Monday, April 7, 2014

SOCIAL GRACE AND ETQUETTE – MILITARY COURTESY – GREETING FELLOW OFFICERS

SOCIAL GRACE AND ETIQUETTE
MILITARY COURTESY – GREETING FELLOW OFFICERS
Ramblings of a Retired Mind
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Sometime ago, I visited a military training establishment to deliver a lecture.

I was received by a young lady army officer.

I wished her “good morning”.

She saluted me and she shouted “Jai Hind” as if she was giving a command on the parade ground.

Yes, instead of a polite “good morning” which I expected, the lady army officer vociferously shouted: “Jai Hind” as if she was giving me a command on the parade ground.

Nowadays, “Jai Hind” seems to have become the norm for exchange of greetings between officers, and is even used while greeting civilians.

I do not know when this trend started, but towards the end of my naval career I noticed that many young naval officers were also greeting each other with “Jai Hind” instead of the customary “Good Morning” “Good Afternoon” or “Good Evening”.

Is there a need for such Jingoistic Public Display of Patriotism every time you meet a fellow officer?

Is it not be better for officers to customarily greet each other with the time of the day (“Good Morning”, “Good Afternoon” or “Good Evening”)?

You don’t agree with me?

At least the Indian Navy seems to agree with me.

On 31 March 2006, the Indian Navy promulgated a “Social Grace and Etiquette Book” for guidance of Naval Officers and Sailors.

This excellent handbook (INBR - 1934/06: Social Grace and Etiquette Book) promulgated by the Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy) for information and guidance of all concerned on 31 Mar 2006 is openly available online for perusal by all on the Navy Information Resource and Facilitation Centre (IR&FC) website.

For your convenience, I am giving the url links at the end of this post so that you too can read this most beautifully written and topical guide to Military Social Graces and Etiquette.

Chapter 2 of this handbook pertains to MILITARY COURTESIES

Chapter 2 on Military Courtesies has 48 paragraphs covering all aspects of Military Courtesies and it would be worthwhile for those joining the navy (or defence services family) to read it online by clicking the url link at the end of the post.

Two paragraphs of chapter 2 are relevant to the context of this post:

1. Para 27 which pertains to “Time of the Day

2. Para 28 which pertains to “Use of Jaihind

Let me quote these paragraphs 27 and 28 from Chapter 2:

QUOTE

27. Time of The Day. While it is customary to greet each other with the time of the day as, 'Good Morning', 'Good Afternoon' or 'Good Evening', the use of the term 'Good day' often leaves the other individual in doubt as to the correct response. 'Good Day' as a greeting is to be used only if you are not going to meet the other individual again on that day. For e.g. it is perfectly correct to close the Night Rounds Report to the Commanding Officer with a 'Good Day' rather than a 'Good Night'. On the other hand it is only correct for the senior to respond to the greeting of 'Good Day' with a 'Thank You' and Good Morning/ Good Afternoon/Good Night as appropriate.

28. Use of Jai Hind. Traditionally, nationalistic leaders at the end of their patriotic speeches used 'Jai Hind', to build up a fervour for independence. Subsequently 'Jai Hind' was used as a greeting at the training academies again to inculcate patriotism. The accepted practice thereafter was to end all official speeches with a 'Jai Hind'. Currently the use of 'Jai Hind' has become extremely commonplace with personnel using it on all occasions and often as a replacement for greeting each other with the time of the day. While it may sound nice to use 'Jai Hind' at all times, an uninhibited use would dilute the meaning and purpose of the greeting and take the shine off the timeless greeting. It is therefore preferable to limit the use of 'Jai Hind' to official functions.

UNQUOTE

I would like to draw your attention to the following lines extracted from Para 28 on the USE OF JAI HIND:

“Currently the use of ‘Jai Hind’ has become extremely commonplace with personnel using it on all occasions and often as a replacement for greeting each other with the time of the day. While it may sound nice to use ‘Jai Hind’ at all times, an uninhibited use would dilute the meaning and purpose of the greeting and take the shine off the timeless greeting. It is therefore preferable to limit the use of ‘Jai Hind’ to official functions”

In the light of the above, I once again ask you: “Is there a need for such Jingoistic Public Display of Patriotism every time you meet a fellow army officer or soldier?”

As recommended in the “Social Grace and Etiquette Book” why not maintain the sanctity of “Jai Hind” by limiting its use for special occasions or while addressing and motivating troops.

I do not know about the army, but in the navy the language of communication and correspondence is English.

To the best of my knowledge, at least till I retired, all training courses and promotion exams were conducted in English.

Has the medium of instruction has now been changed to Hindi?

As far as I know, even in the army, training of officers at NDA, IMA and OTA is conducted in English and officers are supposed to converse with each other in English.

So will it not be better for officers to customarily greet each other with the time of the day ('Good Morning', 'Good Afternoon' or 'Good Evening') and use the nationalistic greeting “Jai Hind” for special occasions or while addressing and motivating troops.

Is there a need for an officer to wear his patriotism on his sleeve?

Patriotism is an internal attribute.

The very fact that an officer has joined the armed forces to “serve the nation” bears testimony to his or her patriotism.

Is there a need for military officers to flaunt their patriotism by making a public display of jingoistic patriotism?

Should an officer not distinguish between patriotism and jingoism?

Is it not better to display your patriotism by actions, and not by mere words?

What do you feel? I look forward to your comments and views.

Click the url link below to read the Navy “Social Grace and Etiquette Book” online:
http://www.irfc-nausena.nic.in/irfc/ezine/etiquette/index.htm


Click the url link below to go directly to CHAPTER 2 (MILITARY COURTESIES) of the Navy “Social Grace and Etiquette Book”:
http://www.irfc-nausena.nic.in/irfc/ezine/etiquette/chapter2.htm

Dear Reader: Please comment and let us know your views

VIKRAM KARVE
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