Thursday, November 08, 2007

Not what you think!

I guess it shouldn't, but it surprises me no end that so many Westerners only think of swastikas in connection with Nazi Germany. Hitler, I think, thought it was some mythical Aryan symbol. And as any Indian schoolchild knows, the Aryans came to India. [In fact, many 19th century Hindu reformers started referring to the main religion of India as the Aryadharama] Wikipedia is quite expansive on the various uses of the symbol.

And with Diwali this week, one will see swastiks everywhere in India, as this photo shows. [Image from the Times of India website.]


Zadok the Roman said...

I've come across a couple of Italian Churches where swastikas form part of the decoration. I remember one Chapel built before the rise of the Nazi party which is decorated with anti-clockwise swastikas, and I've seen a swastika carpet (!!!) in a side chapel in the cathedral in Assisi.

Gashwin said...

If you Wikepedia "swastika" there's a couple of photos on the right of the symbol being used in Christian churches -- such as on the floor of the Cathedral of Chartres. I had no idea that it enjoyed such widespread use.