Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah
(Image source: Big Dick Energy Coaching)
- In February 2022, Big Dick Energy Coaching, a Surrey (British Columbia, Canada) based company was under fire for inappropriately using the Hindu deity Lord Ganesha in its logo. Its services included “Relationship & Passion Management” package of four sessions priced at $1500. The India Cultural Association of Vancouver launched a petition on this issue on change.org. “The business owner was approached on social media by a large number of individuals requesting to change the logo/symbol or remove the derogatory words; to no avail. The business owner clearly acknowledged that it was Lord Ganesha and refused to make any changes. The person is not willing to remove the picture from her logo or change the wording beneath” —the petition said. Fast forward to May 2022, and we see that the website continues to have the same image on its homepage.
- In May 2021, American celebrity, socialite, and actress Kim Kardashian trivialized the highly venerated Om symbol by donning it for one of her photoshoots. Hindus, the world over, wear Om pendants but here it was worn as a fashion accessory for a one-time photo shoot for commercial use. Kim posted the photos on her Twitter account which received some backlash on social media.
- In April 2021, a Bristol, England headquartered clothing brand “Wild Thing” came up with the “Kali Costume” for Halloween priced at £480, and the product description read: “Be the Queen of Halloween in this epic Kali Costume.” After the community objected to this sacrilegious appropriation, the company withdrew the product and apologized for hurting the sentiments of Hindus.
- In March 2021, a French brewery and restaurant “Brasserie du Gobelet” launched the “Shiva beer” (5.4% Vol, IPA) and displayed Lord Shiva’s image on the bottle. When Nevada-based Hindu community leader Rajan Zed, who works vigilantly in all such cases of religious and cultural appropriation, came to know about it he wrote to the brewery asking the owners to stop labeling it as “Shiva beer” and apologize. As in so many of these cases, nothing came of it. Albeit an online search of the brewery’s website today leads to a dead-end – maybe Shiva’s wrath?
Be it the Chattanooga, Tennessee based “My Mat My Mantra” company or the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia’s yoga mat firm “Enlightened Koala” both of which launched yoga mat stickers carrying images of Lord Ganesha or the Stirling, New Jersey based online body jewelry company “RebelBod’s” Lord Ganesha belly button rings, and Brooklyn, New York headquartered e-commerce company Etsy’s Goddess Kali t-shirt displaying an image of Kali with blood and human skulls – we have examples galore about businesses and individuals using and abusing Hindu symbols and deities, and disrespecting, trivializing, or ridiculing Sanatana Dharma and its followers.
A simple search for “Shiva” on profile.pintplease.com throws up eight “India Pale Ale” results. An ale labeled “Boom Shiva” even has a graphic of the Hindu god. A couple of years ago a supermarket in Germany came up with “Saraswati Premium Dry Gin”. Celebrities such as Beyonce, Katy Perry, and Miley Cyrus have conveniently appropriated Hindu religious symbols such as bindis or more recently feigned ignorance à la Sarah Jessica Parker.
However, nothing matches the most unconscionable appropriation of a Hindu symbol ever – the Swastika – which now symbolizes Nazi evil. Despite many careful analyses and commentaries pointing out that the Nazi symbol is actually that of a Hakenkreuz, and not the Swastika, there is no let up by both Jews and the many ignorant policymakers and politicians worldwide who want to show their love of Jews by wanting to ban the Swastika as a symbol of hate and genocide!
Author Rakesh Krishnan Simha in India Facts article “Lost in Mistranslation: Why the Hindu Swastika is nothing like the German Hakenkreuz” reveals how the appropriation of the Swastika was no accident:
So how did the Swastika become synonymous with Hitler’s Hakenkreuz? The credit for this linguistic fraud goes to Irish Catholic priest James Vincent Murphy, who in 1939 published the first complete English translations of Mein Kampf.
Simha offers excerpts from Chapter 7 to illustrate how Murphy wrongly and intentionally used “Swastika” where Hitler used “Hakenkreuz.”
Simha concludes that “Christian elements in the West in cahoots with their leftist media have done a propaganda coup that any KGB, Mossad or CIA agent would be proud of. They have taken a beautiful symbol of goodness and tied it to arguably the second most evil empire (after the British Empire) in history. This cabal needs to be fought and defeated because the Swastika is an ancient Indo-European symbol that is an inalienable aspect of the ancient tradition of not just India, but Japan, Ukraine, Ireland, England and dozens of other countries. In fact, the oldest Swastikas found have been in Ukraine and India – both over 11,000 years old.”
Adolf Hitler adopted the Hakenkreuz as the official national symbol in 1920 but a century later the misrepresentation continues to haunt Hindus. As recently as during the national emergency imposed in Canada on the heels of the “Freedom Convoy” by protesting truckers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and MP Jagmeet Singh stirred a hornet’s nest by lashing out at protestors “waving Swastika flags.”
Unlike in the past, “propaganda” and “misrepresentation” is no longer one-way street. Media and more so social media are powerful tools nowadays to voice objections and to inform and educate people. It is high time that Hindus – be they practicing Hindus or atheists following the “Hindu way of life” — shed their apathy and take to whichever media available to them, unite, and oppose these Western impositions, misuse, abuse, and mischief.
Had it not been the case, a New York State Senate Bill sponsored by Senator Todd Kaminsky (D) 9th Senate District and co-sponsored by Senators Joseph Addabbo Jr (D) 15th Senate District, Alessandra Biaggi (D, WF) 34th Senate District, John Brooks (D) 8th Senate District, and David Carlucci (D) 38th Senate District would have had New York school children learning about the Swastika as a symbol of hatred and intolerance. A group of vigilant Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, lawmakers, and community leaders joined efforts to oppose the bill and were successful in having the “Hate Sign” Bill shelved.
What is appalling though, in all the above-mentioned cases, is the absolute disregard for a religion, a people, and a culture that have stood as a testament to human wisdom and peaceful coexistence. This rotten mentality, which is a direct product of supremacist and monopolist Abrahamic religions, has ensured the continuation of the cultural hegemony of the West perpetuated for centuries through colonization. While the times have changed the deep-rooted parochial mindset has not.
Appropriating anything and everything that can help them further their cultural, mercantile, and supremacist goals continues to be their calling card, and bearing the brunt of their ignorance and their callous disregard for others is Vedic Hindu culture which has always been open and accommodating.
We Hindus have not wielded the machete nor the gun, as Muslims worldwide have done, in response to the blasphemies and sacrileges nor have we pumped billions of dollars into converting the supremacists to Hinduism. It is therefore high time Hindus stood up for themselves, on every forum, in every country, in every neighborhood, and called out these acts of sacrilege, seduction, and abuse. Educating others about our dharma is one part but if peaceful protests/complaints are not heard, we should not shy away from taking the legal route either. That’s the least we can do.
Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of any information in this article.
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