NEW DELHI : For me and you, the President of India has to be addressed just as “honourable President” or “Your honour,” though he will continue to be addressed as in the past as “His Excellency” before the foreign dignitaries, says a circular being put out by the Home Ministry.
In Hindi, it would be “Rashtrapati Mahoday” instead of “Mahamahim.” The honorific “His Excellency” is a convention from the colonial times meant for then Viceroys, with no written word and as such the Home Ministry found no necessity of issuing a notification but just spread the word through a short circular.
It is being issued in deference to President Pranab Mukherjee’s request a month ago that the President of the socialist republic should be addressed in a more democratic fashion.
India does not have any codified format that lists honorifics for positions in the government, although practices in Parliament, including how to address members, are codified.
Even in the home ministry’s Table of Precedence that lists in descending order the protocol for dignitaries at formal ceremonies, there is no honorific to qualify the President at the number one position.
The US state department, on the other hand, has a list of frequently asked questions on protocol that even includes one on how to address the President on an envelope. For instance, anyone writing a letter to Barack Obama will have to address it to “Dear Mr. President”, while on the envelope it will be just “Mr. President”.