New Jersey, August 12, 2022: In partnership with AKTK Media, the Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) released a new documentary titled “The Silence of Swastika.” Released in English, the powerful thought-provoking documentary explores and sheds light on this multi-faceted sacred symbol that carries varying meanings in different parts of the world.
In the Western milieu, the mere mention of the word “Swastika” can evoke strong sentiments due to its false association with the barbaric persecution and genocide of millions in Nazi Germany. This lingers on even though Hitler never used the term Swastika in his own writings – only the word “Hakenkreuz” (German for “hooked cross”).
On the other hand, over 2 billion people worldwide consider the Swastika a sacred symbol of peace and well-being. This is not an aberration or ignorance of its Western context, but the result of unbroken religious practices and deeply held beliefs ingrained over several thousand years.
What leads to this glaring paradox? The fact is, Western newspapers from a hundred years ago also used the accurate word – Hakenkreuz, to describe the symbol used by the Nazis to strike terror. They even called Hitler’s followers as “Hakenkreuzlers,” echoing the name the Nazis used prolifically in their own materials, including a paper (The Hakenkreuzbanner) they published for 14 years.
“Clearly, there is more than meets the eye in understanding how the narrative was distorted to ensure Hitler’s symbol came to be called the Swastika in the Western world,” said Nikunj Trivedi, President of CoHNA. “We partnered with AKTK to adapt and release their new documentary to shed light on these questions. We hope the documentary can help drive education and conversations on this important topic – as part of an awareness campaign we have been running since 2020. Our effort in no way denies or downplays the horror of the Holocaust or the trauma communities feel even today when faced with reminders of that horrific time.”
The recent spikes in hate crimes have made it even more imperative that we distinguish between sacred symbols and symbols of hate – much like how the Western world has come to differentiate the sacred cross from the burning cross.
The “Silence of Swastika” was first released in Hindi by AKTK Media in December 2021, to a great reception because it asked some difficult, but resounding questions.
“The viewer response to our Hindi version made clear the need to reach global audiences – hence this adaptation. We thank CoHNA for the amazing support and ‘Team Spirit’ with which they collaborated in making the documentary in English,” said Anuj Bharadwaj, Director and Anchor of the film. “The film is for every truth seeker and in some way, we all are the seekers of the truth. We hope this film will help to people differentiate between the Nazi symbol of Hakenkreuz and the Dharmic symbol of Swastika.”
CoHNA as well as several Hindu, Buddhist and Jain organizations have been working to create a better understanding of the Swastika while condemning hatred and bigotry peddled under the Nazi Hakenkreuz against the Jewish, African American and other vulnerable communities.
For additional information and educational materials on the Swastika, please visit https://cohna.org/swastika
CoHNA is a grassroots level advocacy and civil rights organization dedicated to improving the understanding of Hinduism in North America by working on matters related to the Hindu community and by educating the public about Hindu heritage and tradition. For more information, please visit https://cohna.org or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cohnaofficial, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cohnaofficial and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/cohnaofficial.