In the BC (before coronavirus) era, shaking hands was probably the most common universal form of formal greeting. Be it a global summit amongst world leaders or a work meeting with clients--most would begin with a handshake. Fast forward to 2020 and enter coronavirus--forget shaking hands, even standing in close proximity to someone is now potentially dangerous. And this is where India's humble 'namaste' found its moment to shine.
It all started with UK's Prince Charles, who was spotted greeting people with folded hands at an event, right after coronavirus hit. Nobody knew that he would start a global trend. Soon after, a video of United States President Donald Trump went viral as he greeted his Irish counterpart, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, with a namaste.
"I just got back from India. And I did not shake any hands there. And it's very easy, because they go like this," he was quoted saying to reporters, as he demonstrated the pose, adding, "They (India and Japan) were ahead of the curve."
Prior to Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had urged his countrymen to use the namaste instead of a handshake as a form of greeting people to prevent the virus' spread.
Now, it seems like other world leaders have caught on, and it's safe to say that 'namaste' has become a global trend. Recently, when French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macaron received German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her first-ever visit to the presidential summer residence, he greeted her by joining his hands and bowing down, proper Indian style! And of course, the German Chancellor gracefully returned the gesture.
Unsurprisingly, Indians are delighted by this, and the video of Macaron and Merkel has now gone viral. Can we all respectfully agree that they look super cute?
Namaste is Global !
📸:When Emmanuel Macron, President of France and Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany greet each other with Namastepic.twitter.com/jHUhW2CfPY
It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had first introduced the idea of greeting people with 'namaste' more often, as the World Health Organisation's COVID-19 guidelines stressed on the importance of hand hygiene when it came to avoiding infection.
Well, since the pandemic isn't going anywhere anytime soon, greeting people with a 'namaste' is your best option right now. But we do hope that it becomes a common form of greeting long after coronavirus disappears from our lives.