Last week Al Gore was a guest on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show. He was there of course to talk about the Climate Crisis and his new movie the Inconvenient Truth. Since the audience at the Daily Show is fairly liberal, Gore got a very warm welcome from them. But what was strange was that Gore greeted them with folded hands. Damned if it didn’t look exactly like a Namaste. It was very casually done, no theatrics around it. I suspect he had done the very same thing many times before.
I was of course very tickled about it. I have long held the view that Namaste is a superior greeting to the handshake in the age of the Avian Influenza. Handshakes transfer germs and are a surefire way of spreading the virus when there is an outbreak. The WHO realizes this and has come up with the ‘elbow bump‘ which is just too hokey to work. Asian greetings like Namaste and the Japanese bow are, in this respect, superior. Although in Japan the formal greeting in business is still a bow, while Indian business (though not politicians) has completely adopted the handshake. Pity.
The other thing going for Namaste in the US is that it is closely associated with India and India is hot right now. India is of course in the news because of the nuclear deal still winding its way through Congress. As an investment destination for business it has to be number one or pretty close. Bollywood dancing is all the rage. You can find Kurti inspired women’s fashions all over the place. And Indian food in the grocery stores.
The big news is that from next summer, Indian mangos will be available in the US. Being that they are much superior to the Mexican variety I think that will win us a few more fans state side. Some say that the mangos are a fair trade for nuclear technology. Some say that we’re giving away the mangos too cheap! The mango deal was done during President Bush’s visit to India along with the nuclear technology deal.
The affinity between the two countries is good for both countries and for democracy everywhere.