अनिल एकलव्य ⇔ Anil Eklavya

March 12, 2008

Beware of Sirring a Nobody

Sirring is a technical term (so what if I have coined it) that means frequently or always addressing someone by an honorific term like ‘sir’. So, if you keep addressing someone as ‘sir’ or ‘mam’ etc., you are sirring them.

You have to know when sirring is a positive and recommended practice and when it’s not.

For example, sirring someone is a positive and recommended practice if that someone happens to be, well, Someone. Not just Anyone. And a Someone is a person, as you might know, who has some power over you or has a higher designation than your’s or has more money than you do or, in general, is materially superior (socially, financially, politically etc.) to you. It’s alright, in fact, it’s highly advisable if you practice sirring with some such materially superior person.

However, sirring can be harmful to you in some cases. For example, you can get into trouble if you practice it with someone who has no power over you, has no more money than you, has no higher designation than you, has no social, economic etc. status higher than you.

Sirring a Nobody is not alright. It’s not recommended. It’s foolish. It’s not part of civilized behavior. Please refrain from it. It might hinder communication with those who really are (materially) Somebodies.

It doesn’t matter if that person knows more than you, is more capable than you, more experienced than you, more (non-materially) accomplished than you.

Sometimes it also doesn’t matter if that someone is older than you.

Or has done much more in life than you.

Or has more publications than you.

A person who could have but hasn’t risen above you materially doesn’t deserve respect. Doesn’t deserve to be addressed by an honorific term.

Unless that person is a saint or a prophet or is, at least, recognized as one.

It’s Pragmatics, stupid!

3 Comments »

  1. Ain’t that publications thing out of place, especially if you are talking in context of academics? It comes more in the former category than the latter to me. Or maybe you were using it just for the ‘effect’.

    And yes, I am coward. I too am incurable.

    Comment by The Anonymous Coward — March 13, 2008 @ 1:56 am | Reply

  2. There is a ‘sometimes’ before the publications part. And you, of all people, should be knowing the context.

    Comment by anileklavya — March 13, 2008 @ 2:49 am | Reply

  3. Well, it turns out that I am not the first one to coin the term ‘sirring’.

    So much for originality. What about independent discovery?

    Comment by anileklavya — March 13, 2008 @ 3:34 am | Reply


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