The practice of politicians falling at the feet of their leaders to secure their “blessings” is common in Hindu India as it is part of the culture of respecting “elders” or “seniors”. In the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, however, the practice assumed ugly forms during the regime of the Late J.Jayalalithaa , when even senior cabinet ministers had to fall at her feet in public view if they were not to be kicked out of office.
There is now evidence that a similar servile culture has crossed the international border into Bangladesh. On Thursday, the recently re-elected Mayor of Comilla City, Monirul Haque Sakku, bent low to touch the feet of Awami League chief and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after he was sworn-in.
Perhaps Monirul Haque was following the traditional Bengali culture in which falling at the feet of elders or superiors is the done thing. But one wonders if that is allowed in Islam in which one bows or worships only Allah and none else. But then Bangladesh’s culture is a colorful and fascinating mixture the Islamic and the Bengali Hindu traditions.