The word Swastika comes from the Sanskrit word swastika, which means “good fortune” or “well-being”. The symbol (a hooked cross) appears to have first been used in Neolithic Eurasia, perhaps representing the movement of the sun through the sky. Since then to this day it is a sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. As per the Hindu Mythology clockwise and counterclockwise Swastika are portrayed as light and darkness respectively,in Buddhism swastika is thought to represent the footprint of the Buddha. You can see this symbol is displaced almost everywhere in India like on vehicles, in all important ceremonies, festivals and pujas in Hindu families to bring good fortune. You might be wondering then how this sacred symbol with lot of positive might be banned in some countries and people find it a symbol of hatred? Do you know there are people who are just afraid and don’t want to see it again?
People in Germany and Poland identify it as Nazi’s symbol. Nazi was National Socialist German Workers’ Party, controlled by Adolf Hitler. So here the question arises, was Swastika a Nazi’s symbol and if it was, then why was it denoted as symbol of hatred? Or if it was a symbol of Peace and well being in Hinduism then what made it a symbol of hatred in other communities?
History says it all, it was a symbol of complete positivity. There were many instances when people used it for fortune around the world. In 1925 Coca- Cola used it for its watch. In 1922 there were a women hockey team named Swastikas in British Columbia. Early in 20th Century the Swastika symbol was printed on postcards. The Boy Scouts adopted it and the Girls’ Club of America called their magazine Swastika. Hence It was a symbol of positivity until Adolf Hitler made it the centerpiece of the Nazi flag.
In 1870 when German businessman Schliemann found Swastika in the Troy a ruined city of Greek. He claimed that he discovered the symbol. Since Swastika was present among the archaeological remains of the Germanic tribes, it didn’t take much time for nationalists to jump in to the conclusion that the Germans and the Greeks were both descendants of the Aryans. And then this was seized by anti-Semitic nationalist groups who appropriated the swastika as an Aryan symbol to boost a sense of ancient lineage for the German people. It became a symbol of Nazi racial ideology that called for the elimination of Jews and other groups deemed inferior. Hitler rotated it 45 degrees on a white circle and set against a red background. In the year 1920 he adopted the swastika as a German national symbol and as the central element in the party flag of the National Socialist Party. And then swastika would become the most recognizable icon of Nazi propaganda, appearing on the flag referred to by Hitler. The connotations of the swastika had changed forever. For Jewish people the swastika had become a symbol of fear, of suppression, and of extermination. Still it is banned in Germany, no one wants to see it again. It is assumed to be a symbol of death and evil. There were many efforts done by many activists to revive it as positive but they remain failed. Can this ancient sign ever shake off its evil association with it?
This is how symbol which is innocent and sacred in many cultures for thousands years was ruined and Nazis twisted it into a symbol of hatred. It became a really difficult task to revive it as good. Keeping multicultural Swastika ahead many people are trying to eradicate its bad image from the people’s mind. But for those who experienced the horrors of Fascism, the prospect of learning to love the swastika is not so easy.
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