European Hindus unite to oppose ban on Swastika

published on January 18, 2007

Hindus opposing EU swastika ban – BBC News


http://news. bbc.co.uk/ 2/hi/europe/ 6269627.stm

Hindus in Europe have joined forces against a German proposal to ban the display of the swastika across the European Union, a Hindu leader said. Ramesh Kallidai of the Hindu Forum of Britain said the swastika had been a symbol of peace for thousands of years before the Nazis adopted it.He said a ban on the symbol would discriminate against Hindus.

Germany, holder of the EU presidency, wants to make Holocaust denial and the display of Nazi symbols a crime.

Mr Kallidai said his organisation was writing to European lawmakers to highlight the issue.

Hindu groups in Holland, Belgium and Italy were also involved in the campaign, he said.

“The swastika has been around for 5,000 years as a symbol of peace,” he said. “This is exactly the opposite of how it was used by Hitler.”

He said that while the Nazi implications of the symbol should be condemned, people should respect the Hindu use of the swastika.

“Just because Hitler misused the symbol, abused it and used it to propagate a reign of terror and racism and discrimination, it does not mean that its peaceful use
should be banned.”

The group said banning the swastika was equivalent to banning the cross simply because the Ku Klux Klan had used burning crosses.

The swastika is already banned in Germany. A previous attempt to ban it across the EU in early 2005 failed after objections from several governments, including
the British.

Germany took over the six-month EU presidency on 1 January.

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Hindus reclaim their symbol of life – Britain – Times Online


http://www.timesonl ine.co.uk/ article/0, ,2-1446311, 00.html


By Ruth Gledhill – January 19, 2005

HINDUS in Britain have started a campaign to “redeem” the swastika from its Nazi past and reclaim it as the symbol of life and fortune it once was. The swastika is a 5,000-year-old symbol that has been used for centuries by Hindus, Buddhists and many other traditions to denote good luck, but because of the Nazis it has come to symbolise hate, anti-Semitism, violence, death and murder. The campaign, announced
today, comes after members of the European Parliament called for a Europe-wide ban on the symbol after Prince Harry wore a swastika armband to a fancy dress party.

Franco Frattini, the European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, has said that he is willing to consider the possibility of a ban. Nazi symbols including the swastika are banned in Germany.

Hindus use the right-facing version of the swastika,meaning “sun”, as jewellery or on doorways and buildings to bring good fortune. This was the version adopted by the Nazi Party in 1920 at Salzburg.

It is thought that Allied wartime propaganda is responsible for the false belief that at Hitler’s insistence the swastika was later reversed to the left-facing version, meaning “death” in Hindu mythology.

Ramesh Kallidai, of the Hindu Forum, is planning pro-swastika awareness workshops for every region of Britain with a large seminar in London. Every MP is to be lobbied by e-mail and an information booklet will be distributed to faith communities and others.

Mr Kallidai said: “A symbol we have used for more than 5,000 years is now on the verge of being banned because of association with the Nazis over which we
had no control.

“Hindus wish to continue to use this symbol as part of their religion, but they risk being labelled a Nazi or, in the case of a ban, risk breaking the law. We need to educate people about the historical context of the symbol, its wrong use by the Nazis and its importance to Hindus”.

Hindus often have swastikas displayed around their homes and business premises or in artwork. Mr Kallidai said that it was ironic that a symbol depicting the wheel of life and good fortune had become a symbol of racism, torture and war.

Nitin Mehtma, founder of Young Indian Vegetarians, said: “Hindus were known as Aryans and the swastika was a symbol which identified them as peace-loving,cultured, tolerant people. It would be nice if this aspect of the swastika can be highlighted.”

Ashok Chudasama, of the Blackburn Hindu Centre, runs courses to explain the use of the sign by Hindus. He said: “When people in the north raised concerns about us using the swastika, we educated them and they have taken on board the true meaning.”

Bhupendra Patel, a magistrate and the secretary of the Shree Sattavis Gam Patidar Samaj, a Hindu organisation, said: “Like many Christians wear crosses, many Hindus wear swastikas. Does this mean they will be ostracised as Nazis?”

A spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which has a well-established dialogue in place with Britain’s Hindus, said: “We respect the Hindu Forum’s
desire to take back the swastika but it should be remembered that neo-Nazis and racists when daubing the swastika get it wrong more than they get it right. It
is a sensitive issue and would require further dialogue.”

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BBC NEWS, UK — Origins of the swastika


http://news. bbc.co.uk/ 2/hi/uk_news/ magazine/ 4183467.stm

The Nazis hijacked the symbol from its Hindu origins.The swastika is a cross with its arms bent at right angles to either the right or left. In geometric terms, it is known as an irregular icosagon or 20-sided polygon.


 


The word is derived from the Sanskrit “svastika” and means “good to be”. In Indo-European culture it was a mark made on people or objects to give them good luck.

It has been around for thousands of years, particularly as a Hindu symbol in the holy texts, to mean luck, Brahma or samsara (rebirth). The Hindu version is a mirror image of the Nazi symbol.

Nowadays it is commonly seen in Indian artwork and current and ancient Hindu architecture, and in the ruins of the ancient city of Troy. It has also been used in Buddhism and Jainism, plus other Asian,European and Native American cultures.

The British author Rudyard Kipling, who was strongly influenced by Indian culture, had a swastika on the dust jackets of all his books until the rise of Nazism made this inappropriate. It was also a symbol used by the scouts in Britain, although it was taken off Robert Baden-Powell’ s 1922 Medal of Merit after complaints in the 1930s.

 

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