12.21.2009

Now I've Seen It All...

I see this symbol every day. Everywhere I turn it's glaring back at me... on buildings, autos, street signs. And while I understand that this symbol in India doesn't represent the same thing as it did to the neo-Nazi groups, it's still somewhat disconcerting to see. It still makes me uncomfortable.

Today in my local grocery market I saw this on the floor and couldn't help but snap a photo. No joke... this is what people are buying for Christmas!


24 comments:

Teresa said...

It really bothers me too.

Jennifer said...
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Danie said...

Even knowing the real meaning of this symbol--it's still disturbs me when I see it, even if it is in a non-evil way. It's a tough one to shake off, that's for sure.

Christy said...

Oh that really bothers me too. UGH. So sorry you have to see that stuff on a regular basis. I need to click on those links when I have time because I had no idea that symbol was in use ANYWHERE in the world anymore. Strange.

American in Norway said...

: ( .... Do the indians not get what this symbol means to the rest of the world? I realize it isn't the same thing...but maybe we could find a new good luck symbol?

Ramit said...

I'm sorry you guys! It's an ancient Indian tradition. We had it first.

And its not just a good luck symbol. It stand for a healthy new beginning. It shows solidarity. It stands for God's blessings to a new venture, business, job, day, marriage, whatever.

If you are going to google this symbol to find out what it means to us Indians, try to google Lord Ganesha too. They are synonymous.

I'm really sorry again. But we cannot change it. I really wish I could, if it could make you feel any better, but none of us is God.

-MissC* said...

I don't know why but this reminds me of when I met someone from Australia and they told me how Xmas without sun and BBQ's was just the weirdest thing in the world to them! She couldn't comprehend snow and xmas sweaters.
This is the same thing. Different cultures have different meanings. To me It's nice knowing that something horrible to us has a good meaning elsewhere...and not only that...but that it was a beautiful symbol way before someone twisted it.

Mom24 said...

Unflippingbelieveable. Scary too.

I can't even imagine. I am so sorry that there are people in the world that think that would be something they would want to see let alone buy. Wow.

Jen said...

Unbelievable.

Kathy said...

I never knew that symbol had another meaning....what a shame for something that was meant to be beautiful was used for something so evil.

This is my first visit to your blog, but I will be back.

vandana said...

The swastika of evil was Black in colour wasn't it ? Hindu Swastika is red as red colour is considered auspicious in both, Hindu & Chinese cultures. buddhist temples also use this symbol as it is an ancient one, far older than even the symbol of the cross and which hitler defamed as an Aryan symbol.

Jennifer said...
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Kat said...

Oh boy. That would make me uncomfortable even if it doesn't mean the same thing.

Sara said...

I too hate that something peaceful was taken and made into a symbol of something so horrible. I'm sorry you have to see that Jill.

Noelle said...

I have to agree with Ramit. I'm sorry it's so painful for you, but I look at it this way. Imagine if an evil group hijacked a symbol of your religion (cross, star of David, moon and star, whatever), and used it to commit terrible crimes, without any involvement from your religion. Would you stop using that symbol?

shaan said...
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shaan said...

If some murderer hijacks the cross as his own and kills a million how will you feel? Will you desert the cross because of this? India though not a party to the war, sent hundreds of thousands of its brave men to fight the Nazis. But Indians in general are unaware of the fact that the Swastika was (mis)used by Nazis and oblivious to the reaction it invokes with Westerners. In fact it was hurting a little for us when Microsoft removed the Swastika symbol from its Wingding fonts, as it is a religious and cultural symbol in the whole subcontinent. I think the West has to appreciate the cultural significance of the Swastika to Indians and only prevent its misuse by neo-Nazi groups in the West. After all when you have accepted the German people as victims of the Nazis, it should not be difficult to recognize the fact that the Swastika symbol and the word 'Aryan' too are victims of the Nazis.

ps: Even the star of David was and is used in India. See this page about the Indian (Tamil) religious/cultural art of Kolam - Mettur.com

shaan said...

Swastika and star of David go hand in hand in India - Check this

catsynth said...

This is always an "interesting" symbol for folks like me who are of both Hindu Indian and Jewish descent.

It is certainly true that swastika in India and other parts of Asia far predates the Nazi's and does carry a positive "good fortune" meaning. I wouldn't expect Indians to change it - though I wish it was used as an opportunity for a more sober reflection on contemporary Indian culture. In the hands of Hindu nationalists, some of these symbols can become hateful.

shaan said...

There are so many symbols associated with Hinduism for the so called Hindu nationalists to use. They don't have to use the Swastika or the star of David (though they are public admirers of Israel).

The Muslims invaded India and razed thousands of temples across India and killed thousands but we have not started hating the crescent. Nor do we hate the Union Jack for the reason that it was the flag of the oppressor. Sure, the Union Jack was hated before independence but today nobody cares about it.

honeybeeluvsjackfruit said...

I can understand the "gut" reaction you have... but I agree with Miss C and Noelle that you can also see things from other points of view.

We don't have to 'imagine' if someone stole the cross symbol and used it for something evil. They did. Remember the KKK???? Burning crosses? Hanging black people?? Therefore, should we ban the use of the cross symbol? Not only in USA, but apparently, the whole WORLD should no longer use that symbol. Because its highly offensive to some (and its intention should be offensive to all). Or what if Hitler himself had chosen the cross as his symbol? Well, Im sure you get what I mean.

Anyway, Happy New Year!

karey m. said...

ohmygod. i totally snorted.

what the?!

Blue Floppy Hat said...
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Blue Floppy Hat said...

I'm not Hindu, but I am Indian, and the simple fact is that the swastika has been a Hindu religious symbol for thousands of years (particularly in North India- I don't see too much of it down south), long before the Nazis decided to twist its meaning around to what the Judeo-Christian world seems to know it as today. Besides, the Holocaust just doesn't have the same large-scale emotional pull on Indians as it does on Europeans, Americans and Israelis, partly because the Jewish community in India is so miniscule today and wasn't affected by Nazi policy quite the way people in Europe were.


In addition to this, it's unfair to expect people to abandon something that is a part of their culture purely because people who weren't a part of that culture decided to co-opt and pervert it ( the Nazi swastika had its arms turned a different way).
I'm sorry you feel uncomfortable looking at the symbol, but please do try to understand that the meaning ascribed to it over the last sixty-odd years is not the meaning it has for people here. I mean, I'm sure you do, but it makes me sad to see clueless people going 'WTF?' at it.

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