Move over sir/madam, here comes ‘guruji’
In a step aimed at “mitigating the effect of the West” and “reviving the ancient Indian culture”, the administration of the GSVM Medical College in Kanpur has decided that henceforth students would address teachers as ‘guruji’ instead of ma’am or sir. Not only that, good morning will make way for ‘suprabhat’ and ‘pranam’.
The decision regarding this was taken at a meeting of faculty members on Friday evening, said college principal Dr Arti Lalchandani.
"It was the faculty members who suggested that senior and junior residents, interns and MBBS students should address them as ‘guruji’," said Lalchandani, adding that the decision would soon be circulated in all the departments. “Students will be asked to adhere to this new code of salutation / addressing teachers. I am issuing the circular today (Saturday). We would like the students to adhere to these changes. No one will be punished, yet we believe that students will like this change. Even faculty members are excited about being addressed as ‘guruji’,” she said.
Lalchandani said that ‘sir’ and ‘madam’ sounded impersonal when compared to ‘Guruji’. “The western code of addressing teachers failed to distinguish between a teacher and any other senior person. So, we decided to revive our ancient way. The term ‘guruji’ is graceful and evokes respect,” she said.
The medical college has mentioned this new code in its annual publication, ‘Ayushman’, which has a section ‘Guru Vidyarthi Darpan’ that tells students how they should greet and address teachers. The new batch of students will arrive on August 3 this year, which is when they too will be informed about the new code.
Some faculty members said that addressing teachers as ‘Guruji’ would also help in differentiating students of GSVM Medical College from those of other institutions across the country and the world.
As the decision has still not been officially communicated to the students, many of them refrained from commenting on it. However, a few students, requesting anonymity, said that ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ were globally accepted and it might put them in an awkward situation if they had to address visiting foreign delegates and doctors as ‘guruji’. They said that it might have been better for them if the principal and the faculty members had deliberated on the ways to improve the education standards and facilities at the college. However, majority of the students said it hardly mattered to them if they called their teachers ‘sir / madam’ or ‘guruji’. “We will definitely address foreign teachers as sir and ma’am for their convenience,” said a student.
Some students also termed the decision ‘political’ in nature.