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Sir: To Whom It May Concern

By Taslim Ahammad:


The title “Sir” is a mark of honour and respect that typically used to address men who have been awarded knighthood by a monarch or head of state, or those who have been granted the title by the Queen or King. Knighthood is a form of respect for an individual’s outstanding contribution to the society as a whole.

The title “Sir” used before the first name of the addressee, for instance, Sir David Attenborough, Sir Elton John, or Sir Winston Churchill. This honour also used as a courtesy title for men who received other honours such as a Doctorate, a Professorship, or a Fellowship from a university or institution, in these cases, it is a way of recognising the academic excellent achievements.

It worth noting that the title “Sir” is not used universally in all cultures, and different countries have different forms of addressing individuals who have been honoured for their achievements. In the United States, for instance, there no equivalent title to “Sir,” however, individuals may be addressed by their professional or academic titles, such as “Doctor,” “Professor,” or “Judge.” Therefore, “Sir” is a form of gratitude and honour given to the person who has made significant contributions to society, as well as to those who have been awarded other forms of honours. It is a mark of distinction, achievement, used to show respect and honour to these individuals.

Forcing shamelessly someone to call another person “Sir” against their will or using the title in a mocking or insulting manner is disrespectful, bullying, harassment, nuisance and inappropriate. The use of titles and honorifics should always be done with respect and in a manner acceptable to both parties.

Forcing to using the title “Sir” to disgrace someone may be seen as a form of verbal abuse, harassment and may be hurtful to the individual being under attack. It is important to remember that the use of titles and honour should be done with the intention of showing respect and not as a means of asserting high aggressive power or control over somebody else.

Moreover, it is also significant to be aware of that not everyone may feel comfortable being addressed with a title or honorific, and it is essential to respect their wishes and preferences. It is always a good practice to ask someone how they would like to be addressed and to honour their wish.

Addressing somebody in a formal or official setting is often expected to follow certain protocols and conventions, including using of course very polite and respectful language. However, there are instances where the use of formal language may be perceived as mocking, harassment or demeaning, especially if it is done in a forceful or insincere manner. In this work, it will look at the question of whether a very rude person forcing someone to say “Sir” is a form of mockery, bullying, harassment, nuisance and maybe much more.

However, the issue arises when the use of formal language becomes forced, not appropriate or dishonest. If a person is demanding that someone address them as “Sir” in a rude or demeaning manner, then it may be seen as a form of mockery, bullying, harassment and so on. In this context, the word “Sir” not being used out of respect, on the other hand rather as a means of exerting extreme power and control over someone else. This may be especially very problematic if the person being addressed in a vulnerable position, such as when seeking high official help, services or any other kind of assistance.

Moreover, the use of formal language may sometimes cover underlying excessive power dynamics or inequalities. For example, if a rude person is desperately asking on being addressed as “Sir” by someone who is from a different social class or background, it may reinforce social hierarchies and perpetuate very clear discrimination. In these instances, the use of formal language may be seen as a way of maintaining the status quo and reinforcing existing massive power arrangements.

It is important to note that the use of language is not neutral, and may have significant effects on how people perceive themselves and others. The words people use may convey respect, empathy, and understanding, or they may convey disdain, disrespect, abuse, bullying, harassment and hostility. As such, it is crucial that some people are mindful of the language they use, and the impact it may have on those they interact with.

To sum up, the use of formal language such as “Sir” may be appropriate in certain settings, as a sign of massive respect. However, when the use of this language becomes forced, inappropriate or dishonest, it may be perceived as a form of mockery, bullying, harassment, nuisance, rudeness and demeaning. A very few rude people should be mindful of the impact their language has on those they interact with, and ensure that they are not perpetuating massive power imbalances or discrimination. At the end of the day, the use of language should be managed by principles of empathy, respect, compassion and understanding, rather than by an arbitrary adherence to very unkind, impolite and utterly desperate so-called formal outdated conventions.

Taslim Ahammad

Assistant Professor, Department of Management Studies

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University (BSMRSTU), Gopalganj, Bangladesh

E: [email protected],