Kerala Panchayat Office Ban Use Of Honorifics Like “Sir”, “Madam”

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The Mathur Village panchayat scripted history in the north Kerala district as it has banned the colonial honorifics like ”sir” and ”madam” in its office premises.

With an aim to bridge the barrier between common people, people’s representatives and civic body officials and thus build a bond of love and trust between each other by giving up the use of honorifics while addressing each other.

Mathur has become the first civic body in the country to ban the usage of salutations like this after the honorific ban, setting a unique reformation model for other civic bodies.

As per a report from the PTI, a recent meeting of the panchayat council had unanimously taken the historic decision and started implementing the new rule where people no longer need to use “sir” and “madam” to address the panchayat officials.

The seven CPI(M) nominees and one BJP member of the 16-member Congress-ruled village panchayat, setting aside political difference, had backed the resolution moved in this regard earlier this week, stated the PTI report.

Vice president of the Mathur Panchayat, P R Prasad said the core objective of the move is to bridge the gap between commoners, who visit the panchayat offices with their needs, and people’s representatives and officials.

Prasad told the PTI, “Cutting across politics, everyone in our panchayat is particular about creating a friendly and warm atmosphere in the office. All of us had a feeling that the salutations like sir or madam used to create a gap between us and people approaching us with their issues.”

The panchayat members also felt that these honorifics were remnants of the colonial past which is why it was necessary not to use them anymore.

“In a democracy, people are the masters and people”s representatives and officials are there to serve them. They do not need to request us to do anything for them but they can demand service as it is their right,” he further added.

The civic body also displayed a notice outside the office telling people that if they are denied any service for not using the honorifics, they can lodge a complaint directly to the panchayat president or secretary.

Every official of the panchayat would place a board on their tables displaying their names and have also requested the Official Language Department to provide them alternative words for “Sir” and “Madam”.

So far, those people, who feel any discomfort in addressing elderly officials by their names, can call them using friendly terms like ””chettan” (elder brother) or ”chechi” (elder sister) in Malayalam, informed the VP P R Prasad.

The Mathur Panchayat authorities also decided to bring out “avakasha pathrika” (rights certificate) in the place of the present ”apeksha form” (application form) which traslates to request form, to ensure the supremacy of the citizen in a democracy, stated the report from PTI.

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