British use the word ‘sir’ to those who are knighted. As you all know knighthood is an honour given by king/queen to the one who greatly serves one’s country. In good old days great soldiers got that honour. Later it was extended to all fields. ‘Sir’ CV Raman is the best example. It is like Indian government’s ‘Padmasree’. Today, British use ‘sir’ to people in high places like PM, Governors, Employers only. Teachers and Professors are addressed by name with Mr or Dr before names.
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Unlike the hierarchy system of Britian, American society is truly democratic. Janitor of White House calls the president using Mr before the designation or name.
The interpretation of sir as ‘slave I remain’ is a concocted one to spread hatred. If it were not, people like Gandhi would not have used such a word without self respect.
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A researcher from India joined an American University. When he addressed his professor as ‘sir’, he was angry and said, ‘Have you come all the way from India to insult me?’
All said and done, in present India we would be thrown out if we do not use this word ‘sir’ for officers, big shots and ministers. This gained respect as Indian English here! Our slavish mind even today uses the word ‘submit’ at the beginning of a letter to an authority. This is even after 70+ years of Independence!
The British would laugh when we write ‘Respected sir’ as ‘sir’ alone is a term of great respect for them.
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