Wednesday, June 9, 2010
This is something that was poking me for a long time.
Do we perceive being respectful or good manners as 'Old fashioned' and have we limited our good manners to those superior to us?
Let me explain. Some days back I entered the meeting hall in my office and what a pleasant surprise it was. One of the men stood up respectully and said hello. The other three looked at him partly confused partly embarrassed. Initially my boss looked at me with the doubtful eye probably assuming I know the man. I however thanked the man and sat down. The man, being confident and certainly well groomed, explained that men should stand up as good manners. There is a pause and I see other men shrugging off idea presumably thinking 'yeah well maybe'. The man continued and said Muslims must pay respect as it is 'sunnat', Hazrat Muhammad (P.B.U.H) used to stand up whenever his daughter Bibi Fatimah and his nurse, Bibi Haleema entered the room. Again regardless of number of time the respectable figures entered, Hazrat Muhammad stood up in respect.
So the other men in y room are now showing signs of embarrassment. Well the discussion then moves forward to the core of issue.
I foolishly expect that maybe in the civilized world, good manners are still the thing of the day.
But Lo and Behold, to my disbelief, the men (quote 'Muslim men') barely know any such gesture or shrug off the idea as too tiresome.
My verdict: Good manners are never out of fashion nor can be enforced via religious sentiments
Stubborn as I am, I even went far to search the Internet for seeing is it only that standing up gesture is associated with Islam or is it prevalent in any other culture.
Surprised to see that apart from Muslim tradition mentioned above, standing in respect of women and elderly was an important point of etiquette in the Middle East. I found a newsletter where a school in USA is especially arranging regular programs educating and re-enforcing good manners and standing in respect for women was important part of the program. Yes the USA that traded off the idea for respect for women to equal rights. I found very important evidence for the same in British etiquette.
Needless to comment on our failings as Pakistanis to imitate the blatant aspects of western society and regretfully by parents fairly well educated. Ever wondered why We would never imitate the habit to queuing or eating orderly at functions, saying thank you to subordinates or politely refusing service.
I am not trying to enforce the idea that respecting women is the only good manner Rather the its just a starting point to ponder over our life if we feel ourselves and people around being worthless enough by displaying exceptionally rude, ill-mannered habits merely to prove indifference. Indifferent is just not meant for 'us', we are suppose to be and should proud to be sensibly warm, emotional and hospitable.
Lastly I have no shame to confess that as a woman, although I don't expect this particular gesture, I would feel very pleasantly honored (even if strange) if a guy stand up as a respect. I have always felt chivalrous men are a rarity these days, and it's a pleasure to have a man practice it from his heart. It will make him very unique in the girls' eyes. Even having a guy open the passenger side door before he goes to the other side to the wheel...is a nice gesture. Not all men practice that, and it's alright. But when some do, it feels good.