Damned If You Do... Upasangrahan And The PM

I've been following some of the articles about our PM's state visit to India and I hope that the visit to her ancestors' village will be well documented because to be honest, this is the part of her trip that interests me the most. That homecoming must be underway as I write this. I also came across an article in the Times of India where our PM described her emotions when she first saw "Indian soil." She said that tears rolled down her eyes and I read about this with real interest, putting myself into her shoes and hoping to understand something more about our Prime Minister.

Indian President Pratibha Patil (R) and Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago,
Kamla Persad-Bissessar (L)
Another very potent gesture was our PM's show of Upasangrahan at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas [The Day for Overseas Indians] Awards ceremony. After receiving her award from President Pratibha Patil, our Prime Minister bent over and reached down to touch the feet of the elder woman. This ritual is done as a sign of respect for the age, maturity, nobility and divinity that elders personify and recognition of the sacrifices that they have made.

Prime Minister the Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar receives
Pravasi Bharatiya Samman
award in India

Uploaded by eyeonkamla
I thought that it was a beautiful gesture but as I read the comments that followed the article, I was so surprised to learn that this appreciation was not shared by all. At the time when I read the article, three hundred and sixteen comments had already been left by readers from many countries. I proceeded to read them all because I wanted to understand the reasons why some believed that the act of humility was highly inappropriate and demeaning. It is important to note that the detractors are in the minority as far as this article goes. Directly below the article posted below are some of the comments for and against the gesture.

Tears rolled down my eyes when I saw Indian soil: Trinidad and Tobago PM Kamla Persad
By Srikant Tripathy & Saurabh Sharma,
The Times of India | Jan 10, 2012, 05.22AM IST

JAIPUR: They may have been away for generations and grown up thousands of miles away, but it appears that the emotions attached to the country of forefathers gets passed down through the genes and is kept alive through the culture. This was more than evident during Trinidad and Tobago PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar's visit to India this week. From a family which had migrated from Bihar, she rose to become the first woman head of the Caribbean nation. In an interview to TOI on Monday, she talks of her roots and deepening the bonds with India. After attending the Pravasi Diwas in Jaipur, she flies to Bihar to visit her ancestral village. She touched the feet of President Pratibha Patil when they met. "I was told that you in Rajasthan greet people by saying Ram Ram. We in Trinidad say Sitaram," she said at the start of the interview.

How satisfying has been your trip to your 'grandmother' country?
I am touched by the love, warmth, and hospitality I received here. There are lot memories to take home but the most emotional moment has been when I was touching down in New Delhi. Tears rolled down when I saw the red soil in Delhi from the plane. When I was travelling in Rajasthan people were waving hands, and it felt like I was visiting my own constituency. My son is not that emotional. He thought my trip to India is just another conference, But when he hearing about my visit on TV, he too got moved.

Are you looking to build cultural ties with India?
There are lot of similarities in custom and culture between the two countries. We would like to enhance our cultural exchanges with the country, as people in Trinidad and Tobago love to dance to Bollywood music and Indian movies.

Which are the sectors Indian Industry can invest in Trinidad and Tobago?
We have seven pillars of development. India has a cutting edge information technology industry. We are setting up a technology park. We would like to see technology penetration in education. Besides, we would like to see cooperation in industries like fashion, filmmaking , ship-building, education, health and energy. We have a hundred years of expertise in oil exploration and gas optimization. Trinidad and Tobago has lot potential for gas. We are going to talk to Reliance industries to develop downstream facilities.

rakesh k kaul (new york)
11 hrs ago (01:37 AM)
commendable Mrs Kamala, it is a reminder to us indians/hindus that come what may stand by our traditions and culture, generations of suffering but stood strong by their traditions, honesty and truth, i know many other people of indian origin who now live in US from TT and mauritius, guiana,

drrb (mz)
13 hrs ago (11:05 PM)
India is humbled by your humility madam!! Your gesture will teach crores of young Hindu chidren about values like humility and respect. WELCOME to the land of your ancestors.The true Hindu is one who imbibes the virtues of all other cultures without loosing his identity. You are one such shining example.

