As a result of necessary initiative taken by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, the addresses like ‘His Excellency’ and ‘Honourable’ till now being used before the names of the VVIPs shall no more be allowed to remain in vogue with immediate effect. This decision he took preceding his visit to Mithila University to deliver his convocation address to-day. All invitation cards prepared and published for the purpose using the terms like ‘His Excellency’ and ‘Honourable’ had to be cancelled and fresh ones issued as a result of his decision as such. The practice of using such prefixes dates back to British rule in the country, and their usage as such only denotes slavery mode of a system. The need is actually to abolish also the other address like ‘Me Lord’ commonly used in courts. To call the great personalities or celebrities as ‘Sir’ or, say ‘respected Sir’, should be enough, and any thing beyond that sounds as flattery in a free nation like ours. Different languages used in the country are sumptuously rich in necessary vocabulary to express respect for those who are much senior in their status and position, and this factor takes full care of showing ample regards to the dignitaries concerned.
At the initial level of my career in State Bank, I worked as a stenographer/ typist to the local Agent (later Branch Manager) at Bahraich (U.P.), and the letters I prepared for the Head Office at Kolkata included at times the ones emanating from the table of ‘Bada Babu’ (later Senior Assistant), one M.N. Sheorey. All his letters invariably and without fail started with opening lines as ‘I beg to advise’, which I took as too irritating to me for the reason that the very word ‘beg’ sounded to me as something like a ‘begging’, which obviously was as such only because those were the days when Britishers legacy of a style royal and imperialistic in nature still worked. I used to correct those letters while typing them out, and it was not at all liked by the ‘Bada Babu’. He had so much of a fixed mind on it that it took me several weeks to prevail upon him to correct himself. Because he inherited such a style of ‘I beg to advise’ from his predecessors, he felt as if nothing can move in any letter without using a ritualistic word like ‘beg’. There might be still some addresses obtaining on the old Britishers pattern, and the call of the day is that all such things, which sound imperialistic, must be removed. We are thankful to our President of India for taking necessary lead in the matter.