Indian greeting – Namaste
Namaste sometimes expressed as Namaskar or Namaskaram, is a customary greeting when individuals meet or farewell. It is a form of greeting commonly found among Hindus of South Asia, in some Southeast Asian countries, and diaspora from these regions.Namaste is spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. In Hinduism it means “I bow to the divine in you.”
Namaste or namaskar is used as a respectful form of greeting, acknowledging and welcoming a relative, guest or stranger. It is used with good byes as well. It is typically spoken and simultaneously performed with palms touching gesture, but it may also be spoken without acting it out or performed wordlessly; all three carry the same meaning. This cultural practice of salutation and valediction originated in the Indian subcontinent.
Namaste (Namas + te, Devanagari: नमः + ते = नमस्ते) is derived from Sanskrit and is a combination of the word “Namaḥa” and the enclitic 2nd person singular pronoun “te”.The word “Namaḥa” takes the Sandhi form “Namas” before the sound “t”.
In principle Namaste is to be used only when a single person is addressed (since in Sanskrit “te” is singular).
A less common variant is used in the case of three or more people being addressed namely Namo vaḥ which is a combination of “Namaḥa” and the enclitic 2nd person plural pronoun “vaḥ”. The word “Namaḥa” takes the Sandhi form “Namo” before the sound “v”.
An even less common variant is used in the case of two people being addressed namely Namo vām which is a combination of “Namaḥa” and the enclitic 2nd person dual pronoun “vām”.
Pressing hands together with a smile to greet Namaste – a common cultural practice in India
Excavations for Indus-Sarasvati civilization have revealed many male and female terracotta figures in namaste posture. These archeological findings are dated to be between 3000 BC to 2000 BC.
In Bengali , the namaste gesture is expressed as Nōmōskär, (নমস্কার), and said as Prōnäm (Bengali: প্রনাম) informally.
In Tamil culture, the gesture is known as Kumpiṭu (கும்பிடு), which is composed of two words Kumpu (கும்பு) meaning ‘to cup hands’ and Iṭu இடு meaning ‘to do'; while an equivalent of the salutation would be வணக்கம் (vaṇakkam), which is roughly translated as ‘greetings’.
For most Pakistanis Namaste is an offensive gesture due to the long history of friction between the two cultures.