The Swastika. Most people would look at it and understand it to be a symbol of hatred, which is completely correct. Nazis and neo-nazis don a black swastika tilted on its side to encapsulate their beliefs. But that's not all the symbol is. It's actually an ancient symbol with a long history.
The word swastika is a Sanskrit word meaning "well-being". The ends of the swastika point in the four cardinal directions signifying well-being in all those directions. It's commonly used in Hinduism and many other religions/cultures. The oldest one dates back to the end of the last Ice Age.
People all over the world used it from what is now Ukraine to Native Americans to the Indus-Saraswati civilization. Eventually, it died out except in the eastern hemisphere of the world.
In the early 20th century, travelers were inspired by the symbol and it was soon implemented in the west as a good luck symbol. It became very popular very quickly. Coca-Cola used it on their bottles, the Boy Scouts used it, and it was used to advertise other products as well.
Scouting groups in Europe used the swastika as well. In fact, it was so popular around the world that there is a town in Ontario, Canada called Swastika. The United States 45th infantry had Swastikas on their badges and the UK Royal Air Force had it on their planes until right before World War II.
10 Things You Need to Know About the Swastikawww.hafsite.org
The way such a positive symbol became something so negative was due to the Nazis. Hitler's misunderstanding of the word Aryan and the Indo-Aryan migration led to his appropriation of the swastika.
The repulsion towards the swastika that came after World War II was completely justified, and Germany banned it shortly after. The horrors represented by the symbol the Nazis used is disgusting and inexcusable. Anyone perpetuating those values should be harshly punished.
Reclaiming the swastika
Reclaiming the swastikawww.bbc.com
In the Western world, the swastika is synonymous with fascism, but historically it was used as a symbol of good fortune in almost every culture in the world.
Germany attempted to ban the swastika in the EU in 2007 but failed to do so. In 2008, the Hindu-Jewish summit recognized the long positive history of the swastika prior. They came to the mutual conclusion that it is very important in Hinduism and is seen in good light as many temples and Hindus use it often.
There was also an acknowledgment that the Third Reich misappropriated it to commit horrendous crimes. This recognition was an amazing step in the right direction.
The swastika is not only significant to Hinduism, but many other cultures and religions also use variations of it, and it's important to recognize this. Not everyone that has a swastika on their doorstep is a fascist.
Being able to recognize the difference between the Nazi swastika and any other religious and cultural one is so important to move forward in a world of understanding and respect.