Swastikas are Hindu, You Dolt!

22 09 2007

It never ceases to amaze me how stupid some people are. At first when I read this I thought I might launch into poking a little fun at Zara, I even had a whole “Nazi clothes chain” (“Ve Haf Vays Ov Making Zu Buy”) routine planned out and everything. However, the more I read the story, the more it occured to me that the idiot customer who complained was more to blame. I will grant you, having seen the bags they’re missing the usual dots that the Hindu swastika has, but an equally valid argument can also be made that since they don’t use the Nazi colour scheme they’re no more Nazi than Hindu.

Ultimately the symbol is Hindu (the word is from Sanskrit for Christ’s sake!), the Nazis co-opted it, because the Aryan race Hitler aspired to recreate in Germany actually originated in India, a fact Rachel Hutton would know if she had actually bothered to learn history (I knew the Aryan roots of the swastika long before I studied Nazi history). She is the idiot here, though no different from the rest of the chavs that plague this country.

Looking in context, the bags were made in India, the rest of the motif includes flowers bicycles and, I believe, an animal, and is very “ethnic” in style. How on Earth anyone could say that those bags are “an attempt to legitimize fascism” given all of that is beyond me. Hell I doubt those who designed it even know what the Third Reich was! All this story goes to show is how uneducated the West is about the rest of the world, or how arrogant we are to presume our Western history wipes out the centuries of Eastern history that predates it.


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12 responses

23 09 2007
Pribek

“She is the idiot here, though no different from the rest of the chavs that plague this country.”

Pres, first off; What the hell is a “chav”?

I don’t know that the customer is an idiot. You could make the case that she is ignorant. There may be some idiocy on the part of the retailer for letting the item with the “offensive” symbol on to the shelf. Actually, I think this would be a case of oversight rather than idiocy. The article states that the company is the second largest fashion retailer in the world. It would probably be tough to keep a comprehensive eye on every piece of product that comes through their door.

I don’t think that the problem is education or arrogance regarding world history.

The problem has to do with symbolism and how/why we react to it.

Symbols, by themselves, are benign; all of them. Any meaning that a symbol has, is attached. Further, the attached meaning is a matter of perception. What symbolizes strength and good luck to you may mean facism to someone else.

The real crux of the biscuit is this; For some insane reason we think that if we manage to rid the world of the symbols then, we will stop all of the evil thoughts and deeds.

If we ban the “N” word and fire some guy who says “Nappy headed ho'”, we will end racism. If we rid the world of the swastika, we will stop people from “thinking” like a facist. It’s folly and, in the end, it just gives symbol, the perception, more weight.

There will always be an element that will read “Mein Kampf” or, view Nazi propaganda films, and think that Nazism is a peachy idea. If you attempt to suppress those things, that element will be the only ones to find those things. They will seek those things out.

If you don’t suppress stuff then, you can expose flawed and evil thought; shine the light on it and figure out why it is flawed and evil. But see, that makes us all a little uncomfortable doesn’t it? To analyze bastard thought will require thinking on our part. It will require actually coming to terms with what is truly right and wrong and we don’t want to do that. Better to just get rid of the symbols, sweep them all under the overcrowded, collective rug and remain in a warm and fuzzy state of blissful ignorance.

23 09 2007
andy d

I think the bigger story here is how one complaint made this company withdraw it’s entire line. We are a little to sensitive for our own good anymore. What happened to, “If you don’t like it, don’t buy it??”

23 09 2007
Mr President

Both of you make very good points (hardly surprising, you’re both excellent bloggers in your own right). Whilst I do agree with you, Pribek, my issue is firmly with the idea that the swastika is a Nazi symbol. It isn’t, it belongs to the Hindus and was “stolen” by the Nazis. Hinduism is said to be the world’s oldest religion, and far predates Nazism.

My problem rests with the ignorance of the customer. I would call her an idiot because of the sheer height of her ignorance. I suppose one might say that if she didn’t know the swastika had Hindu roots that says more about the terrible state of the education system (it really is basic rudimentary knowledge, in my view).

However in the era of the internet that argument holds no water. Idiots no longer have an excuse. Poor education standards does not prevent someone doing independent research and learning themselves. People who see such independent learning as “sad” and don’t wish to be seen as “nerds” for doing some have only themselves to blame for failing in life.

You do raise good points, Pribek, and I agree, we do seem to labour under a delusion that eradicating symbols of evil will somehow erase the evil that underpins them but the idea that the swastika is a symbol of evil is quite frankly offensive. I agree that perception is subjective but if in doubt, I’d argue the longer-held interpretation carries more weight.

Your comment brings up some great points that I’d love to discuss in greater detail (perhaps in a future post), and I agree with pretty much all you’ve said, but my issue related purely to the fact that people don’t know that the swastika is a Hindu symbol and yet can name every number one Britney Spears has ever had. I worry for a society run by these people.

Which brings me to your question about chavs. Chav is a derogatory slang word we use in the UK a great deal to refer to uneducated, uncultured, unrefined, antisocial white trash. They’re our equivalent of rednecks.

Andy: Well said. If, as Pribek rightly pointed out, symbols are open to subjective interpretation (and I concur) then surely just one customer complaining should not be sufficient. I agree, we’re far too sensitive for our own good. Of course I would say I suspect they most likely withdrew the line because they feared other complaints might follow and the line might prove to be bad seller anyway with all the negative publicity.

23 09 2007
Pribek

O.K. now, is that Chav whith a Ch… sound like Charlie or, a Sh… sound like shindig.

24 09 2007
Mr President

The former, it’s a “hard” sound, like Chelsea (or Charlie).

24 09 2007
romi41

I was in India last year, and I saw those symbols A LOT…at first I was like “wtf”? (LOL), but then I put 2 and 2 together, and realized that it must’ve meant something different, and that it must’ve originated there…I could have further read up on the thing if I had any interest in educating myself, but I’m done school, and spontaneous education is for suckas! 😉

24 09 2007
Mr President

Who needs spontaneous education when you have such good common sense? You can put 2 and 2 together, unlike some people.

24 09 2007
romi41

You’re awesome; let’s get married 😉

24 09 2007
Mr President

You scare me.

24 09 2007
romi41

Haha, FINE, I’ll put away the voodoo doll 😉

24 09 2007
Mr President

I’m still not marrying you.

7 10 2007
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[…] a hair in sight)? Well, amazingly enough Romi, a woman of such impeccable taste that she wants to marry me (who can blame her really? Sadly I’m way out of her league), has managed to do just that. The […]

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