Namaste, the way world greets when corona attacks

Birbal Jha

New Delhi– “Namaste”, the Indian way of greeting people is gaining wide acceptability in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Be it US President Donald Trump or the French President Emmanuel Macron or British Royalty Prince Charles.

The Indian ways of greetings — be it Namaste is now becoming the preferred way to greet. Even Bollywood star Salman Kahn said let it be either “namaste” or “salaam” till corona is cured worldwide.

Namaste, does not require touching another and only involves joining your own two palms together — thereby turning out to be the safest way to greet people in COVID-19 times.

Coronovirus, as per the experts is highly contagious and is spread by physical contact, one of which is the handshake. So, be it a common man or the president or prime minister, it is the same for everyone.

The fact today is that Namaste is being looked upon as a clean way to meet and greet.

Perhaps this was what prompted US President Donald Trump to say after he met the Ireland Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval office at the White House on Thursday, “We didn’t shake hands today and we looked at each other and said what are we going to do? Sort of a weird feeling. We did this (joined hands). I just got back from India and I didn’t shake any hands there. It was easy.”

While Trump’s trip to Ahemdabad (India) on February 24, 2020, where he attended a rally named Namaste Trump put ‘Namaste’ on the world spotlight, he himself is being seen to be making a case for Namaste in these days of coronavirus spread, and even hailed the Indian way of greeting as: “They (India and Japan) were ahead of the curve.”

Last week Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu too advocated for Namaste way of greeting. He asked his fellow countrymen to greet each other by folding hands and saying Namaste as opposed to shaking hands as fears over the coronavirus outbreak grow.

During a press conference, he said that small steps such as adopting the Indian Namaste could help in controlling the spread of the virus, among others steps.

“President Macron also has decided to greet all his counterparts with a namaste, a graceful gesture that he has retained from his India visit in 2018,” a tweet from the official Twitter account of the Ambassador of France to India Emmanuel Lenain said on March 11.

A video of Prince Charles greeting with namaste went viral on the Internet. He was seen greeting people with a Namaste at the annual Prince’s Trust Awards on March 11 at the London Palladium.

As the world grapples with the deadly coronavirus outbreak, people are searching for ways and means to safeguard themselves and Namaste is being increasingly accepted as a simple way of lifestyle.

Namaste is originally a Sanskrit phrase formed from ‘Namah’, meaning ‘bow, obeisance, adoration,’ and the enclitic pronoun “te”, meaning ‘to you”. It differs from the Namaskar in the sense that Namaskar means bow to the energy in you and Namaste is bowing to you.

Whatever the meaning, but the Indian way of greeting is now becoming the world’s favourite.


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