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Coronavirus makes ‘namaste’ go viral


Prince Charles uses the namaste gesture to greet Anna Friel and Pierce Brosnan at the recent Prince's Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards at London Palladium. (Photo: Yui Mok/Getty Images)
Prince Charles uses the namaste gesture to greet Anna Friel and Pierce Brosnan at the recent Prince's Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards at London Palladium. (Photo: Yui Mok/Getty Images)

WITH the coronavirus outbreak spiralling into a pandemic, the humble ‘namaste’ is trending as a respectful and safe greeting option.

Prince Charles was recently spotted offering namaste during the Prince’s Trust Awards event at the London Palladium, and through the Commonwealth Day service in Buckingham Palace. A video of the Prince of Wales switching to namaste, after extending his hand for a shake, went viral.

US President Donald Trump and visiting Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar used the traditional Indian way of greeting at the White House on Thursday (12), saying it was ideal for the current times.

US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister of Ireland Leo Varadkar showing how they greeted each other with ‘namaste’ while talking to journalists before their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House on March 12 in Washington, DC. Taoiseach Varadkar is in Washington for the annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and to participate in the traditional Shamrock Bowl presentation. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“We did not shake hands today. We looked at each other and said what we are going to do. You know, sort of a weird feeling,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

“I just got back from India. And I did not shake any hands there. And it’s very easy, because they go like this,” said Trump, showing reporters the namaste pose.

He also showed the Japanese style of greeting, by bowing his head. “They (India and Japan) were ahead of the curve,” he quipped.

When queried if they shook hands, Varadkar responded with a namaste gesture.

French President Emmanuel Macron, too, recently used namaste while welcoming King Felipe of Spain and his wife Letizia at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron welcome Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia as they arrive at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France on March 11. (Photo: Reuters/Johanna Geron)

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was one of the first global leaders to adopt namaste. He, in fact, advised his countrymen to avoid handshakes and gave a namaste demo.

Notably, Indian Prime Minister had recently reminded Indians about the traditional way of greeting. “If by any means we have forgotten to use namaste, then it is the right time to do so,” he had said at a recent meeting.

Among numerous celebrities popularising namaste on social media, actress Priyanka Chopra posted a pic on Instagram, with the caption: “It’s all about the Namaste—an old but also a new way to greet people in a time of change around the world. Please stay safe everyone!”

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan also had posted a photo, with a note: “Namashkaar … hamari sabhyata mein namaste aur salaam hai! Jab #coronavirus Khatam ho jaye tab Haath milao aur gale lago…. @beingstrongindia (Our culture has namate and salaam. When coronavirus is over then shake hands and hug people).”

As per latest WHO estimates, there were at least 125,288 cases, and 4,614 deaths across the world. The UK had registered 596 cases of confirmed contraction and 10 deaths.