Balakrishna Hegde (Bangalore)
18 hrs ago (05:57 PM)
The Indians those who went abroad to work or to migrate have done a great service to the nation. First of all they have rich multicultural and international experience which would immensely benefit the country whenever they return. They have earned valuable foreign exchange,adopted broad minded nature forgetting small differences of caste,creed and religion. But always they are proud of their country and love their country more than some of our misfit brothers who could not earn dollars and cribbing.

jai (UK)
8 hrs ago (04:29 AM)
Made every indian around the world very very proud with your gesture Madam Prime Minister Thank you very much.

hindu (fiji)
1 hr ago (11:22 AM)
yes hindus abroad think of india as their homeland but secular/congress india thinks only of them as cash cows. the humility shown by hon.kamla speaks volumes about us (the indians who were forcibly taken away by the british after being sold by the mughals) we have indias interest at heart but secular/congress only think of appeasment of so called minorities and ridiculing and shunning hindus-

Ramesh Maharaj (Toronto, Canada) replies to Rakesh
15 hrs ago (09:49 PM)
Rakesh, Touching someones feet represents humulity, not giving in to a superior complex. This has always been done in India and in places like Trinidad and Guyana, it is normal. I do it all the time and I am from Trinidad. I have been to India twice and love the people's humility. As for treating someone else as God, well the very Mahabharat that you quoted refer to all as Gods, we are all paer of the same Brahma... Ram Ram Bhai Ramesh

Pradeep (Coimbatore)
10 Jan, 2012 12:37 PM
Indian culture is well represented by the Trinidad and Tobago PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar which is demonstrated by her by taking blessings of the President of Indian by touching her feat. We do train our children to do that to the elders and when they do it, one can really feel the blessings being transferred. Even the blessed get the feeling of the blessings. There are inroads of western culture into India, through Media and modern media of communication like facebook, twitter etc. Let us hope, we Indians do take the benefit from modernization at the same time strictly follow our values and culture

indian aam admi (kerala)
10 Jan, 2012 12:21 PM
Trinidad and Tobago PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar has taught us indians what india truly is. Many of us indians have taken it as granted but it is these NRI's who show true respect and traditions of this land which we rarely do.
Satnam Singh (New Delhi)
10 Jan, 2012 12:15 PM
Am impressed by the way Smt. Kamla Prasad Bissesswar touched the feet of our President. This gesture of her really touched my soul. That is why I love my culture. I salute Smt. Kamla Bissesswarji.
Pradyumna (Bengaluru) replies to Jahind
24 hrs ago (12:54 PM)
Oye Are you a fool? Sonia is looting the country. This lady Kamla Prasad considers this land has her Matribhumi and respects the culture. What has Sonia done to restore the country's pride other than taking 1000s of crores to Italy and Swiss banks?
Murli (Shimla)
10 Jan, 2012 11:34 AM
This lady is indeed of high quality person. What a humility and modesty. Seeing such person make us proud of being Indian, if we same time feel ashamed of being Indian after seeing persons like Thackrays, Kalmadi, Ashok Chavan, Raja, Chidambaram, Lalu, Advani, Modi etc..who are eating this country and now shamelessly behave in total selfish manner.
Ajay (USA)
10 Jan, 2012 11:14 AM
Thanks to Kumar, Prasad and other positive comments. It's mot even any generation i came to USA from India. Folks common have some hope. I think Kamala per sad touched feet for no other reason more than she knew from her forefathers how to greet elders. It's her gesture that comes out clean
True Indian (Sydney)
10 Jan, 2012 11:12 AM
Proud of Kamla Persad.You are a True Indian,far away from India but and keep our traditions alive.

shoukat firfiray (kuwait)
10 Jan, 2012 11:06 AM
Being patriotic indian muslim I say "Al Hamdulliah" and wish to express my heartiest gratitude to H.E. PM of Trinidad and Tabogo Kamla Persad-Bissessar for honoring India's invitation in attending Pravasi Diaspora in Jaipur. Congratulations and best wishes to organizing Committee and distinguished attendees. Hope my govt. will now take serious steps to restore all frozen rights to NRIs who are proved tobe an active contributing driving force in national economy. Inshallah I wish if we move forward with such united and strong collective coordination (residents and non-residents), our nation will stand alone as strong role model being powerfull and self-reliance by all means. However, i appeal to all NRIs to extend their whole hearted support, morally, financially to their beloved country India and promote strong friendship and love abroad towards India. Also, I appeal govt. and all lawmakers to release all rights with immediate effect all frozen and restrictions sanctions imposed on NRIs. Allah Hafiz.
ashu (buxar(bihar))
10 Jan, 2012 10:58 AM
its emotional moment for me too that daughter of buxar is president in a foreign land she is inspiring me and making me believe that anyone can do anything proud moment for common people of bihar

gt (This great planet)
10 Jan, 2012 10:57 AM
I think she is great lady and her emotions are real and they have kept their religion, culture and even same names.Her touching of feet of our president was just a feeling in her mind of older lady whom Hindu culture respects.When i came back myself after long time to my birth country i felt like emotional and took its soil in my hand and some brought back with me.

