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Sunday, July 13, 2008

For lady officers, is Capt (Ms) ABC XYZ a correct or appropriate form of address ?

As we all know, addressing a male military officer as ‘Mister’ is considered disparaging. An officer earns his rank for life and can be known with no other title than the rank. In fact, even the Constitution of India in Article 18 recognizes the military rank as a title.

If that be so, then why do we address lady officers as, for example, Capt (Ms) ABC XYZ ? If addressing a military officer as ‘Mr’ is derogatory then why isn’t the same principle adopted for lady officers ?. Lady officers are an integral part of the military system of our era and it is high time we shed this gender bias. An officer is an officer, irrespective of gender. Why can't a lady officer be addressed simply as Capt ABC XYZ without the 'Ms/Mrs/Miss' bit ?

In the same spirit, we need to do away with the term ‘Ex-Serviceman’, perhaps ‘Ex-Servicemember’, ‘Ex-Serviceperson’ or simply ‘Veteran’ may be more appropriate.

It may not be out of place to mention here that the British and the American Armies do not have a system of referring to lady officers as Ms/Mrs/Ms and just the rank is used.

To see the appropriate form of address as officially laid down by the American Army, Click here

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

these are the issues we waste our time upon..what difference will it make whether its ms or mrs or xyz.with pre-occupations such as this we fail to nurther other imp issues which can add some substance our otherwise pitiable lives..

Lt Col G Kameswara Rao (retd) said...

For men there is no distinguishing form of address for married and unmarried /single persons in usage in any language or culture. In the case of women the Miss / Mrs / Ms are used in the context to denote their status of being married / unmarried / single. This is a universally accepted / followed practice. If the US Army does not want to use it , that is their culture. We should follow our own cultural requirements even if it is for the Armed Forces... and what harm is there if Miss/ Mrs/ Ms are used to refer to female members of the Armed Forces along with their rank.. or our own Smt / Kumari in place of Anglicised versions?

Navjosh said...

Dear Col G Kameswara Rao,

Would you like it if you are addressed as Lt Col (Mr) G Kameswara Rao ?

I rest my case

Lt Col G. Kameswara Rao said...

Judges are referred to as Mr Justice / Mrs Justice in writing though they are addressed to aa mylord or your honour. In writing I think I would like to be addressed as Lt Col (Dr)(I am a doctor from AMC0 and others can be addressed as Lt Col(Mr / Mrs / Miss /Ms. Of course a great number of our non- doctor colleagues in the Forces address a doctor as
" Doc " and I used to object at the abbreviation. Should I call a gunner officer as "Gun" ? Any way I think we all rest our case.

Capt Arjun said...

The Indian army(AMC included) tends to have a patronizing attitude towards women officers.it tends to confuse them with lady wives(why aren't there any gentlemen husbands?!!!!!!!!!!).Capt(Ms) doesn't make any sense.