Text by Anil Chitrakar

Because the Swastikai  is used as elcetion stamps, it was seen on pamphlets and banners of various parties.

One of the most common symbols that we all saw during the recently concluded elections to the second constituent assembly in Nepal was the Swastika. All the ink stamps used across the country had the Swastika in a circle that every voter dipped in the ink pad and placed it next to the symbol of the party they chose to represent them. The same symbol was used in the pink and blue ballot sheets. A large percentage of the 12.1 million eligible voters cast their votes by using this symbol or seal. The Oxford dictionary says Swastika is a term derived from the Sanskrit word svasti which means well being. “Su” is a prefix which generally means good or auspicious. In the ancient Aryan tradition, the Swastika is a symbol displayed prominently in homes, walls, doorways and even account books and vaults to bring good fortune. It is a mystic symbol and considered sacred and believed to bring good luck by invoking Laxmi – the goddess of wealth. Next time you are near a jewelry shop or gold dealer, look for the Swastika sign. It is also interesting listening to the different answers being given to the tourist by our tour guides as they point at the symbol.

The swastika was adopted by Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany in 1920 and has since become a symbol of far right wing politics, extremism and often violence and intolerance. It became the symbol of the “superior Aryans and their race” and justified cleansing in many forms. Over time it became a symbol of anti Semitism, hatred and violence. Hence it is banned in Germany today and a few other countries. It is not surprising how we are all capable of taking something good and making it bad. The oldest known historical records of the Swastika go back to the Indus valley civilization. Some believe that the symbol became universal as comets, with their tails in the four directions, were seen in the sky in the shape of the Swastika. Carl Sagan and other star gazers endorse this view.

Whatever the correct answer the Swastika is a symbol of the all things good that can come our way. Swastika is also a common first name for many women in Nepal and stands to mean good existence or well being. As a symbol for the goddess of wealth, it definitely means “the one who will bring prosperity”. Some historians believe that the present representation of the Swastika, as we know it, came from the ancient depiction of two serpents in union. In many cultures there are similar symbols that depict the union of two opposites to create the whole. Regardless of the exact understanding or the meaning of the Swastika, nearly ten million Nepali voters have used it to give their mandate to politicians who will give this beautiful country a new constitution, lasting peace and prosperity so that the people of Nepal will not have to suffer any more.