Why Is The Swastika Symbol Often Used As A Sign Of Freedom?

The swastika is often seen as a symbol of art with cumulative meaning that can be used as a medium of expression. A clamp down on self-expression is a clamp down on freedom. Any government that attempts to do that, especially in a democratic setting, is bound to fail.

The rise of the use of the swastika as a sign of freedom further elucidates the complexity of the topic.

“Germany has formulated policies that prohibit the public display of the swastika.”

The swastika has been surfacing more in the United States than in Germany. Following the post-war era, Germany has formulated policies that prohibit the public display of the swastika and all other symbols that represent the Nazis. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned the march that took place recently in Charlottesville, Virginia, calling it racist. She explained that such a thing would not happen in today’s Germany.

America protects the right of neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacists and other groups to hold public rallies and openly express their views. In recent times, some of the public rallies protesting against one policy or another have made use of the swastika as a sign of freedom.

Most people in western nations are having a hard time reconciling the history of the swastika with what it is currently known for today. Western nations, in particular, have trouble associating the swastika with anything besides the Nazis. This robs the swastika symbol of its historic identity.

A few of those who were privileged to witness the true identity of the swastika before the rise of the Nazi regime are still alive.

They will know that the swastika is a symbol of good luck and freedom and will not be afraid to wield it as such in public.

“The subtle push to reclaim the swastika is mostly spearheaded by these groups of people.”

A number of those who are not afraid to display the swastika in public, particularly in Western countries, are those who learned the true meaning of the symbol either through oral tradition or through extensive research. The subtle push to reclaim the swastika is mostly spearheaded by these groups of people.

The swastika has featured in old religions like Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. Ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, Celts and Romans also used the symbol. One thing is certain; if the swastika was as bad as it is currently portrayed as being, it simply would not have endured through time.

No doubt, the meaning of the swastika has suffered a serious blow due to the misguided representation of fact by Adolf Hitler. Another great problem that the swastika has is that it can have different meaning depending on the way it rotates. The clockwise rotation is seen as a symbol of god Vishnu (a Hindu god) while the counterclockwise orientation of swastika is thought to represent Kali.

What we do not fully understand, we scorn. We cannot blame the attitude of those who do not see the swastika as a symbol of freedom especially when it has been used to propagate hatred, racism and the near-annihilation of the Jews.

The Rise Of Swastika Symbols: Any Cause For Concern?

The post-WWI era has seen a desperate attempt to prohibit the public use of the swastika and all other emblems and signs used by the Nazis. The numerous attempts go a long way to show the negativism now surrounding the swastika symbol which was once used for good luck and fortune. When Adolf Hitler hijacked the symbol, it became a unique identity for him and his army. The swastika was embedded on uniforms, boldly flown on the flags and was even used as a marching formation at rallies.

“Its public display can lead to protests or attract spiteful comments.”

Today, whenever the swastika is displayed publicly, it brings back memories that we would much rather forget. Today, the image is seen as a weapon of white supremacist groups. Its public display can lead to protests or attract spiteful comments. The negative reactions are tied to the atrocities Hitler used it to achieve -and they are difficult to erase from history. Hitler misappropriated the symbol enough to erase its true history and identity.

Through the course of history, the swastika symbol has been found in various uncommon places around the world. However, recently there has been a sudden rise in the rate at which the swastika is appearing in public places in the United States. The swastika has been seen around Pennsylvania, Portland, California, New York City and other places. It’s as though the harder the authorities try to crush the symbol, the more intimidating it becomes.

A few months ago, a fashion house, KA Designs, based in a yet to be identified location in Europe has unveiled t-shirts and sweatshirts with the swastika symbol on a rainbow-colored background carrying different inscriptions like “peace” and “wan”.

Most countries around the world now practice democracy where everyone has the right to self-expression and various other unalienable human rights. The rise of the swastika symbol could be a cause for concern. What if another psycho picks it up and tries to replicate the acts of Adolf Hitler? Since it is hard to erase history, the swastika is now seen as a symbol of oppression, particularly in the west. The symbol itself is not really the issue, rather the motive of the symbol bearer. The power and aura that trails the symbol make it a potent tool for scavenging and commanding a large followership.

