Topic 22: Greetings (नमस्ते, अस्सलाम अलैकुम, सत सिरी अकाल)

Context: Meanwhile outside the restaurant Tim runs into his friend Mahesh, who has brought along his friend Mujib and his son Puppu.


टिम - नमस्ते महेश जी, आप कैसे हैं?

महेश - नमस्ते टिम जी, मैं ठीक हूँ।

टिम - ये कौन हैं ?

महेश - ये मुजीब अनसारी हैं ।

टिम - अस्सलाम अलैकुम मुजीब साहब, क्या हाल है?

मुजीब - वालैकुम अस्सलाम टिम साहब, सब ठीक है।


Tim - Greetings Mr Mahesh, how are you?

Mahesh - Greetings Mr Tim, I’m fine. Whose this?

Mahesh - This is Mujib Ansari.

TIm - Greetings Mr Mujib, how are you?

Mujib - Greetings Mr Tim, everything’s fine.

Notes: Greetings in Hindi

Greeting in North India normally relate to religious and group identities.

नमस्ते, and नमस्कार These are both Sanskrit words and derive from a root which means ‘to bow’ and basically mean I honour you.  Some people regard नमस्कार  as more formal than नमस्ते. There are no separate Hindi words for hello and goodbye, you can say नमस्ते both when you meet someone and when you leave them. It also does not matter what time of day it is, you still greet people by saying नमस्ते whether it is day or night.  In most cases as a Hindi learner adopting नमस्ते as a form of greeting will be found to work quite well, as many Indians have come to expect foreigners to know this greeting.

अस्सलाम अलैकुम  peace be upon you. This is the form of greeting preferred by many Muslims in India today to which the reply is वालैकुम अस्सलाम  and on you be peace. On parting Muslims often say ख़ुदा हाफ़िज़ God be with you (or: May God protect you).

आदाब अर्ज़ respect to you. This is another popular form of greetings amongst Muslims in South Asia and is often accompanied by a gesture in which the right hand is held up to the heart.

सत सिरी अकाल  Truth is the immortal Lord.  This is the greeting preferred amongst the Sikh community. Like नमस्ते  it is used at all times of the night and day for both meeting and parting.

हेल्लो hello and हाई hi These are greetings preferred by many younger Indians.


सत सिरी अकाल ph.‘Truth is the immortal lord’ (Sikh greeting)
नमस्कार nm. alternative form of नमस्ते regarded by some as more formal
ख़ुदा हाफ़िज़ ph. ‘May God protect you’ (Muslim phrase when departing)