Namastey Here to Stay? 6 Times the Desi Greeting Grabbed Headlines in 2020

Among all things that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, contact-based greetings are perhaps the worst hit.

Although the world slowly enters the unlock phase, social distancing and restriction on contact-based greeting are to stay here for the longest time to come.


Following fears that the virus may spread through physical contact with an affected person, many across the world have limited their physical contact with others and the effect can be seen in the way people are now greeting each other. And one type of greeting which is currently winning the world is the Indian way of saying hello with folded hands and a namaste.

Needless to say, a lot of online buzz has been created with this Indian style being adopted by global citizens and netizens haven’t been able to stop gloating and preening over it.

Here’s the number of times when Namaste was popularised by internet stars, apps and global leaders.

Rajanath Singh chooses Namaste over handshake.

A recent viral video of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s interaction with Russian officials on arrival at the airport has raked immense praises from Indians, thanks to yet another Namastey! When the defence minister was received by Major General Bukhteev Yury Nikolaevich, he greeted everyone around him with folded hands. As Singh started proceeding he was introduced to several other officers and one among them extended his hand for a handshake. In no time, he quickly pulled it back and Singh reciprocated with the Indian Namastey.

‘Kem Chho’ out, ‘Namaste’ in.

In February, ‘Kem Chho Trump’, the mega event for Donald Trump in Gujarat, was named ‘Namaste, President Trump’ as the Centre decided to switch in the regional theme for a national one. Gujarat government officials had confirmed that ‘Kem Chho Trump’ was more of a regional theme, while Trump’s major show in Gujarat was planned as a national show.

Baba Sehgal’s ‘Namaste’ rap was a hit.

Indian rapper Baba Sehgal in one his recent raps, NAMASTE – CoronaVirus sey bachney ka Indian Tareeka spread awareness about the COVID-19 virus in the ‘Indian style’ through musical beats.

The video starts with him saying, “Initially I thought I won’t make a song on coronavirus because it’s quite a serious issue. But last night when I saw Prince Charles doing namaste on TV, I was taken back, I was very happy because namaste comes from our culture,” adding, “So guys let’s do this namaste and beat this corona.” Sehgal then grooves to energetic beats while folding his hands in a ‘namaste’ style. Throughout the song, he urges people to take preventive measures to contain the spread of the virus.

Say Namstey app

In April, a video conferencing service going by the name ‘Say Namaste’ started doing rounds on WhatsApp groups and Twitter circles. The service was pegged as the Indian government’s official video conferencing app, made in and for Indian users — enterprise and personal alike. This, though, is only partially true – the government’s only official video conferencing service is operating by the National Informatics Centre right now, and that is not offered through smartphones or websites, and is instead reserved only for ministerial purposes. Say Namaste was a nod towards the present times of avoiding physical contact, and more importantly, Indian-ise the video conferencing tool to connect better with the audience.

Namaste London?

Early this year, in June, UK Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson and Prince Charles greeted French President Emmanuel Macron with folded hands. Macron was in London to mark the 80th anniversary of former French President Charles de Gaulle’s famous appeal to resist the Nazis during the World War II.It was observed that all of them greeted each other with folded hands embracing the Indian style of ‘namaste’.

Macron and Merkel adopt desi greeting.

With the coronavirus pandemic changing the way the world interacts with each other, salutations and greetings are also changing. And it seems the Indian ‘namaste’ is a popular choice as world leaders like France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel seem to have adopted it as their chosen form of greeting.The French President Macron was hosting Merkel for talks at his summer residence in a medieval island fortress in the Mediterranean, in southern France. Mindful of the coronavirus outbreak, when Macron greeted the Geerman Chancellor, he replaced the traditional handshake with an Indian-style namaste, pressing his palms together and bowing slightly. Merkel responded in a similar fashion, bowing slightly while pressing her hands together.



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