Ranjan (jaipur)
10 Jan, 2012 10:56 AM
Guys It is our duty to give our best of affection to all Indians living outside India. I had a friend who was originally from Surinam but was living in Switzerland. He was so funny and affectionate. He was ready to send me a return ticket to Switzerland when I was in US. And he was just a net friend. He used to tell me that all indian origin in carribean believe that "surinam" was actually "SRIRAM" in the past. When I asked him if he knew anything about India and Hindi, he said his mother used to hit them and say " ga--d tor dega hum tumra". hehehe that made me laugh like hell. Let us respect them. They are pure and without deciet unlike many of us living in the mainland here. Let us write every word by caution and let us not mock their feelings. It wil be an insult to our history and to the generation of the history. Imagine the "sailaab of affection " that Madam Kamala carried with her first time in her life. Please Please don't disrespect that even in a joking fashion. Thank you very much.
abu Akram (Masab Tank)
10 Jan, 2012 10:53 AM
In Hindu traditions, touching the feet of elders,parents grand parents is normal as a respect. I remember Lata Mangeshwer touched the feet of Dilip Kumar, when Dilip Kumar made opening welcoming speech in her tribute( Sanmaan) few years ago.

TruthBknown (Kolkata)
10 Jan, 2012 10:46 AM
There is an interesting convergence of cultures in this one gesture which is possibly missed midst the din of the comments on this article. Two thousand years ago a man knelt down to not only touch but wash the feet of his disciples in an act of great humility and in that shining example preached that unless we are prepared to wash the feet of our fellow human beings irrespective of the colour of their skin, castes or religion we cannot hope to redeem ourselves in this life or the next.

(Kolkata) replies to TruthBknown
10 Jan, 2012 12:42 PM
Lord Krishna did the same to his childhood friend Sudama.
Ravi (HongKong) replies to vijay
10 Jan, 2012 11:49 AM
You will find that feet....I think you have to go out of the country (away from your loved ones) for few years and come back..... You will understand the difference.
bombyl (IN) replies to rava
10 Jan, 2012 12:10 PM
Emotion overruled the protocol and nothing to be ashamed off. Must have been genuine, impulsive burst of emotional expression, whats wrong in it?

Kumar (Kuala lumpur)
10 Jan, 2012 10:32 AM
My dear readers, what has happened to you. Why the insult and name calling. I am the grandson of an Indian. My son is 5th generation Malaysian. We love the land of our birth but continue to cherish India as the land of our forefathers. My dad died without ever seeing India. He was waiting to retire before taking the then ship journey to chennai. I have visited India 4 times in the last calendar year and attended the conference in Jaipur yesterday. I'm back in my office today remembering the good 3 days I spent in Jaipur. It was a weekend trip. Don't comment without understanding the feelings of the descendants of the labour migrants who travelled in search of jobs but never returned. Some lost contact with their kinsman and villages. Most of us retain our cultural roots and touching the feet of the Indian President is not subjugation. Its her way of respecting the symbol of India. The land of her ancestors.
Kumar replies to Tulano
5 hrs ago (07:06 AM)
I stand corrected but there was no kissing involved. I am not going to attempt to educate you on the merits of the Hindu culture of touching the feet of elders. I leave that duty to your parents and guru. I concur that a large number of the ethnic Indian community are in need of financial aid. The federal and state governments and the NGO's are working hard to improve the situation. The suit was misconceived. I trust it was more of a publicity stunt.you question my loyalty. Why? I remain a Malaysian loyal to my king and country. You want me to go back to India. Why? I can't understand your reasoning, I assume it's a reasoned argument. Why would you admire her for kissing the soil but not for respecting an elder. Keep your political thoughts out of this.
suresh (muscat) replies to Kumar
10 Jan, 2012 11:20 AM
We appreciated it, It is a respect showing by an younger Indian to Elder Indian. Nothing wrong in it. And we honour her as our Sister. There are many insects who write some funny comments here, We are sorry for them,and It is Our tradition (Indian) to respect everybody. You are welcome and India will never shrink or Perish by welcoming its old kith & kins.

sanjay (Delhi) replies to Kumar
10 Jan, 2012 11:08 AM
you are very true. Some people don't understand the respect. The Hon'ble PM of T& T touched the feet of our President to pay her respect and to show her emotions towards the country of her forefathers. whats wrong in it.

