Nikita Khatri, London based NRI, IT-professional, unequivocally believes that the Sir/Madam practice should be eradicated.  She has over 7 years of global experience in software development.  She pursued her bachelor’s degree from LD Engineering College, Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Back in college days she remembers — she had to address the administration of her college as Sir/Madam, to get the simplest of work done.  It made her feel, as if she was seeking their mercy for the work that officials were entitled to do.

During her first job at Elegant Microwaves, Ahmedabad — she recalls, “I was lucky enough to be in a company where individuals avoided the culture Sir/Madam”.  The firm hired an HR manager, especially to benefit the freshers.  The HR person taught them how to be professional without using Sir/Madam.

Thus, it was the foremost instance where she was encouraged to address people with their first name.  In the beginning, it was awkward for Nikita.  However, with time, she liberated herself from the Sir/Madam propensity.

The Sir/Madam culture is common in a majority of corporate firms and government institutions in India.  Officials like to be addressed as Sir/Madam.  She shares whenever her parents visited the bank.  They would address the bank staff as Sir/Madam.  It is the sort of impression we get from our elders.

Therefore, sometimes she would consider a few government employees as ‘Sophisticated Gundas’ who demanded for money.  In case, a person fails in doing so, they would create troubles for the person.  Government officers need to learn that they are not the boss and there is a difference between two entities.

Later, she moved to London with her spouse.  Migration to a different nation came as a cultural shock.  In the United Kingdom, people address each other by first name.

 “My kids use Mr. /Mrs. /Ms. for referring to their teachers as well as their friend’s parents,” Nikita said.  However, in India, students are taught about Sir/Madam culture in schools.  Thus, since childhood this culture gets incorporated into their minds.

She feels that No Sir No Madam ideology is an excellent thought.  It would help everyone acknowledge the opportunities thriving their way.  With this, people will have the privilege to talk about themselves. Furthermore, it will reduce debasement and promote equality.

Addressing seniors as Sir/Madam signifies that juniors are inferiors to them.  This obstacle is leading to the workplace discrimination.  Eliminating Sir/Madam helps juniors to build up their confidence.  Moreover, it encourages them to come forward and present their views to their seniors.

Seek respect not attention, as respect lasts long.  The time has arrived when we should stop using Sir/Madam without restraint.  As Sidney Sheldon said, “Try to leave the Earth a better place than when you arrived.”

Changing the mindset of over a billion people is not easy.  This reform cannot be incorporated overnight.  As Mahatma, Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  Therefore, we must change our communication terminology, so that our next generation can communicate well within a professional environment.

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