Friday, October 5, 2012

No one calls me ' Sir ' !

I am amused to read in a prominent English  weekly  about a former MOS in the Union Government , belonging to the TMC, who when asked what he missed about  the ministry days, said that it was being addressed as Sir………!  His is not the lone example as many others find themselves in the same boat, once they are out of office or position.

One of the many (?)  perks that come along by being in a position of authority or even   while working in a supervisory capacity  is  being addressed as   ‘Sir’   by persons  who happen to be steps below in the  official hierarchy.  Many of the young entrants-  barely in their  twenties or early  thirties -  to the Service to which  I belonged not long ago, visibly look most happy when addressed as ‘Sir’ by   junior colleagues – I dislike the word ‘ subordinate ‘-  much older in age.

‘Unfortunately’      it is rarely that I have been called ‘sir’ by my junior colleagues , to whom even behind my back, I have been just ‘ Sharma ji ‘  .This at times left me  thinking   that perhaps I did not look like one  or simply did not deserve to be where I was. Now when  I  visit my  old offices,  I  am    welcome , am paid due regard  and listened to  carefully and attentively  and enjoy exchanging pleasantries  with my former colleagues . This perhaps is the secret   of being plain ‘Sharma ji ’. In    hindsight , I feel that perhaps they  did not want to have  artificial distance being created  between us as they  considered  me one of them  if not  ‘ their very own ’.

And why should I mind not being called   ‘Sir’ , as I was only a small  cog in a wheel  of the Government  machinery  and did nothing of note  to deserve the honorific  much as ‘Sir’ was  a hard earned knighthood in British India –and is still there in Great Britain- with only a handful of Indian  stalwarts like Sir Chhotu Ram, Sir Ganga Ram, Sir J.C.Bose  and   also  the Nobel Laureate  Rabindranath Tagore in the league , who returned the knighthood, aggrieved over the Jallianwalla   massacre.