INDIAN-NESS · MUSINGS

What’s in the “SYMBOL”?

This is a TRUE STORY which happened few years ago, when we lived in downtown.

Seema and her husband Ravi lived in the same apartment complex, facing the river Mississippi, as ours. Seema was newly married and had just arrived from India. She had no idea about the norms and regulations about living in the US!

Usually, in India, every morning, women clean the front porch of their houses and apply rangoli (designs using chalk powder). It is an age old tradition which has been practiced in India since ages. Having no clue, Seema set out to replicate the same thing in front of her apartment door. For Rangoli design, she drew a Hindu Swastika using red chalk.

Sacred Hindu Swastika
Sacred Hindu Swastika

Swastika has been a sacred auspicious HINDU symbol since eons ago, which symbolizes “Prosperity”, “Sacredness” and “Good fortune”. Co-incidentally, this symbol was used by the Nazi army  which symbolizes “terror”, “hatred” and “death” to the Jews. Nazi influence of this symbol has overshadowed the HINDU influence of this auspicious symbol in the West.

Hindu swastika is Red in color and has Red dots inside each opened square; whereas, Nazi army used Black swastika. A quick look at the swastika will surely tell you the difference; but you need to be educated enough to differentiate one from another.

Unfortunately, a Jew lived in the apartment above Seema. He happened to notice the red swastika in front of Seema’s front door and immediately jumped to the conclusion that they were Nazis. He freaked out and informed the cops about it. Within minutes, the cops arrived, knocking the front door of Seema’s apartment. She was baffled to see the cops questioning her all about red swastika. She tried her level best to convince that it was auspicious  HINDU symbol and had nothing to do with Nazis, but all her efforts went in vain. The news spread like wildfire and television news crew landed at her apartment to catch the glimpse of these “so called Nazis”!

Finally, Seema devised a plan to use Google, Wikipedia and Google images to convince the cops that Red Swastika was auspicious HINDU symbol.

Why am I blogging about this incident now, when this happened five years ago? -Yesterday,I came across a news  article about a student in US being suspended from his university, for placing a souvenir containing Hindu Swastika on the college’s bulletin board!

News article: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article7252419.ece 

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