GEORGE TOWN: A Hindu body has stepped into the controversy over a kavadi bearing a swastika symbol, saying that the sign was banned at Hindu festivities for the past four years.
The association agreed to the ban after a dialogue with Bukit Aman in 2013, said Malaysia Hindu Sangam president Datuk R.S. Mohan.
“We agreed that some gangs used altered religious symbols like the swastika as their emblems.
“The one on the kavadi was modified to look like the much feared symbol of the Nazis,” said Mohan, adding that the original swastika symbol was an embodiment of Lord Ganesha.
He was commenting on the arrest of 20 youths for being involved in the use of the kavadi bearing the symbol on Thaipusam day.
The swastika is found in artefacts dating back to 10,000BC and is the symbol of peace in Hinduism and Buddhism.
Spun counter-clockwise by 45 degrees, however, and it becomes the symbol of Nazism.
According to a 2014 historical feature in BBC Magazine, the Nazis’ use of the swastika stems from the works of 19th Century German scholars who translated old Indian texts and noticed similarities between the German language and Sanskrit.
They concluded that Indians and Germans have a shared ancestry and imagined a race of white god-like warriors they called Aryans.
Nazis then took up the swastika to boost a sense of ancient lineage for their people, and it fast became the global symbol of fear, suppression and extermination.
Mohan urged the police to enforce the ban not only at festivals but in all Hindu practices, because he said the symbol was widely used in funeral processions by certain groups.
George Town OCPD Asst Comm Mior Faridalathrash Wahid assured that police acted within its powers when arresting the youths on Feb 9.