PATNA/ NEW DELHI: A Bihar-born but Delhi based linguistic and cultural activist Dr Birbal Jha has taken up the task to promote a traditional form of greeting as the threat of coronavirus looms across the world.
Dr Jha wants to promote 'namaste' and is accompanied by hundreds of Delhi youth and students. They together have started a 'Namaste march' to promote this traditional greeting gesture.
The Indian way of greeting has gained momentum across the world. Reports suggest that coronavirus originated from the seafood market of China, making inroads into almost 100 countries across the world.
Birbal Jha says 'The very traditional namaste, the cultural lifestyle of Indian ethos once often substituted by Western greetings like handshaking, hugging, kissing or as such has turned out to be a preventive measure in the wake of deadly Covid-19 outbreak which has been termed as a pandemic by World Health Organization."
COVID-19 LIVE | Government proposes India lockdown to contain spread of coronavirus
With the entry of the concept of globalization in the early ’90s, western lifestyles began to eat into the Indian socio-cultural practices. Those protectors, who came out with iron hands to defend the Indian cultural traditions and drive out western culture are often faced with strong opposition within the country. Adding to that, those Indian intellectual votaries were often looked down and branded as a rustic, hackneyed and anti-progressive school of thought.
'But on the contras, people irrespective of their social settings all across are turning to the use of Namaste to protect themselves. Now what seems to be ringing a bell all around is to distance yourself from the western greetings which are prone to spreading the virus,' Dr Jha said.
Even US President Donald Trump and Prince Charles from England have come forward to vouch for the 'Namaste culture' which doesn't involve any physical contact but is steeped in love and respect.
ALSO READ | Coronavirus: Global death toll exceeds 7000 as total cases stand above 175500-mark
'The top communication skills trainer, Dr Birbal Jha, has taken to streets asking people to shake it off and adopt the traditional Namaste,' said Naresh Kumar, a social researcher of Delhi, adding that namaste is scientifically safe and healing too.
Dr Jha said 'I'm on a mission of making people aware of how to ward- off coronavirus as there is there no sure cure to it. Taking the lead on 7th of this month under the banner of British Lingua, I had launched a novel campaign 'Namaste March' from East Delhi, that witnessed youth carrying placards and putting their palm together onto their hearts. The march appeals to both national and international audiences to revert to or adopt the Indian culture of salutation'.
The placards in the hands of those who participated have messages like 'No handshakes, say the only namaste.' Others included 'No embracing, No infection, no hugs, no kisses'.
Catchy slogans like 'Up with the Indian Culture! Down with the Corona Vulture' and a dozen of other slogans giving the message to passersby on the busy road on the day drew the attention of people around.
'No handshaking is shaking a virus off. Moreover, the yogic Namaste, taken from Anjali Mudra of Pranamasana, meaning I bow to the divine in you is very preventive when it comes to dealing with a germ', says Dr Birbal Jha, who also heads British Lingua, an institute of communication skills training of international repute.