According to the author of “The Swastika: Symbol Beyond Redemption“, Steven Heller, clamping down on the swastika is not a war that can be won. To extinguish it, you have to brainwash a whole lot of people and if you let it be it will brainwash a lot of people.

Unusual Places Around The World Where The Swastika Has Been Seen

The German archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann, traveled to Ithaca, Greece in 1868 to discover the ancient city of Troy. For several years he roamed the Mediterranean. It was in 1871 that his dream materialized and shot him to fame. Schliemann discovered the city he had been searching for and the swastika on the Aegean coast of Turkey. He had just made an epic discovery that would change the world forever. As he moved from Tibet to Paraguay down to the Gold Coast of Africa, one sight repeated itself -the swastika.

As the popularity of the symbol grew, it began to garner different interpretations.

A Sanskrit scholar, P.R. Sarkar in 1979 said the swastika symbol can have positive and negative meaning, just like any other symbol in the ancient tradition. For example, the pentagram (five-pointed star) is viewed as positive when the apex star is pointing upwards and negative when it is pointing downward. Similarly, the Christian cross symbol can be interpreted as a symbol of Satanism when it’s displayed upside down. In the same way, the swastika with the tips bent to the right is viewed as positive while the ones with the tips bent to the left are viewed as negative. Here are the uncommon places around the world where the swastika has been spotted.

1. Mezine, Ukraine

The earliest swastika to be found was in Mezine, Ukraine. It was carved on an ivory figurine dating back 12,000 years.

t was attributed to the Neolithic culture in Southern Europe, one of the earliest cultures to have used the symbol.

2. Christian Catacombs In Rome

The Christian catacombs in Rome have the swastika symbol next to the word “ZOTIKO ZOTIKO” which translates to mean “life of life”. It is also found on the window overtures of the cryptic Lalibela Rock churches of Ethiopia and a few other churches around the globe.

3. Boy Scouts

The swastika was a prominent symbol used by the Boy Scouts until 1934. It was one of the motifs of the Medal of Merit designed by Robert Baden-Powell in 1922.

It served as a sign of good luck to the recipient.

When the Boy Scouts were asked to suppress the symbol in 1934, it became paramount to design a new medal without the swastika.

4. Coca-Cola

The swastika was so prominent that it used to be a part of the Coca-Cola advertising campaign. Since it had many positive attributes attached to it, using it was a sure attention grabber.

With the rise of the Nazi movement in Germany, even the most benign use of the swastika on emblems was put to an end in the 1930s.

5. Jewish Synagogues

Jewish tombs and synagogues in the Middle East have been found to be decorated with several variations of the swastika.

There is a claim that the tomb of Jesus Christ was also decorated with the swastika.

6. Greeting Cards

Even in modern times, before Adolf Hitler monopolized the symbol, swastikas formed part of greeting card designs. It was also found in different places and items including institutions, lucky coins, company logos and so on.

So far, it is only in Australia that the symbol has not yet been spotted.

7. Buddha School In China

The difference between the swastika that is seen in the Buddha School in China and the one used by the Nazis is that the former uses the version in which the bends are on a right-angle while the latter used a design that was rotated at 45 degrees. The Chinese name for swastika is “wan”.

Reclaiming The Swastika: A New Clothing Brand Wants To Bring Back The Swastika

For many years, the swastika has been used as a symbol of good luck. The word itself is a Sanskrit word with a deeper meaning. When P.R. Sarkar, a Sanskrit scholar visited Germany in 1979, he broke down the word swastika into its different components in a bid to provide a deeper representation of the word. He gave the word the following interpretation: Su -“good”, asti -“to be, to exist”, ik -“what is in existence, and will continue to exist”, a -“denotes a feminine gender”. Hence, “swastika” means “good existence”.

Sarkar explained that the swastika can have both positive and negative expression.

The swastika with the tips bent to the right is considered as positive and is a symbol of victory. The swastika with the tips bent to the left is a negative swastika and can bring total annihilation when it is used. Sakar warns against using the negative swastika.

