Thursday, January 20, 2005

Reclaim the swastika

Proof that life in a multicultural society is more complicated than the average politician grasps comes in the form of this report from the Scotsman:

The Hindu Council UK today called on all MPs and MEPs to oppose a proposed EU move to ban the swastika symbol because of its Nazi associations.

The council is urging politicians to fight the move as the symbol has been used for thousands of years and for Hindus represents a highly-sacred sign of wisdom

I am reminded of an incident when I was a governor of a primary school here in Market Harborough. ("I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.") The children went on an outing to a Hindu temple in Leicester and were given coconuts carved with sacred symbols as presents. They had to go home with letters to their parents reassuring them that they had not been to a meeting of the BNP.

There must also have been a vogue for the swastika in Britain in the early 20th century. The standard edition of the works of Rudyard Kipling had it stamped on the spine. Indeed, Kipling seems to have adopted it as a sort of personal logo. (That's wasn't funny. See me afterwards, Eagleton.) See this article for further details.

And, ironically given Prince Harry's recent idiocy, if you go to Balmoral Castle and inspect the memorial to estate workers who died in the First World War (my kinsmen among them, almost certainly) that stands just outside the gates, you will find that it is heavily decorated with swastikas. There is a small picture of the whole memorial on this page and a clearer one of the decoration here.

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