Are You a Gentleman (or Lady)…?
A few days ago — while tidying my bookcase and bookshelves and cleaning my books — I browsed through my old diaries which I have preserved with great care.
During my student days — and even later — during my Navy days — I always carried around a diary and jotted down anything I found interesting — anything I read or heard or saw that appealed to me.
From time to time — I will share with you in my blog some jottings from my “ancient” diaries.
Today — I will talk about the definition of the word “gentleman” — which I jotted down while attending a lecture during a leadership workshop — more than 26 years ago — in the year 1992…
ARE YOU A GENTLEMAN (or A LADY)…?
Musings of a Veteran By Vikram Karve
DEFINITION OF A GENTLEMAN
(Though written for the masculine gender GENTLEMAN — this article applies to the feminine gender LADY as well)
Before we get to the definition — let us ponder a bit on the meaning of the word “gentleman”.
As I said earlier — though written for the masculine gender GENTLEMAN — this article applies to the feminine gender LADY as well.
WHO IS A GENTLEMAN…?
If you look at the concept of “gentleman” in an holistic manner — a gentleman comprises two aspects:
Form refers to the external “image management” or “personality development” aspects — visible behaviour and outward appearance — traits like poise, grooming, manners, etiquette, dress, accent, diction, speech, smartness, courteousness, elegance, style, refinement, sophistication and polished behaviour.
In the Navy — or in the Army, Air Force, Military and Civil Services — an Officer is trained in these aspects which are called OLQ or “Officer Like Qualities” when he joins service at various Training Academies.
In the civilian world — there are Finishing Schools, Image Management Trainers and Personality Development Coaches — who help inculcate in people the “form” attributes of a Gentleman/Lady.
FORM alone does not make a GENTLEMAN.
A true GENTLEMAN/LADY must have both FORM and SUBSTANCE.
FORM is important — but it is the SUBSTANCE — which establishes the true worth of a man/woman.
A man/woman possessing ONLY FORM — but NO SUBSTANCE — such a person is a “phoney” Gentleman/Lady
Don’t you see many such fake “charlatans” — masquerading as Gentlemen/Ladies…?
We saw what is meant by “FORM”.
Now — let us see what is meant by “SUBSTANCE”.
FORM consists of “external visible attributes”.
SUBSTANCE comprises “invisible internal virtues”.
Here is a definition which defines the “substance attibutes” of a gentleman.
A Gentleman is:
“An honest man…
– a man with a sense of duties and obligations of his position
– whatever it may be — a man who tells the truth
– a man who gives others their due
– a man considerate to the weak
– a man who has principles and stands by them
– a man who is not elated by good fortune and not too depressed by bad luck
– a man who is loyal
– a man who can be trusted…”
The real virtues of a gentleman are inherent in the above definition.
Whether in Civil Services or Defence Services — an Officer is considered a Gentleman.
But — tell me — in the context of the definition above — how many officers truly possess all the attributes enunciated in the definition above…?
Image Management, Personality Development and Social Standing can give you “FORM”
But — it is your “SUBSTANCE” — which will make you a complete and genuine Gentleman/Lady.
If you look around you in urban society — you will find so many persons who look like Gentlemen/Ladies (as they exhibit the requisite “form”).
But — when you look more closely — when you observe officers (even high ranking officers) — and — individuals way up on the social pecking order — you will discover two types:
- Persons who are the Genuine Men/Women of “Substance”
- Persons who are Masquerading as Gentlemen/Ladies
YOU CAN BE TRAINED TO BE AN OFFICER — BUT — GENTLEMAN — YOU WILL HAVE TO BECOME YOURSELF
As one of our Navy Training Officers at the Naval Academy used to say:
“We can train you to be Officers — by inculcating FORM — or — “external visible attributes”
We can’t make you Gentlemen — that — you will have to do yourself.
To become a Gentleman — you will have to self-develop SUBSTANCE — “invisible internal virtues”…
You may be an “Officer” — but are you a “Gentleman”…?
“Image Management” and “Personality Development” will give you FORM.
Image Management and Personality Development can make you an Officer.
But — to be a Gentleman (or Lady) — in addition to external FORM — you must have “Internal Character Attributes” — to be — a “Man/Woman of SUBSTANCE…”
Dear Reader: Do you agree…?
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- This blog post is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
- All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/06/officers-ladies-and-gentlemen.html
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
This is a revised and abridged version of my lecture/article written by me more than 26 years ago in the year 1992 and posted by me online earlier a number of times including at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/11/gentleman-officer.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/07/can-image-management-make-you-gentleman.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/01/ladies-and-gentlemen-women-and-men-of.html and http://vikramkarve.typepad.com/blog/2012/11/image-management-cannot-make-you-a-gentleman.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/09/are-you-lady-are-you-gentleman.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/are-you-gentleman-or-lady.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2017/11/17/how-to-become-a-gentleman-or-lady/ etc
Originally published at karve.wordpress.com on August 26, 2018.