The work by the Schliemann was soon translated to mean that the German race descended from the Aryans. This was probably one of the reasons why the Nazi party formally adopted the Hakenkreuz as their party symbol in 1920. Since its adoption and the events leading to World War II, the swastika is now seen as a symbol of annihilation and racism. There have been recent clamors to reclaim the swastika’s original meaning. One of the recent attempts was the Hindu-Jewish Leadership Summit in 2008.

A new clothing company based somewhere in Europe, KA Design, has rolled out a series of gray t-shirts and sweatshirts bearing rainbow colored swastikas. According to KA Designs, the swastika on the rainbow-colored background symbolizes the LGBT movement and terms it “the new swastika”. It is clear that the motive was to bring back the swastika but the reception has not been as positive as they might have anticipated.

The gray t-shirts have several slogans on them including “peace”, “zen” and “love”, and a price tag of $20. From early indications, the shirts won’t be selling out anytime soon, no matter the good intentions of the makers.

Is It The Right Time To Reclaim The Swastika?

“KA Designs says they respect everyone’s opinion.”

Answering a related question posed by Dazed, KA Designs said there is no right time to reclaim the swastika or anything at all. They said they were inspired by the aesthetics and shape and had the intention of sharing the symbol’s beauty, without its associated hatred. According to KA Designs, freedom is one of the most fundamental human values which should be a building block for our lives.

When asked how they would feel if their only customers were Nazis, KA Design was sincere and plain in their response. According to them, it doesn’t matter who bought the t-shirts since the main purpose of the project was to generate money.

KA Designs says they respect everyone’s opinion. They also understand the insecurities that many people might have about the product and their intention is not to erase the atrocities committed underneath a symbol from the minds of people. KA Designs believes that anything can be reclaimed as long as it is done through the right means.

The current designs of t-shirts and sweatshirts by KA Designs may not be the last we hear from them as there are ongoing plans for more projects which they have said they will not reveal now. However, they hope to extend their swastika line to more designs and colors while maintaining the current message of peace.

Do you think it is the right time to reclaim swastika or is it a project delving into at all? Tell us your views in the comment box.

8 Things You Need To Know About The Swastika

The swastika means different things to different cultures and religion. To the Jews, it is a symbol of hate and annihilation, while to the Buddhists it is a symbol of good fortune. What many people currently know about the swastika is myopic. The ancient symbol has lots of interesting facts surrounding it. Here are eight of them that you need to know.

1. The Swastika Is One Of The Most Enduring Symbols Used By Humanity

There are different versions of the origin of the swastika. The simple swastika appeared in the Neolithic culture in South Eastern Europe 7,000 years ago, so scholars say. But the oldest known use of the symbol dates back to the end of the last Ice Age. The swastika has been used by the Balkans for at least 8,000 years. Archeological evidence of the Indus-Saraswati civilization shows that the swastika has been in use since 4,000 BCE.

2. The Swastika Resurfaced In The 19th Century In North America And Europe As A Symbol Of Good Luck

Prior to its adoption by the Nazis, the swastika was seen on Coca-Cola and beer bottles. The badges of Boy Scouts in the United States and other scouting groups across Europe had a swastika on them. Up until the rise of the Nazis, the 45th Infantry of the US Army used the swastika as a sleeve insignia in the 1920s.

3. The Long Positive History Of The Swastika Was Reaffirmed In 2008

There was a second Hindu-Jewish Leadership Summit in 2008. One of the resolutions reached at the summit was the reaffirmation of the swastika as a sacred and auspicious symbol. The participants agreed on the ancient significance of the symbol before it was misappropriated.

4. The Four Limbs Of The Swastika Has Symbolic Meanings In Hinduism

The four limbs of the swastika are seen as the four Vedas -Atharvaa, Rig, Sama and Yajur. These are the core Hindu scriptures. They are often translated as the four goals of life: Dharma (right action), Artha (worldly prosperity), Kama (worldly enjoyment), and Moksha (spiritual liberation). Other interpretations of the limbs are the four seasons, the four yugas and the four directions.

5. Hindus Adorn The Entrance To Their Homes With The Swastika

On October 30th, during the Diwali, many Hindu worshippers decorated the front entrance of their homes with a swastika. They either wash off old ones and reapply them or make it a part of their rangoli -a traditional form of art that uses dyed powders, flowers or rice and grains to form a patterned decoration on the ground of courtyards.