Kumar replies to Fellow Indian
10 Jan, 2012 11:45 AM
I can only guess that your hatred is political in nature. I am ready to discuss my views but not quarrel over them. Touching of the feet is part of my cultural upbringing. Washing of feet is called 'path namaskaram' I believe. It's reserved for separate occasions. Do ask your parents or Guru for further information. Cheers

Kumar replies to Fellow Indian
10 Jan, 2012 11:38 AM
Touching the feet is part of our culture, cleaning isn't. I am ready to discuss but not quarrel over something as beautiful as touching the feet of your elders. Strange that as it may seem we the people of Indian origin remain Indian in our ways.
Inbee (some where in the world) replies to Tulano
10 Jan, 2012 11:28 AM
Dear, the award that she got is for as a people /person, not as a PM. So that moment she done the thing that she learn from her parents to touch the feet of elders. And this is what reach culture of India means. I am sure nowhere your find this. Noting to feel shame for the same.
Poly (Some where in the World)
10 Jan, 2012 10:30 AM
Guys, Shame on ur slef by passing this type of nonsense comments, should be proud of it the one of the foriegn is giving respect to our president, donn see the personality, see the respect of the chair. By saying dum to the president, its shame on your's path.
preeti (Bangalore) replies to sam
10 Jan, 2012 11:50 AM
In India we give mata(Mother),pita(Father),gurujan(Scholars/Teachers) and others elders same stature as GOD.
Rohitas Batta (Sydney) replies to sam
10 Jan, 2012 11:32 AM
Indian culture, traditions and values were still with Kamlaji when she touched the feet of Mrs Patil. Take it as a sign of respect. Great lady deserves commendation and not criticism. Indians in Australia do greet their elders same way.
Rbhatia (Bangalore) replies to sam
10 Jan, 2012 11:12 AM
Sam, whether for or aginst you are also obsessed, Her Highness Kamla Persad has become head of her country.. she knows what she is doing.. Sam you are nobody to comment.. you owes an apology to Her highness for belittling her..
sunny (dubai) replies to sam
10 Jan, 2012 10:50 AM
Mr. Sam, You are definately not an India. Indian's will never forget their roots or their culture. What you said is true, if she did that with the intention of worship. This is a show of respect and culture. People like you are bad omen for Indians, because once you get passport of the country you have taken shelter, you forget where you were born and under what conditions. Never forget your roots nor defame.
venu (bangalore)
10 Jan, 2012 10:23 AM
hats off to Kamala Prased for not forgetting the Indian tradition and culture of touching the feet but Prathiba Patil doesn't deserve that respect.
akshay mehta (ujjain) replies to venu
10 Jan, 2012 10:56 AM
do u have any sense..even on good occasions people like u (definately u r RSS BJP CHAMCHA) SPREADS VENOM. after all she is president of India..and a lady..what wrong she has done..not looted like your yedurappa na..fool..
Indian custom (World) replies to lucky
10 Jan, 2012 10:29 AM
the respect was to the person and not to the post. Paying respect to every one old or young is the Indian custom
NST (PNQ) replies to vishal agrawal
10 Jan, 2012 10:18 AM
You and all those made similar comments are dead wrong. Touching elder's feet is a well entrenched good manner amongst Indians, especially Hindus, to show respect for elderly, no matter what idealogy or characters the elder might belong to. President Pratibha Patil is older than Prime Minister Kamal Prasad Bissessar, and that was not a wrong thing to do.
Nitin (US) replies to vishal agrawal
10 Jan, 2012 10:10 AM
She touched feet of President Of India. Pratibha Patil or the person does not matter.

neo (india) replies to Nitin
10 Jan, 2012 10:33 AM
not, it`s our culture and tradition that elder people always be respected no matter what post he or she occupied.

