Protect Our National Symbols: Indian Swastika is Not German Hooked Cross!

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We call on you to exercise India’s right to its own meanings and values about our ancient national symbols and cultural heritage in the international sphere.

The Reuters India news agency has trampled on the dignity of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and other Indians and insulted them by choosing to view a Swastika in one of its photos of U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Nikki Haley’s visit to India as a hate symbol and deleting it.

This is more than a private editorial decision, but an assertion of foreign supremacist intent over the people of India. The Swastika in the image was not in anything like a European or American “Hate” context, but in India, where it has always meant only auspicious, peaceful, and inclusive qualities.

We believe the Government of India has a right to convey its citizens’ concerns to foreign organizations that seem to believe India is their playground or punching bag with no voice or agency.

An international news agency that is allowed to operate freely in India has an obligation not only to its professional goals (which is to report accurately and not spread hatred about Indian people’s everyday artistic and cultural environment) but to the people of India whose government allows these companies to operate here.

People should not be shamed and demonized for living their lives peacefully in their own land amidst their own art and heritage. This is merely the latest example of a long and steady assault on truth by irresponsible foreign media organizations that are allowed to profit from India. 

You may be aware, just in terms of the Swastika example, of the many times that people in other countries have been unfairly censured or persecuted by employers, neighbors, and university officials for innocently displaying their own revered symbol in their rooms or on their front doors.

Many innocent symbols of the Indian people like the Sari, Bindi, Shiva Linga, Trishul etc. have also been demonized by scurrilous actors of late. History teaches us that this level of systematic cultural and racial demonization is usually only the beginning of far worse. We should not ignore this danger.

You have yourself acted boldly in the past to discipline an online retailer who was selling a doormat with the Indian flag on it in another country. There are many, many more such examples, from the highest to lowest levels, that need action.

It is time that the government of India steps up to the realities of the media age and asserts its will, vision, and skill in this domain; our security, and prosperity, both depend on our culture being respected and represented truthfully.

We  therefore urge you to set up an independent task force with the goal of drafting a lucid, logical, and truthful CULTURAL SOVEREIGNTY POLICY for the Government of India that will ensure that all foreign entities engaging with India for business will abide by our rules of representation and not seek to impose their motivated propaganda-tainted agendas, from maps and names to the meaning of our symbols.

We urge you to act decisively to stop this scourge of global truth-piracy. The future of India will be secure only when its cultural borders are respected as clearly as its territorial borders. We must always welcome free speech and the global flow of ideas and culture, but not on terms that are blatantly false, imbalanced and potentially seek to poison the nation and her soul. Please help Indians speak for India in the world.