6. Different Faiths Originating In India Use The Swastika With Similar Auspicious Meaning

The swastika is not particular to Hinduism alone. It had different significance for different faith traditions in India, although the meanings were somewhat similar. The Buddhists see the swastika as the footprint and heart of Buddha. For the Jains, it is a symbol of the seventh Tirthankara, while the arms signify the four possible places a soul can be reborn in the birth and death circle.

7. The Swastika Represents The Four Natural Elements

If you look at the swastika from a geometric point of view, it takes the shape of an irregular icosagon -or a polygon with 20 sides.

It has been considered a dynamic solar symbol representing the four natural elements: air, earth, fire and water.

8. The Swastika Was A Symbol Of Decoration

Some of the religions or faith groups now identified with the swastika were not in existence during the early history of the symbol. It has been seen on unearthed clay pots and other artifacts which suggest that they may have been used for decorative purposes.

There are other facts surrounding the swastika which you can find here. Having an idea of some of the facts surrounding the symbols will help you to appreciate its use.

Why The History Of The Swastika Should Not Be Erased

The importance of history is the reason why it was introduced into the school curriculum. In the past, the major means of passing down information was through oral tradition. The problem with that medium is that as information moves from one person to another, it tends to get distorted. The recent negative emotions that come with the display of the swastika further lay emphasis on the need to preserve its history.

Today, the swastika symbol means more than one thing. Depending on the region of the world where you reside you might hear a different version of what the swastika means. Recently, it was on the news that a group of Indian scientists led by IIT professors had traced the origin of the swastika back nearly 11,000 years.

This recent discovery shows that Indian civilization might be older than we might have known through history.

So, what do we know about the swastika and how will that knowledge help to dispel the negativism around the use of the symbol today?

The History Of The Swastika As We Know It

“The symbol appears to have been used first by Neolithic Eurasia to represent the movement of the sun in the sky.”

The use of the swastika symbol dates back to more than 5,000 years before Adolf Hitler hijacked it for his National Socialist Party. The word itself is a derivative from Sanskrit word svastika which translates as “good fortune”, “well-being” or “good existence”. Different countries have named the swastika symbol differently, such as manji (Japan), wan (China), hekenkreuz (Germany), tetraskelion or tetra gammadion (Greece) and fylfot (England). The symbol is a cross with the tips bent at a right angle in a clockwise direction.

The symbol appears to have been used first by Neolithic Eurasia to represent the movement of the sun in the sky. It soon became a sacred symbol for Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. Even today, it can be found in temples and other public places in India.

Unlike what is widely known, Adolf Hitler was not the first to use the swastika in Germany. After WWI a good number of nationalist movements had adopted the swastika. At that time, the symbol was associated with a state that was considered as racially pure. Though different cultures at different times have used the swastika symbol, the meaning has remained the same throughout many eras.

One Act Erased The Historical Meaning Of The Swastika

“The swastika has become the symbol of Nazi racial ideology.”

From what we have observed from history, there was never a time at which swastika had a negative meaning to it up until it was adopted by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party. ‘pThat singular act changed the meaning of the symbol forever. Hitler used the symbol in a white circle on a red background to promote his National Socialist Party. His intention was to draw attention to the party -and he did succeed. The rest of the story leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

The swastika has become the symbol of Nazi racial ideology that wanted to eliminate Jews and other races it deemed inferior. Today, the symbol has been banned from public display in several regions of the world. Walking around with a cloth branded with the symbol will raise questions. The swastika has become a symbol of hatred.

Is There Any Hope To Reclaim The Swastika Symbol?

” The Nazi movement, which is barely a century old, erased the history of the swastika that dates back 5,000 years.”

There were many elements to the Nazi propaganda but the swastika symbol is undoubtedly the most iconic. Sadly, as the younger generations have grown, this image of the swastika is what has been handed down. The Nazi movement, which is barely a century old, erased the history of the swastika that dates back 5,000 years.

If the true meaning of the swastika is to be restored, it is important that the history of the symbol be propagated.

People should be taught the true meaning of the swastika as it was used in before it was repurposed by the Nazis.