in their daily lives.
The working-class section of society is strange to No Sir No Madam ideology. A formal-addressal is the only form of greeting that they know of. They feel strange when introduced to first-name order.
Ameya cites his own experience, “We often work at odd hours, for which we need access to office building. I have to co-ordinate with the security guards for hassle-free entrance to the building. On communicating with me, they always refer to me as ‘Sir’. One day, I urged them to address me by my first-name. They were mortified just by the idea of referring me as Ameya.” Therefore, it is essential that we eliminate ‘Sir/Madam’ taboo,to have a common platform to communicate with respect.
It is crucial to change this deep-rooted notion of showing respect by clinging to salutation injunction. This can be achieved by introducing No Sir No Madam concept at the senior-secondary school level. Students at this age are smart enough to understand the importance of it. This will help them in building affable relation with their teachers too.
Ameya reminisces of his college days when he found a friend in his professor. “One day I asked my professor if I could address him by his first-name. He was quick to suggest that he would prefer that over being referred as ‘Sir’. My professor vocalized how frustrated he was by the dominance of ‘Sir/Madam’ ordinance in India.” Hence, introduction to a better philosophy is very much required in India.
On concluding, Ameya counsels — This beneficial change can be brought about if influential people realize its importance. For example, Abraham Lincoln, being a white, felt emphatic to the cause of slavery. Being in power, he brought in a revolution and liberated the slaves. Similarly, opulent individuals need to take up No Sir No Madam cause and preach about it.