Girish (Noida) replies to Nitin
10 Jan, 2012 10:21 AM
thats correct..!! She touched the feet of head of Republic of India
ashu (buxar) replies to Girish
10 Jan, 2012 11:09 AM
she didnt touch the feet of head of india her country is rich and mighty than bangladesh but bangla pm never shows a tinge of gratitude towards india kamla prasad was only emotional to see her motherland and tried to do a indian thing in land of her forefathers
dean.deepthought (Dubai) replies to Nag
10 Jan, 2012 10:55 AM
Wonder we always have to shake hands, which is a western cultural tradition ? We may as well touch feet (of elders) which is Indian tradition and both the parties involved have Indian connection. Byu the way the Image of Trinadad and Tobago has not gone down in Indian minds , Its actually gone up for having the guts to follow Indian tradition, which incidently Indians don't have as they are worried what the western world would think. Way to go, Trinadad and Tobago.
gautam sinha (Delhi) replies to Nag
10 Jan, 2012 10:43 AM
Kamla Prasad arrived here as a Pravasi Bharatiya and not as a state head. So she has done nothing wrong.
ronny (riyadh)
10 Jan, 2012 09:54 AM
i should say she is a true indian more than our indian politicans who forget who they r being humbel n true to heart is true indian

JB (BluePlanet) replies to XYZ
10 Jan, 2012 12:16 PM
There is a Sanskrit (an Indo-European root language) saying from prehistoric times, "Mother and motherland are higher than even the heavens." It's not a master-slave sentiment, but a mother-daughter sentiment. Perhaps something akin to a European kissing his mother's grave. Indians typically see other Indians as mother, father, sister, daughter. It's because of a continuous culture of 10000 years when whole settlements were one big family. Even today neighbours are often addressed as aunt, uncle, from day one when they move in.
Truth (Delhi) replies to XYZ
10 Jan, 2012 11:23 AM
Morons like you will never be able to understand the depth of meaning and humanity behind each Hindu custom....That's why, fools like you prefer to be slaves of people who fool you with cunning stories of gradieurs, not the basic humanilty and humility ! Wake up and start thinking !

sunil.menon53 (Mumbai) replies to XYZ
10 Jan, 2012 09:50 AM

Rakesh T (Mumbai)
23 hrs ago (01:46 PM)
Our Indian Namaste would have been the best way of greeting each other. Well, why not touch someone’s head? Think why not? Touching anyone’s feet is part of our culture, True (it is accepted in a family culture to respect Elders?).But it should not have been between head of States. Sign of giving respect in terms of what? Age or wealth or power or caste ………? Treating the other person superior?. Is he not a Human being like us? Then, why treat another person like God? This is the same act being carried down from the beginning, the root, where discrimination between men started. Which gave rise to superiority to man over man? Then how this Dalits, the untouchables and other backward classes came into existence in our Mahan Bharat ? Well to conclude. It is an individual’s way of doing it. Let him show respect by touching anywhere, as long as the other party does not object, so why are we wasting our time.
Bhupinder S. Liddar (Goa)
23 hrs ago (01:04 PM)
Karla Persad is PM of T & T and NOT India. If she was still in Behar she will see what conditions she will be living ink. She went a bit too far to display her Indian-ness,
dsppraveen (Chennai)
10 Jan, 2012 12:11 PM
Where was she all this time? Why hasn't she visited her country all these years? Sure, she knows the tactics to touch the sentiments of local people and now all Indian people will be moved by her act... I pity for the poor Indians.
aditya (Bubaneswar) replies to True Indian
10 Jan, 2012 11:45 AM
Prasad you did a wrong thing. Now u r PM of another country you should feel more attached to that country not INDIA. of course you can boast your ancestor were Indian or so. If we go on by lineage theen AFRICA will become the motherland of all civilazations. it is been said that all lands belong to God not to human
sadanand (mumbai)
10 Jan, 2012 11:06 AM
The Lady PM of Trindad actually fell on feet to President P.Patil, due to her state of "delirium tremens". Master stroke by endorsing 'Reliance', who would be one to do good to her land of premiership. Sailing in same boat with Sonia.
rava (Bengaluru)
10 Jan, 2012 10:40 AM
Shameful of the tand T PM to touch feet of indian president. namasate could have been sufficient,

Chandanna Tonape (Mumbai)
10 Jan, 2012 10:32 AM
Our President would have stopped her from doing this and would have received her to chest. After all Kamla Prasad is a representative of their country. Better ignore this event on the basis of her sentiments.
Tulano (SA) replies to Kumar
10 Jan, 2012 11:27 AM
If this is the way you interpret this feet kissing then I understand why the Indians get the hell beat out of them in Malaysia. As it is the Indians are the poorest ethnic group in Malaysia committing the most crimes and most ruthless and violent of crimes. The Indians are trying to sue the British for bringing their forebears to Malaysia to "suffer" but I presume you are not one of them but where is your loyalty ? Bowing and touching of feet is not subservience ? If this is how you actually feel you should go back to India. As a citizen your first duty is loyalty to the nation, you don't "kowtow" to any other head of state or kiss their feet.I would admire her if she had kissed the soil of Bihar.

