Sushant Jha, Co-Founder at Padhega India is a campaigner of No Sir No Madam ideology. Padhega India is an initiative to make knowledge accessible and affordable to the maximum number of people. They provide a reliable supply of second-hand book/books on rent.
Sushant, a mechanical engineer, has also received his MBA in marketing and finance from The Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM). Furthermore, he has attained corporate experience while working in companies such as Godrej and Energia Trading and Consulting. However, a desire to make knowledge accessible to everyone encouraged him to initiate Padhega India.
Sushant believes that respect is a two-way street. One cannot expect to be respected, if he/she does not respect others. He voices that it is a mindset among Indians to demand respect. Individuals at higher positions tend to impose ‘Sir/Madam’ mandate onto their subordinates. This malpractice dominantly exists in corporate offices, Sushant emphasizes.
Therefore, people in private organisations need to be educated on No Sir No Madam concept. They need to realize, respect can be shown even without adhering to salutation compulsion. Seniors also need to treat their juniors with the same respect they expect from them. Hence, eradicating such an edict will help in creating a positive domain for everyone to work.
Even though, ‘Sir/Madam’ tradition is gradually vanishing, people consider first-name addressal as an offense.
He cites an example of the Indian Cricket Team. “We do not notice players such as Virat Kohli and others address M.S. Dhoni as ‘Sir’. They refer senior players as ‘dada’, ‘bhai’, or ‘bhaiya’.” Sushant suggests that we should exercise similar substitutes for showing respect. He claims, such alternatives create a stronger bond and a much more cordial environment.
Fortunately, we have such substitutes that can be practiced while addressing a senior person. In Hindi, we often use ‘Ji’ after someone’s name to portray respect. This decree can be executed at all levels to imbibe a sense of mutual respect.
However, Sushant points the lack of a replacement to salutation, when meeting someone for the first time. “There is no other option available to people. To display respect, individuals heed to ‘Sir/Madam’ formality.”
This creates a base for any further communication and makes it difficult to break the routine. Ergo, he postulates — We need to provide a surrogate to formal-addressal.
It is frequently spotted in public sector, where ‘Sir/Madam’ act is strictly followed. Government officials, over the years, have encouraged this boot-licking tradition.
Citizens have to glorify them to get even the smallest work done. It is absurd about the way bureaucrats exploit their authority. Hence, it is imperative that this archaic salutation practice should be abolished to extinguish such oppression.
Therefore, Sushant proposes — Everyone needs to take up the cross of spreading awareness about No Sir No Madam doctrine. Equality is essential and it can be spread only by our collective efforts.
As it is rightly said, “Until you treat everyone as an equal, you have no right to complain about the treatment you receive from anyone.”