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."