Probably the word ‘salaam’ and along with it, its etiquette, came to India with Mughals. Whenever a king or honoree person used to come the bourgeois used to salute them either out of respect or out of obligation. Then came the britishers, they started their Indian conquest with this culture, greeting the kings with terms like ‘My highness’ etc and bowing before the king which used to give the kings a false feeling of superiority but slowly and slowly tables were turned, Now Britishers were the real kings of India and our very own home grown kings were their puppets.
Time progressed, so did India. Today India is counted as a young, educated nation in the world. Indians have made name for themselves and their country all over the world. Old traditions have made way for new reforms which have given equal opportunities to one and all to achieve their goals and grow in stature but somehow I find this ‘salaam’ culture still prevalent all over in India. In some spheres it is also referred as ‘salute’, a more dignified way I must say, like in armies, to all brave hearts who laid their life for the well being of this nation but at majority of places it is still the old ‘Salaam’ sometimes it’s a mere verbal way of saying, some time a more clumsy way wherein one hand of person touches his forehead on seeing a superior or some time it’s a tacit one like we saw just a few days back wherein a policeman was washing a political leader’s feet who was released on bail and if that was not enough another was carrying his slippers with his bare hands.
All I want to want to convey through this article is that although we Indians , very proudly chant our names ,at top of our voice, in front of whole of the world as the fastest developing nation in terms of science, education, lifestyle etc but somewhere down the line we all are shackled by these chains of unfounded cultures, one of which is ‘Salaam’, and this is not out of respect to some superior but out of mere obligations, unwanted fears otherwise how can one explain an IPS/IAS washing a guilty minister’s feet.
Unless these chains are removed, people are free to do what they really want to do and they don’t have to do such formalities just as to please someone so that his job is safe or he is unnecessarily harassed at the hands of criminals, we still lag the world and would never be a superpower which we aim for. And for this People have to change the way they live, their perceptions because unless we decide who is superior to us and who is not, nobody actually is. After all RESPECT WAS/IS NEVER GIVEN, IT’S ALWAYS EARNED!!!