In keeping with his efforts to democratise the Presidency and rid it of its archaic flavour, Pranab Mukherjee has decided to do away with the salutation “His Excellency”. Henceforth, he will become the first President to be known simply as Honourable President and Rashtrapati Mahodaya and no more Mahamahim. This is in keeping with international norms where most first citizens are greeted simply as Mr President.
An office memo issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs to all departments of the government dated January 31 says, “After due consideration, the President has approved the discontinuation of the salutation “His Excellency”… in all functions, ceremonial occasions and interaction with Indian dignitaries.” The practice will however continue in interaction with foreign dignitaries. The president had expressed his desire to do away with the honorific in October 2012 but the formal orders were received by all departments only on February 4.
Mukherjee has been making a conscious effort to be perceived as a people’s president without the unnecessary drama of office. He is the first president to have opened the gates of Rashtrapati Bhavan for longer hours and on all weekends besides Fridays. Bookings can be made online.