Hitler’s Hooked Cross is not the Swastika

Hitler’s Hooked Cross is not the Swastika

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Hitler’s Hooked Cross is not the Swastika

To label the Swastika as a symbol of hate would be a grave insult to 1.8 billion Hindus and Buddhists around the world.” - World Hindu Council of America

This counter-petition is in response to the petition initiated by Randy Guzar from Cambridge, Ontario and sponsored by Bryan May (MP, Cambridge, Liberal Caucus) asking to declare the Swastika as a hate symbol associated with the Nazis. Link to this e-petition can be viewed here: https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-3185

Randy Guzar’s petition declares that whereas “the swastika is an odious and hateful symbol most readily associated with the Nazi regime”, a street in Puslinch, Ontario called Swastika Trail should be renamed and “no public place in Canada should be associated with the Swastika.”

 As Hindu Canadians, we would like to assert that the petition by Randy Gulzar and Bryan May is based on misinformation and ignorance about the origin, meaning and cultural understanding of the Swastika word and symbol. Swastika is a Sanskrit word which means “good fortune” or “well-being”. Commonly written in red/orange ink or paint or created out of flowers, it’s a Hindu symbol for peace, prosperity and good omen. The six lines that make the Swastika define ‘infinity’ mathematically. We feel hurt and are concerned by the gross misrepresentation of the Swastika, one of the most sacred symbols for Hindus, Buddhists and Jains around the world. We are vehemently opposed to Randy Guzar and Bryan May’s petition and request that it be immediately withdrawn. Instead, we request the Government of Canada to educate people against such prejudices being directed against Hindu Canadians practicing Sanatan Dharma. Especially students in schools and universities need to learn the difference between the auspicious Hindu Swastika symbol and the “Hooked Cross”, a symbol in Christianity used by Hitler and the Nazis of Germany.

This counter-petition aims to educate fellow Canadians about the Swastika in the hope of fostering awareness and cultural understanding to prevent misunderstanding which has led to hatred towards this sacred Hindu symbol, and by extension towards Hindus. It is important to distinguish between the Swastika and the Hakenkreuz (a German word for the Hooked Cross, a symbol of hatred) and denounce the latter for what it stands for. In his book, Mein Kampf, Hitler clearly explains that the symbol he chose is the Hakenkreuz, the Hooked Cross. The Hooked Cross symbol is distinct from the Swastika, which (along with its equivalents), has been around for thousands of years and is used by many cultures as a symbol of peace, well-being and auspiciousness. Close to 2 billion people use this sacred symbol for good omen when embarking on a new journey.

The Swastika in India is a symbol of extremely non-violent followers of Jainism whose core principles enjoin them not to even hurt a fly. Throughout history, Hindus have never persecuted the Jewish people. They were in fact given refuge,  land and resources to thrive in India. Cochin, a city in Kerala state, is home to one the world’s oldest synagogues. Obviously, the Swastika does not relate to hate, violence and anti-Semitism. We recognize and acknowledge the transgenerational trauma of the six million Jews, one and half million Roma and others killed by Nazi persecution. Hindus and Sikhs have also been the targets of Neo-Nazis and those who support Nazi ideology. Yet, the important work of fighting bigotry and racism must not inadvertently stoke resentment and prejudice against other religious minorities, especially those following  Dharmic traditions that provide highest support to morality taking one to sublime heights. To learn more about the Swastika please read here. https://cohna.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Swastika-Booklet_Web-Quality_Final.pdf

Hindus believe in the fundamental concept of Sanatan Dharma and peaceful co-existence and have never tolerated hatred towards others. On the contrary, Hindus have provided shelter to persecuted communities, including Jews, Zoroastrians, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and others due to their inherent aversion to hatred and violence.

Hindu religious leaders have long deliberated the problematic misuse of the Swastika with prominent leaders of the Jewish faith. At a high profile interfaith conference in 2007, sponsored by the World Council of Religious Leaders, leaders from both sides signed a declaration that states the following:

Svastika is an ancient and greatly auspicious symbol of Hindu tradition. It is inscribed on Hindu temples, ritual alters, entrances, and even account books…The participants recognize that this symbol is, and has been sacred to Hindus for millennia, long before its was misrepresentation. 

 As a matter of fact, the Svastika has nothing to do with the “Hooked Cross” Nazi symbol. This was well understood by prominent German scholars, much before Nazis came into power.

I do not like the use of the word Svastika outside India. It is a word of Indian origin, and has its history and definite meaning in India. I know the temptation is great to transfer names, with which we are familiar, to similar objects which come before us in the course of our researches. But it is a temptation which the true student ought to resist, except, it may be, for the sake of illustration. The mischief arising from the promiscuous use of technical terms is very great.” …the occurrence of such crosses in different parts of the world may or may not point to a common origin. But, if they are once called [Swastika], the vulgus profanum [common masses] will at one jump to the conclusion that they all come from India, and it will take some time to weed out such a prejudice.”  - Philologist Max Mueller, 1880, writing in a letter warning German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann not to associate the Swastika with the latter’s findings of an ancient symbol at Troy.

The Guzar/May petition seeking to declare the Swastika as an ‘odious and hateful symbol’ is deeply hurtful to Hindus across the world, not the least Hindu Canadians. Such misinformation affects children of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist faiths and those of other religions and cultures who have grown up seeing the Swastika being used by their family and friends during religious rituals and celebrations. In addition, such misrepresentations promote prejudice, even hate leading to acts of violence, towards Sanatan Dharma temples and the communities that openly use the symbol in their religious or cultural practices. It is imperative that we educate our fellow Canadians, especially youth, with proper knowledge about world cultures and religions so that mutual respect and pluralism, the cornerstone of the Canadian multi-racial, multi-ethnic and inclusive society, can be preserved, respected and promoted.

#SwastikaIsNotHakenkreuz

Signed by

Ragini Sharma, PhD

Coordinator, Community Outreach

National Alliance of Indo-Canadians

Azad K Kaushik, DSc (Paris)

President, National Alliance of Indo-Canadians

and Resident, Puslinch, N0B 2C0 Ontario

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!