Thursday, June 1, 2017

Officers, Ladies and Gentlemen


(Though written for the masculine gender GENTLEMAN – this article applies to the feminine gender LADY as well)

This morning – while tidying my bookcase and bookshelves and cleaning my books – I browsed through my old diaries which I have preserved with great care.

During my student days – and even later – during my working days – I always carried around a diary and jotted down anything I found interesting – anything I read or heard or saw that appealed to me.

From time to time  I will share with you in my blog some jottings from my “ancient” diaries.


Today – I will talk about the definition of the word “gentleman” – which I jotted down while attending a lecture during a leadership workshop in the year 1992.

But before we get to the definition, let us ponder a bit on the meaning of the word “gentleman”.

(As I said earlier – though written for the masculine gender GENTLEMAN – this article applies to the feminine gender LADY as well)


If you look at the concept of “gentleman” in an holistic manner – gentleman comprises two aspects:

1. Form

2. Substance


Form refers to the external “image management” or “personality development” aspects – visible behaviour and outward appearance – traits like poise, grooming, manners, etiquette, dress, accent, diction, speech, smartness, courteousness, elegance, style, refinement, sophistication and polished behaviour.

In the Navy – or in the Army, Air Force, Military and Civil Services – an Officer is trained in these aspects which are called OLQ or “Officer Like Qualities when he joins service at various Training Academies.

In the civilian world – there are Finishing Schools, Image Management Trainers and Personality Development Coaches – who help inculcate in people the “form” attributes of a Gentleman/Lady.

But – FORM alone does not make a Gentleman.

A true GENTLEMAN/LADY must have both FORM and SUBSTANCE.

FORM is important – but it is the SUBSTANCE which establishes the true worth of a man/woman.

A man/woman possessing ONLY FORM but NO SUBSTANCE is a phoney Gentleman/Lady 

Don’t you see many such fake charlatans masquerading as Gentlemen/Ladies...?

We saw what is meant by “FORM”.

Now – let us see what is meant by “SUBSTANCE”.


FORM consists of external visible attributes.

SUBSTANCE comprises invisible internal virtues.

Here is a definition which defines the substance attibutes of a gentleman.

A Gentleman is:

“An honest man – a man with a sense of duties and obligations of his position – whatever it may be – a man who tells the truth – a man who gives others their due – a man considerate to the weak – a man who has principles and stands by them – a man who is not elated by good fortune and not too depressed by bad luck – a man who is loyal – a man who can be trusted...”

The real virtues of a gentleman are inherent in the above definition.

Whether in Civil Services or Defence Services – an Officer is considered a Gentleman.

But – tell me – in the context of the definition above – how many officers truly possess all the attributes enunciated in the definition above...?

Image Management, Personality Development and Social Standing can give you “FORM”

But – it is your “SUBSTANCE” – which will make you a complete and genuine Gentleman/Lady.

If you look around you in urban society – you will find so many persons who look like Gentlemen/Ladies (as they exhibit the requisite “form”). 

But – when you look more closely – even at high ranking officers – and those way up on the social pecking order – you will discover two types:

1. Persons who are the Genuine Men/Women of “Substance” 


2. Persons who are Masquerading as Gentlemen/Ladies

As one of our Navy Training Officers at the Naval Academy used to say: 

“We can train you to be Officers (by inculcating FORM – external visible attributes


We can’t make you Gentlemen – that – you will have to do yourself (you will have to self-develop SUBSTANCE – invisible internal virtues”)

You may be an Officer – but are you a Gentleman...? 

Image Management and Personality Development will give you FORM 

Image Management and Personality Development can make you an Officer

But – to be a Gentleman (or Lady) – in addition to external FORM – you must have Internal Character Attributes – to be – a Man (or Woman) of SUBSTANCE...

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2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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