Sunday, February 02, 2014

156. On addressing VIPs

Addressing judges as "your honour" is not the only colonial legacy we have inherited. There are other forms of addressing people in constitutional positions and using honorifics before their names that remind us of our colonial past. These honorifics and forms of addressing VIPs smack of subservience and are not in tune with the democratic nature of our polity. They serve to put the 'receivers' at a very high pedestal, far removed from the 'givers'. On top of it all, they sound so pompous and stupid.

Luckily, the situation has started changing. The change has begun with the first citizen of the country. Some time back, Rashtrapati Bhawan announced that the President need not be addressed as "mahamahim" and only 'sir' will do for him. The Supreme Court has followed this up by ruling that judges need not be addressed as "your honour".

I have observed that 'Hon'ble' is another word which is frequently and unnecessarily used. It is very common to address Ministers and other VIPs as 'Hon'ble' and use this honorific before their titles and names in written documents. This is artificial and unnecessary and, sometimes, totally undeserved. There is an apostrophe involved in the word which makes it more difficult than other words to type, leading to needless waste of time. To the uninitiated, it looks truncated and on top of it, it begins with a silent 'H'. People with limited exposure to the English language are likely to mispronounce the word, causing unintended offence to the recipient. Where is the need to keep these unnecessary sources of stress alive?

I think, our VIPs must show magnanimity and appeal for dispensing with these honorifics. This will make them feel more grounded and closer to normal human beings. As for those who cannot do without sycophancy, let me assure them that even if the offending and unnecessary honorifics are dispensed with, sycophants will always be around. They are too difficult to dispense with.


Sandhya said...

Our Ministers, esp. don't deserve to be addressed as 'honourable'! Nowadays even judges are involved in so many scandals that they don't even deserved to be addressed as 'Sir'...well, some of the judges!

Sai Charan said...

Yes, agree with your views on this, VIPs are just as human!! The more they are treated normally, the more they will feel responsible towards their duty to make our country a better place to live!!

How do we know said...

very true. I totally agree sir.