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article imageReview: ‘The Story of the Swastika’ Special

By Alexander Baron     Nov 6, 2013 in World
Neasden - This half hour BBC documentary covers the Hindu roots of the swastika, one of the oldest and most misunderstood symbols on the face of this planet.
This documentary is currently on BBC iplayer, but won't be for much longer. Many people will be aware of the long standing association of the swastika with Hinduism and other religions, but this programme contains some interesting information anyway. Its actual origin is, we are told, lost to antiquity.
The team visit the Hindu temple at Neasden, London. There is, predictably, archive footage of that Hitler bloke, and discussion with both Hindus and academics. The programme was released to coincide with Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.
The main thrust of the programme is somewhat different though, it poses the question, can the swastika be rehabilitated? This is really a rhetorical question, one might just as well ask can the Stars And Stripes be rehabilitated after the atrocities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The tens of millions who suffered and died at the hands of communism/socialism in the last century are no obstacle either to the display of the hammer and sickle nor to singing the praises of Comrade Stalin. Clearly the loathing the swastika instills in so many tiny minds is a case of media induced hysteria, one that has if anything grown stronger rather than weaker over the decades.
A couple of inconvenient facts, one of them distinctly amusing, were not mentioned in this programme. Before the First World War at least one Kosher bakery in America used the swastika as a kashrut symbol. And according to the Jewish Chronicle of October 4, 1935, the three Jewish-owned shipping companies of Hamburg flew the swastika flag on their vessels. proudly it seems. Best not to mention the antics of Mel Brooks.
More about Swastika, Diwali, Hinduism, Hitler, Nazi
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