Fellow Indian (bangalore) replies to Kumar
10 Jan, 2012 10:53 AM
then why not clean her feet with emotion.there is some somethin called self respect being leader of a nation. Our president is also like you,she should have stopped her and hugged her instead. No manners.
Tulano (SA)
10 Jan, 2012 10:32 AM
Just imagine the Minister Mentor of S'pore Lee Kuan Yew kneeling down to touch the feet of Mao or President Clinton kneeling down before Queen Elizabeth !!! Never in 10 times your life time will you see it. Being proud of your heritage is one thing but subservience to the head of another country is another. I hang my head in shame for this Indian. Will foreigners ever trust Indian citizens in their countries ? BTW In1995 seventeen % of Indians in T&T were living below the poverty line.
Tulano replies to Inbee
10 Jan, 2012 12:38 PM
Will she go searching for this chap's feet to touch when she next visits India when he is no longer the president ? Presidents come and go but the soil of India goes on forever. Kiss the soil instead, like what the pope does when he visits. Other ethnic groups don't kiss a foreign leader's feet even if he is old.
sam (australia)
10 Jan, 2012 10:26 AM
Touching feet should be only reserved for god not for fellow human beings ,whatever race , religion or status he or she may be.Therefore one is degrading themselves by touching feet of humanbeing ,in our modern society every human is equal . a prime minister of free & independent nation touching feet of president of another nation is disgraceful.i think kamla persad prime minister of trinidad & tobago owes an apology to the citizens of her country.
sam replies to preeti
20 hrs ago (04:04 PM)
The prime minister of one country on official visit does not touch feet of the president of a foreign nation.will she do it to the president of her own nation? If it was a private visit no body cares.Take into account 50% of the population in trinidad is other races.I wonder what they have to say. she became prime minister of her country with votes from other citizen too,in this case she should have to respect their culture.
Nobow (SA) replies to Rohitas Batta
10 Jan, 2012 12:42 PM
If an Indian PM of Australia does that, he would be replaced and "deported" the next day.
vinod (dubai) replies to sam
10 Jan, 2012 10:48 AM
touching the feet is the way of getting blessing in India and hindu culture, we do to our elders.Its not fair on an official trip to do so coz she represent a nation and not an individual.
venu replies to akshay mehta
23 hrs ago (01:02 PM)
I do not belong to any party , I am an Indian and I have every right to express my opinion. In fact Kamala Prased has given respect to the PRESIDENT OF INDIA, not to the person who is holding the position. If you feel still feel Prathiba Patil deserves that much respect, then pray her every day for her blessings. All the best.
lucky (bbsr)
10 Jan, 2012 10:09 AM
Hats off Mrs.P.M of T&T for u r Gesture towards India...but u shouldn't touch the feet of Mrs. Dumb(President of India)...Mrs.Dummy President of India is not worthy of it...
vishal agrawal (mumbai)
10 Jan, 2012 10:02 AM
Pratibha Patil feet. How idiotic. She must be and idiot to have touched the feet of a petty thief.
Rishi (India) replies to vishal agrawal
10 Jan, 2012 10:14 AM
Agreed. I can't digest touching the feet of this filthy lady.

nair (pune) replies to Nitin
10 Jan, 2012 10:20 AM
if the President was of the calibre of APJ Kalam, it would have been really wonderful. But this lady - only God rest her "Sole" in peace

Nag (Victoria)
10 Jan, 2012 10:01 AM
PM of some country touching the feet of the president of other country " I feel this is some thing wrong because you are a representative of the whole country you should put respect of your country before your sentiments.

sunilg17 (US)
10 Jan, 2012 09:58 AM
Kamla Persad should have done some research on the state of Indian politicians and how corrupt they are before bending down to touch president's feet. More over touching one's feet is considered a display of inferiority in all parts of the world except India where they glorify it as a sign of respect. Respect, so it may be within a family but certainly not between 2 strangers senior or otherwise, there are other ways to show respect. BOTTOMLINE, NO ONE SHOULD BOW TO A DIRTY POLITICIAN.

