Reprinted from Rediff.com.

Hindus in the United Kingdom have launched a campaign to "redeem" the swastika from its Nazi past and reclaim it as the symbol of life and fortune it once was, reports The Times, London.

A 5,000-year-old symbol that has been used for centuries by Hindus, Buddhists and many other traditions to denote good luck, the swastika has come to symbolize hate, anti-Semitism, violence, death and murder because of the Nazi atrocities, the article said.

Nazi symbols including the swastika are banned in Germany.

"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," The Times said.

Hindus use the right-facing version of the swastika, meaning "sun," as jewelry or on doorways and buildings to bring good fortune, said the article.

"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," The Times said.

According to the article, 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," The Times 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," the article quoted Kallidai as saying.

"Hindus wish to continue to use this symbol as part of their religion, but they risk being labeled 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."
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