How Do People Greet Each Other in India?

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People greet each other in India with a namaste. The hands are brought together with palms touching gracefully in front of the chest, and the head is bowed slightly as the person utters the word “namaste.”

“Namaste” means “I bow to the divine in you” and is used when taking leave or seeking forgiveness in addition to being used as a greeting. Failure to reciprocate when greeted with a namaste is regarded as the equivalent of a limp handshake in Western cultures.

Many business people familiar with Western culture offer a handshake in greeting although the grip is likely to be weak; Indians view a limp handshake as a sign of respect. It is acceptable for men to shake hands with each other and for women to shake hands with each other, but men and women do not touch when they meet.