George (lucknow)
10 Jan, 2012 09:47 AM
Why, Why, Why?, what has pratibha patil achieved apart from being a puppet, all through the period the whole corruption issue was burning and people were coming onto streets, when there is billions of dollars of money stashed abroad, when the terrorists are being treated as state guests, what has she done?. Shame on tobago or tobacco PM. Pathetic, makes me puke.

XYZ (Artic)
10 Jan, 2012 09:39 AM

"She touched the feet of President Pratibha Patil when they met.", doesn't matter what height a Indian achieves, he/she has no dignity. Touching feet is an international insult, but, Indians specialise in it. It is not out of respect, it is subjugation.


A Note From The Gull

Seems like anything a person does is guaranteed to both offend and to please depending on the beholders. And when you are on the world stage, your beholders weigh in from Sydney to South Africa, Bangalore to Dubai, Mumbai to the USA. A luta continua.

UPDATE: See continuing local discussion in the following articles:

Kamla maintains steely cool. By Ira Mathur | Trinidad Guardian Online | Sunday, February 12, 2012.

The foolish majority. By Kevin Baldeosingh | Trinidad Express Newspapers | Feb 2, 2012.

Kamla dances on the mountain top. By Selwyn Ryan | Trinidad Express Newspapers | Jan 29, 2012.

One fit to bow, one unfit to lead. By Denzil Mohammed | Trinidad Guardian Online |Sunday, January 29, 2012.

PM Kamla acted appropriately. By Pandita Indrani Rampersad | T&T Newsday | Friday, January 27 2012

The day Rowley bowed. By Nalinee Seelal | T&T Newsday | Friday, January 27 2012

Kamla say Keith will never be leader. By Richardson Dhalai | T&T Newsday | Thursday, January 26 2012

Clear need in T&T for multicultural lessons. By David Subran | Trinidad Guardian Online | Tuesday, January 24, 2012.

Show respect for traditions, Rowley. By Paras Ramoutar | Trinidad Guardian Online | Tuesday, January 24, 2012.

Who will follow in PM's footsteps? By Philip Nunez | Trinidad Express Newspapers | Jan 23, 2012.

Something T & T can learn from India. By Elspeth Duncan | Now is Wow Too | Monday, January 23, 2012.

Is the Opposition Leader culturally insensitive? By Prakash Persad | Trinidad Guardian Online | Monday, January 23, 2012.

Fuelling the flames of megalomania. By MF Rahman | T&T Newsday | Monday, January 23 2012.

Prakash defends PM’s bowing to Indian president. By Azard Ali | T&T Newsday | Monday, January 23 2012.

Poverty of the spirit. By Ira Mathur | Trinidad Guardian Online | Sunday, January 22, 2012.

Humility rather than humiliation. By Shivam Rampersad | T&T Newsday | Sunday, January 22 2012.

Rowley disappoints. By Chris Arshad Hosein | T&T Newsday | Saturday, January 21 2012

Learn to bow, uncle, and save yourself. By Attillah Springer | Trinidad Guardian Online | Saturday, January 21, 2012.

I bow to you. By Reshma Baal | T&T Newsday | Saturday, January 21 2012.

Give Rowley some advice on protocol. By Valentine Young | Trinidad Guardian Online | Friday, January 20, 2012.

Be guided by humility, respect. By Imaam Iqbal Hydal | Trinidad Express Newspapers | Jan 20, 2012.

Kamla: I will not apologise for showing respect. Trinidad Express Newspapers | Jan 20, 2012.

When bowing is a blessing. By Vedavid Manick | Trinidad Express Newspapers | Jan 20, 2012.

Apologise for that insult. By Chris Arshad Hosein | Trinidad Express Newspapers | Jan 20, 2012.

Bowing a sign of humility. By Nalini C Maharaj | T&T Newsday | Friday, January 20 2012

It's tradition: Kamla was right. Hindu leaders on PM bowing to India's president...
By Camille Bethel | Trinidad Express Newspapers | Jan 20, 2012.

Rowley: T&T doesn't bow to anyone...Kamla wrong to kiss Indian president's foot.
By Joel Julien | Trinidad Express Newspapers | Jan 18, 2012.

"To Goar or Not To Lagay." By Stephen Kangal | Trinidad and Tobago News Blog | January 15, 2012

Touching of the feet was master stroke. By Stephen Kangal | T&T Newsday | Saturday, January 14 2012.

Editorial: Touching of the feet. T&T Newsday | Friday, January 13 2012.

PM remembers roots at award ceremony. Kamla touches feet of India’s President. Trinidad Guardian Online | Wednesday, January 11, 2012.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!


