HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

Why Bhutanese clapping for Modi is a matter of applause

IANS  Thimphu, June 16, 2014
First Published: 16:01 IST(16/6/2014) | Last Updated: 15:23 IST(23/6/2014)

People of Bhutan do not clap as a congratulatory gesture as they believe that clapping is done only to ward off evil spirits.

But on Monday they made an exception for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who gave a rousing speech at the joint session of Bhutanese Parliament. 

As Modi finished his extempore speech delivered in Hindi, which the members of Parliament including the Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and other important dignitaries listened to in rapt attention with the help of interpreters, the gathering broke into spontaneous applause. 

The clapping began in one corner of the national assembly - the lower House where the joint session was held - and it soon spread among the VVIPs seated at the chamber, as also the visitors' gallery where a large number of Indian and Bhutanese journalists and other officials as also some meritorious students were present. 

Read: Indo-Bhutan ties strong, says Modi; focus on hydropower cooperation

As the applause reverberated from almost all corners of the assembly, some of their countrymen smiled embarrassedly.  In fact, an advisory issued to the media on Sunday itself had referred to the custom.

"It may kindly be noted that there will be no clappings/applause in the Bhutanese parliament during the prime minister's address to the joint session of the Bhutanese parliament. 

Read: PM talks of good neighbours, B2B ties in Bhutan

"This is because of the Bhutanese religious belief that clapping is done only to ward off evil spirit," said the notice posted at the media centre set up here for Modi's two-day trip.

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