Namaskar and Nationalism

Bindu Bhatt bb145 at COLUMBIA.EDU
Wed May 7 10:50:35 EDT 2003

Dear Peter,
I grew up in Ranchi (jharkhand). I have heard many forms of greetings
there. Most of the Adivasis would greet with Johaar. The Bengalis used
Namaskaar. The Biharis mostly said Pranaam to the elders and Namaste to
everyone else. I myself use Pranaam for all my elders and Namaste to
everyone else. Raam Raam  in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are quite popular
forms of greeting. The Vaishnavas of Gujarat usually greet by saying Jai
Shri Krishna. In Vrindavan  the favorite of all is Raadhe Raadhe. I have
also heard Punjabis use Namaste as the prefered form of greeting. Also,
Paai Laagu (Bihar), Page Laagu (Gujarat), Pari Painaa (Punjab) are used
to greet one's elders and Gurus by touching their feet. I am not aware
of Namaskaar being used only in the Brahmin community or when did it
become a popular form of National greeting. I don't think it is the most
popular form of greeting anyway. But then, I could be wrong. I believe
whether it be Namaste, namaskaar, Johaar, Raam Raam or any other way,
the key is that one brings ones palms together in a particular way (a
mudraa) to greet someone.


Bindu Bhatt
South Asian Studies Librarian
305 IAB
420 West, 118th Street
Columbia University
New York
NY 10027
Tel: 212-854-8401
Fax: 212-854-3834

Peter Friedlander wrote:
> Dear List Members,
> I am doing some research on the development of Hindi greetings, and on the
> use of Namaskar.
> In particular I'm looking for references in early 20th century nationalist
> literature to the use of Namaskar as a national greeting, as prior to this
> it seems to have been a greeting only used by Brahmins, or to Brahmins by
> twice-born castes.
> has anybody ever seen anything on this?
> Dr Peter G. Friedlander
> Hindi Research Fellow
> Asian Studies Department
> La Trobe University, VIC 3086 Australia
> Tel: 61 3 9755 3048
> Fax: 61 3 9755 1880
> Email: p.friedlander at
> WWW:

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