I have just received an invitation to an event. Instead of using R.S.V.P., there is a request that I "kindly respond". Doesn't that presuppose my demeanor when I reply as opposed to their kindly asking me to respond?
Doesn't that presuppose my demeanor when I reply as opposed to their kindly asking me to respond?
No, it does not. Respond kindly would bear that interpretation, but kindly VERBIMP is an idiom, not construed by ordinary parsing: a fixed construction with the sense Be so kind as to VERB or Do me the kindness of VERBing. It implies that the act of responding is a kindness, a favour which you bestow upon your correspondent.
Note, by the way, that they are not "kindly asking [you] to respond", either: the kindness is on your part, not theirs.
The unqualified imperative [You] Kindly respond is unlikely to be found anywhere outside Indian English (see this answer to an earlier related ELL question).
When it's not part of a longer circumlocutory imperative, native speakers would only normally use kindly in "peremptory" exclamations such as [Would you] Kindly be quiet!, Kindly leave me alone! (where it's much the same as please except it usually implies contempt on the part of the speaker).
Partly because kindly is a declining usage anyway, and partly because IE tends to use it in contexts that seem inappropriate to mainstream Anglophones, my advice would be to ignore it altogether and stick with please unless you actually want the nuance of rudeness that others might perceive.
When the issuer of an invitation asks you to "Kindly respond" She is not presuposing your demeanor, but rather asking that you favor her with a response, which she will take as gesture of your kindness.
It is actually a less formal way to ask for your reply. The more formal wording for a reply card is "The favour* of a response is requested by such and such a date." (*favor)