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Misunderstanding Swastika: The Decades-Long Verbal Battle Continues.

There has been a growing debate surrounding the Swastika of Hinduism in Canada for a long time. Some people have registered their criticism regarding the symbol as a Nazi indication while some have taken it as a religious emblem. In Western countries, the symbol is synonymous with fascism, but in reality,its origin traces back thousands of years and has been used as a symbol of good luck in almost every culture, mostly the Indic ones.

The symbol is sacred and very common among Indic communities such as Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains who have been using the same for millennia. It usually takes the form of a cross with sides of equal length and perpendicular to adjacent sides, each bent in the middle at the right angle.

In the Western world, the symbol was considered to be a reflection of auspiciousness and good fortune until the 1930s, when the Nazi Party of Germany adopted the clockwise form and used it as an emblem of the Aryan race. As a result of World War II, the symbol was strongly associated with Nazism and anti-Semitism in the West and now it became a representing figure of white supremacy. As such, the use of the symbol is legally prohibited in many countries, including Germany. However, in countries with a decent population of people belonging to Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist communities such as India, Nepal, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, China, and Japan, the Swastika remains a spiritual and divine symbol, a symbol of good luck and prosperity.

The decades-long verbal battle about the significance of Swastika has recently been rekindled after an Indian-origin member of the Canadian Parliament delivered a speech calling upon the members of the house and the citizens of the country to distinguish between the Hindu Swastika and the Nazi Hakenkreuz. He shared a video clip of the speech on Twitter.

He said, “On behalf of over one million Canadians of several religious faiths and in particular Hindu-Canadians and as a Hindu-Canadian myself, I call upon members of this house and all Canadians to distinguish between the Hindu religious sacred symbol Swastika and the Nazi symbol of hatred called Hakenkreuz in German or the hooked cross in English.”

“In the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, Swastika means that which brings good luck and well-being,” he added. He reiterated that Swastika should not be equated with the symbol of the Nazi Party which is the symbol of hatred.

He further stated, “Please stop calling the Nazi symbol of hatred as Swastika. We support the ban of the Nazi symbol of hatred Hakenkreuz or the hooked cross. Calling it Swastika is to deny us Hindu-Canadians our religious right and freedom to use our sacred symbol Swastika in our daily life.” Later on, he also submitted a written statement on his speech in the parliament.

Arya is a Member of Parliament from the Nepean constituency of Ontario province. He was elected to represent the Nepean seat in the House of Commons in the 2015 Canadian federal election, and he was re-elected in the 2019 election.

There is a lot of fuss around the debate relating to the Swastika and the Hakenkreuz. Many people and groups often try comparing and equating the Hindu religious symbol with the Nazi symbol even though the two signs are completely different. The Swastika, a sacred emblem for Hindus and many other Indic communities, was originally mentioned in the Vedas. The term ‘swastika’ is made out of the words ‘su’, meaning “good,” and ‘asti,’ meaning “to be.” In other words, bliss. It can be traced back 6,000 years to rock and cave drawings.

Furthermore, the American Jewish Committee, one of the oldest Jewish advocacy organizations in Canada, released a leaflet clarifying the distinction between the Hindu Swastika used for millennia by Indic communities and the deformed Nazi version of it.

In January 2022, the popular Youtube channel ‘Aaj Ki Taza Khabar (AKTK)’ exposed the propaganda surrounding the Hindu Swastika through a documentary. It has shown how Hitler opposed its independence movement by calling people belonging to the Hindu community a ‘low race’. In such a situation, a question was shot: how can a ‘low race’ symbol be adopted by an arrogant like Hitler?

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