Researching the scapegoating

“Hakenkreuz”- NOT Swastika

Mistranslations and misuse of the word and the symbol “Swastika”

Nazi Hakencreuz and Hindu Swastika- there is a difference
Picture courtesy: hindupact.org

Misnomers and mistranslations are rampant in today’s world. Some are benign while some can lead to misunderstandings so great that the result is vandalization and catastrophes. The “Swastika” is one such misnomer deliberately propagated on various media platforms, despite being corrected repeatedly.

Hakenkreuz apparently got translated to Nazi Swastika

When Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf was being translated by James Vincent Murphy into English, he substituted the word Swastika for Hakenkreuz. It’s ironic how the very title of the book Mein Kampf was retained, while the word Hakenkreuz was translated into something that has no connection with it — not even their appearances.

James Vincent Murphy could’ve easily kept the original word instead of being a perfectionist. While translating Hitler’s biography word to word, he seems to have been in a dilemma when he’s met with the term “Hakenkreuz”. It seems to confuse the priest between staying true to his translations or maligning his faith just because of a simple noun.

When he translated the book in the 1930s, India was still a British colony. Hinduism was looked down upon by British leaders. James Vincent Murphy seems to have found the solution to his ordeal in this contemptuous narrative. The blatant use of the word “Swastika” as a translation for a Nazi symbol, clearly reflects an attempt to shift the blame on clueless communities that were colonized for ages. A New York Times article published in March 1933, followed suit as the term “Hooked Cross” seemed too uncomfortable to use because the word was close to “Christian cross”.

What motivated Murphy to call the Hakenkreuz “Swastika” is something that has neither been researched nor debated upon. His sources for proving a connection between the two, other than the subtle similarities between the appearances of the two symbols is never questioned.

Hakenkreuz and media propaganda

It is an irony how “Haken” and “Kreuz” together, are still deliberately translated into “Nazi Swastika” when Swastika has nothing to do with Nazism. The word when broken down into syllables, literally translates to something completely different. Just because Hitler drew inspiration from the term Aryan, doesn’t mean someone gets a free license to use content from scriptures mentioning the word Arya. James Vincent Murphy took the true translation so personally that he felt compelled to insert an unrelated Sanskrit word. This can be reasoned with, given the situation in the 20th century.

haken means hook
Google translate results: Breaking down the syllables
creuz means cross
Google translate results: Convey a completely different meaning

But Google Translator of the 21st century, audaciously making such mistakes is flabbergasting. Doesn’t this mean that the media and some politicians still feel entitled to use the word in different unrelated contexts, as and when they deem it fit, to suit their agendas? The Swastika isn’t anyone’s private property to be brazenly misused like this for spreading hate.

Google translate continues to mislead
Google translate continues the misleading

Adolf Hitler and John Vincent Murphy both are gone. But instead of correcting their mistakes and misnomers, the media and some politicians believe in carrying them forward because it suits their narrative. While keeping their masses in the dark, they continue to malign a symbol considered sacred by more than a billion people following Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. The only purpose this mistranslation serves is to create a deep divide.

It misleads search results, SEOs, and anyone who has access to the internet or such false content. You can do an experiment right here on the Medium search bar. You’ll find only one (and after this two) articles with the tag “Hakenkreuz” but innumerable articles on “Swastika” being a Nazi symbol.

The statements are so deeply flawed that people are finding every possible way to justify that Swastika is indeed a Nazi symbol and not a part of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. So much so that three religions that consider Swastika as a sacred symbol, are being labeled as antisemitic.

Oxford Languages goes to the extent of calling the Hakenkreuz- a “swastika” as if signifying that the Hakenkreuz is not literally a crooked cross but a swastika! Wikipedia callously puts the information about Hakenkreuz under the Swastika article. The former doesn’t even have an article of its own!

Symbols and their effect on the masses

Back in the 9th-grade Civics course, we were taught that the political parties have symbols because it’s feasible for people with no literacy to recognize the political parties while voting in EVMs and ballots. Wrong symbols send wrong messages to people with no education. This quote clearly depicts the power of symbols-

A picture speaks a thousand words

People with a large following or speaking on a public platform can sway the masses. When the media misleads such high-profile people with misinformation, they in turn deceive the common people who look up to these influencers and politicians.

It’s even more despicable when the high-profile individual in concern knows the facts well, but still voluntarily ignores them while deliberately continuing to propagate falsehood. If not them, then we need to remember that such people have a responsibility. And question the perspectives being fed to us.

It was surprising to see how the search results for the German version of Mein Kampf had only “Hakenkreuz” everywhere while the English version had “Swastika”. No signs of the opposite (not even the spellings, svastika, swastica, or “svastica” as mentioned in this Italian article). Planning to go through both versions more thoroughly once time permits.

Swastika is not only an auspicious symbol but is also used as a Hindu female name. There are entire chapters dedicated to it in the Vedas. My earnest request to anyone reading this would be to research and cross-check the dates, years, words, mentions of controversial words, backgrounds of authors, original works, and translations.

This dirt has been maliciously thrown for too long despite repeated corrections. Please go farther down the search pages rather than clicking the SEO-powered links before you label the Hindu Swastika as antisemitic instead of the original Nazi Hakenkreuz.

References:

Mein Kampf — unabridged English translation by James Vincent Murphy

Mein Kampf in German

The Buddhist Swastika and Hitler’s Cross by Rev Dr. T K Nakagaki

Panel discussion organized by Rev. Dr. T K Nakagaki

Swastik in Jainism

Article from Young Jains of America (YJA)

1938 Nazi photo magazine Heimatland- Hitler’s Homeland

Benediktinerstift Lambach im Dritten Reich 1938–1945

Swastika Education & Awareness Campaigns:

https://cohna.org/swastika/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WT6y0bNEpJg&t=1076s

Thank you for your time!

--

--

--

News and ideas worthy of discourse. Fundamentally informative and intelligently analytical.

Recommended from Medium

Different Level of “Pursuits”

Bring In The Funk

What could be the possible cause of a third world war?

Globalization and the West

The rich history of the J. F. Archibald Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park

The UAV Drone Market

Modernizing Libraries to Accommodate Communities and Bibliophiles Alike

8 Reasons the United States Became Independent from Britain

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Dr. Shruti

Dr. Shruti

Junior doctor (MBBS)

More from Medium

OMG! GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) Are Escaping!

I Spent the Last 50 Years Fighting My Own Battles With Hate

Steel pipe with sticker “Love Begets Love Hate Begets Hate”.

Read To Get The News, Watch TV To Be Entertained

Prince William Vs Prince Harry: A Modern Day Cain and Abel?