Anonymous said...

It is an Indian cultural to bow and kiss the feet for those who they respect I have no problem with that. What I cannot understand is why she had to cry when she saw Indian soil .This was not her first visit to India Remember J.W.said she fell down drunk by 'GANDHI STATUE.'

Guanaguanare said...

Thanks for visiting and for taking the time to leave a comment. Yes, I was also surprised by some of the reactions. About that other story, until I see the video, I will continue to regard it as just another Trinbagonian urban myth. I was not aware that our PM had visited India before this trip but if she did, perhaps this second trip had special significance.

Anonymous said...

Respect is due, when it is due..but she was wrong hence the reason she was stopped. No one seem to have watched the video. She was stopped before she could reach her feet. If it was acceptable then the President would of gladly received it.

Those who support it are looking at it through their culture and religions eyes, so I can take anything they say seriously.

Watch the video, she was stopped..so therefore it was not appropriate. Forget mother India and see it for what it is. It was not a personal trip, she was representing a country that is diverse. It was not a religious excursion.

Wrong is wrong..people are taking this a bit too personal and not seeing the bigger picture. How can Trinidad and tobago be taken seriously if they put themselves below another country. Trinidad have already developed a caste system and racial tension is at it's highest. This incident is proof that some groups do not see themselves as trinidadians but indians first. Hence the support and raly for such behavior. How can a country develop if some want to separate themselves.

No one is saying its wrong to bow or kiss anyone feet, but there's a time and place for everything.

Every creed and race find and equal place is legend in it's self.

Trinidad is your country of birth.

Guanaguanare said...

Thanks for visiting and for taking the time to contribute to the discussion. You points are quite valid if you view the PM as a one dimensional entity. The situation was a complex one and the PM was working through it as a political leader, a representative of a particular node of India's diaspora, a preserver of a culture, a descendant of relatives living on that soil, a human being responding to all of the above. I am neither East Indian nor Hindu and I found the gesture beautiful.

I have no idea if our PM had decided ahead of time that she would show her respect for the President of India in such a personal and cultural specific manner. I suspect that she was moved instinctively to do it by powerful emotions which overrode Western dominated protocol. Did you notice that some of the detractors abroad disapproved not of the gesture but of our PM showing this level of respect to someone who they believed did not deserve it?

Arguments can be made that our PM stepped off the straight and narrow as far as prime ministerial comportment goes and all leaders probably face the same criticisms when they are caught between cultures and there is no one action that can please all. U.S. President Barak Obama received similar criticism when he bowed to the Saudi King Abdullah, the Emperor Akihito of Japan, and the Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Thanks also for pointing out that there was a video showing our PM's gesture. I have embedded it above. After examining the exchange, I really don't think that President Patil's stopping our PM from touching her feet was a sign of her disapproval. I am not an expert on these things but to me it could have been the elder woman's way of acknowledging both the younger woman's humility AND her status. To me it seemed very gentle and affectionate and in not allowing her to complete the gesture she was saying according to Sparrow, I accept that your "attempt is as good as the act." or maybe a good natured, "Sister, you honour me too much." I see her having stopped our PM as a sign of mutual respect.

On another level this is not just about protocol but more about how much we trust the motives of our PM. We are constantly trying to gauge which is her preferred constituency. Historically/politically/culturally instigated competitiveness and distrust among communities in this country have left lingering suspicions. Although they are not insurmountable, insensitivity will prolong and amplify them. As we transition from one political culture to a future one, it takes nothing to send a much abused and now paranoid society over the edge when it suspects that the past is still with us.

The jump from ordinary human being to leader of a nation is a process that will be coloured by the characteristics peculiar to that individual's personality and immediate cultural milieu. Perhaps PM KP-B did breach protocol but I cannot say that this was a bad thing. I should tend to overlook and even defend our PM's "foibles" IF, IF, IF she can also prove to me beyond a doubt that in all things, she has only our country's best interests at heart. Hopefully we will continue to reach and teach each other. Aside from foreign travel, PM KP-B will be invited to take countless intrastate visits to Mama T&T before her tenure is over and if she demonstrates that she wants to understand and love every inch of this country, she will be forgiven for all breaches of protocol. Even though I cannot condone everything that she does and says, I have not reached the point where I do not want to give her and us a chance. Progress is an iterative process. When we've forgotten how to wheel and come again, we done dead.

Anonymous, thank you again for sharing your thoughts. I welcome the dialogue.