The origins of the Swastika
This article isn't written to enhance the figure of Adolf Hitler and of the National Socialism but to explain what's behind that symbol that represents the slaughter of millions of people and one of the most destructive wars on Earth.
In many Western countries, the swastika has been highly stigmatized because of its use in and association with Nazism.
Symbols are important, if I get a tattoo with a symbol means that I believe in that symbol, so I believe in the idea that the symbol represents so what if I get a tatttoo of a swastika? If it is in a visible part of my body probably will give me problems because people will think I'm an evil racist, probably I will also have problem in finding a job, an example is the recent story of Sky Sport Italia that suspended Paolo Di Canio after he wore a polo shirt and his tattoo "DVX" was visible.
But what if people would really know what that symbol means and its real story?
Fernie Swastikas, a canadese women's hockey team (1922)
The insignia of the Finnish Air Force has been the swastika from 1918 to 1945
On August 7th 1920, at the Salzburg Congress, the red flag became the official emblem of the Nazi Party, transforming a symbol of life and fortune into one of the most hated symbols in human history.
Adolf Hitler wrote in the Mein Kampf:
"I myself, meanwhile, after innumerable attempts, had laid down a final form; a flag with a red background, a white disk, and a black swastika in the middle.
After long trials I also found a definite proportion between the size of the flag and the size of the white disk, as well as the shape and thickness of the swastika."
When Hitler created a flag for the Nazi Party, he wanted to incorporate both the swastika and "those revered colors expressive of our homage to the glorious past and which once brought so much honor to the German nation."
Red, white, and black were the colors of the flag of the old German Empire.
After the Nazi Party seized power on 30 January 1933, the black-red-gold flag was swiftly scrapped; a ruling on 12 March established two legal national flags: the reintroduced black-white-red imperial tricolour and the flag of the Nazi Party.
From 1935 when Hitler become Führer, the dual flag arrangement was ended and the Nazi flag become the national flag of Germany.
In 2007 Germany proposed to extend the ban of the swastika across Europe.
This led to an opposition campaign by Hindu groups across Europe against a ban on the swastika. Does this mean that the indian community is nazist? No, They pointed out that the swastika has been around for 5,000 years as a symbol of peace so the ban wasn't extended to Europe.
The swastika is an ancient religious symbol still used in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism as a symbol of peace and continuity and dates back atleast 11,000 years.
A Sanskrit scholar P. R. Sarkar in 1979 said that the deeper meaning of the word is "Permanent Victory". He also said that as any symbol it can have positive and negative meaning depending on how it is drawn. So in Hinduism, the right-hand swastika is a symbol of the God Vishnu and the Sun, while the left-hand swastika is a symbol of Kali and Magic. The double meaning of symbols is common in ancient traditions, like for example the symbol of the pentagram.
The name swastika comes from the Sanskrit word svastika (Devanāgarī: स्वस्तिक), meaning "lucky or auspicious object".
It is composed of su- meaning "good, well" and asti "it is", which form the word svasti, meaning good health or good fortune; the added suffix ka forms an abstract noun, and svastika can be translated literally as "that which is associated with well-being", corresponding to "lucky charm" or "thing that is auspicious"
The genesis of the swastika symbol is often treated in conjunction with cross symbols in general, such as the sun cross of pagan Bronze Age religion. Beyond its certain presence in the "proto-writing" symbol systems, such as the Vinca script, which appeared during the Neolithic, nothing certain is known about the symbol's origin.
There are plenty if hypothesis about its meaning, some say that it symbolizes the sun, some that the four arms of the cross represent the four aspects of the nature: fire, wind, water and soil, some that the four arms are the four season, the Hindus represent it as the Universe in our own spiral galaxy in the fore finger of Lord Vishnu.
According to Reza Assasi, the swastika is a geometric pattern in the sky representing the north ecliptic pole centred to Zeta Draconis.
He argues that this primitive astrological symbol was later called the four-horse chariot of Mithra in ancient Iran and represented the centre of Ecliptic in the star map and also demonstrates that in Iranian mythology, the cosmos was believed to be pulled by four heavenly horses revolving around a fixed centre on clockwise direction possibly because of a geocentric understanding of an astronomical phenomenon called axial precession.
He suggests that this notion was transmitted to the west and flourished in Roman mithraism in which this symbol appears in Mithraic iconography and astrological representations.
Swastika in Iran: Jameh Mosque (11th century)
Swastika in Buddism (Buddha statue in Hong Kong)
Let's see a few examples of use of the swastika in History before and after this symbol was connected to evil, genocideand war crimes.
All these organizations didn't have nothing to do with nazism but they adopted the swastika as a symbol:
The symbol for the 45th Infantry Division of the United States Army, before the 1930s, was a red square with a yellow swastika, a tribute to the large Native American population in the southwestern United States.
The swastika symbol was used by the Lotta Svärd a Finnish women’s paramilitary organization from Finland.
The right-hand Swastika is one of the one-hundred-and-eight symbols of the Hindu god Vishnu.
The Finnish air force uses the Swastika symbol as an emblem.
Latvia airforce used swastika as a symbol
Latvian Army, National Guard 22nd Infantry Battalion
The Swastika symbol appeared on Greek pottery around 700 B.C., archaeologists estimate that it appeared earlier in Troy.
Native American Indians have used the Swastika symbol for hundreds of years.
In Asia, many business organizations use the Swastika symbol officially; for example the Ahmedabad Stock Exchange and the Nepal Chamber of Commerce use it
The collar of the Order of the White Rose of Finland had 9 swastikas replaced by fir crosses in 1963.
The traditional symbols of the Podhale Rifles include the edelweiss flower and the Mountain Cross, a swastika symbol popular in folk culture of the Polish mountainous regions.
The town of Swastika, Ontario, Canada is named after the symbol.
Swastika is also present in the Diwali, the "festival of lights" which is an ancient Hindu festival.
Swastika as a symbol of the American 45th Division during WWI
Latvian Army, National Guard 22nd Infantry Battalion
The Latvian Gladiator (1937-1938)
Would be fair is we could also learn this at school, so we would not be scared if we see somebody with a tattoo of a swastika, a swastika in an indian house or around the world in temples and statues.
We all have been brainwashed since we were kids thinking that this symbol of life and peace is only a symbol of war and death.