Om morphing into the Swastika by Awaaz Network was eloquent

ModiNotWelcome Awaaz Netowrk campaign projected this poster on the UK Parliament

With Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi due to arrive in the UK, protesters of the Awaaz Network projected an image of Modi holding a sword with an “Om morphing into the Swastika” next to him. This has triggered a lot of outrage and offended feelings among many.

I see it as missing the woods for the trees. I am reminded of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons with their black humor that can show an innocent Syrian refugee child, one of many Syrian refugees no one wants, washed up on the beach, dead just short of reaching safer shores while a MacDonald’s poster beckons garishly. Black humor it is called. No one took joy from seeing that innocent dead there in the middle of an otherwise beautiful photograph. No one enjoyed being reminded about it by a cartoon.

Today, there are those who look at the Om morphing into a Swastika and are going into eloquent flights of offense taken. On behalf of “Hindus who revere the symbol”, of course, rather than saying “that offended me”. As though those doing it were not Hindus with their own sentiments about the symbols – whatever they may be. I think, like that cartoon, the poster that Awaaz Network projected on the British Parliament is a description of reality.

This is what is happening today. People’s faith is indeed being morphed into something dark. That is how from revering and worshiping a cow, our “faith” is manifesting as lynchings. That is how countless people with Hindu beliefs are being harnessed to power a political movement. That is how countless people are being conditioned to defend symbols and prevent “offences” to them – EVEN AS THEY OPPOSE THOSE DOING THE CONDITIONING.

The obscenity is not in stating it, the obscenity is in doing it. The poster merely points out that this is happening. I don’t think anyone at all missed the meaning of the poster. In choosing to fixate on the specific use of the symbol and delegitimizing its use, we see even those normally opposed to Modi in effect implying “no, he isn’t that bad”. Because that is what it amounts to, to object to that poster.

Finally, in an atmosphere of overabundance of religious touchiness in India, I would say that even if it actually were an insult, a little responsibility would be welcome in not encouraging a wider audience to learn to take offence.

There is a need to recognize that taking offence is also contagious. When you are supposedly spreading tolerance, the constant stimulation of noticing intolerance will trigger touchiness in the same way one on a diet at a food festival may be tempted to try something that they wouldn’t normally. It is up to the evolved mind to recognize where strong emotions arise from, and determine how they may be expressed without being sucked into a game you claim to oppose.

This is not to say that one may not have unfavorable opinions, but the independent mind should attempt to be relatively free of knee jerk reactions triggered by provocation. There are a million ways to object and yet, we find supposedly liberal people providing reasons that are not all that different from those who habitually react with disapproval to perceived insult to religions.

With the same result, probably the reason Awaaz Network chose to project this. It got a lot more attention and triggered a lot more discussion than the average anti-Modi content. Because it speaks an unpleasant truth. A truth that is so unpleasant, that many would shy of voicing it even in criticism. And those who disapprove, as usual, provided it the power to reach more people.

When you don’t understand, you react.

When you understand, you respond.


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5 thoughts on “Om morphing into the Swastika by Awaaz Network was eloquent”


    hi , u have my support . but i must say i share this page in my fb account where i work for a disclosure project and sharing true story and informations…. .yesterday 12/11/15 they block my account temporarly for decide “what to do with me ” … . I put an article on B’NAI B’IRTH and correlated materials about MONKEY TEMPLE and indian world indoctrination and the connections with th nazi in WW2…. .i was really working with heart for everyone, for free. i was sharing the current world situation and any intelligent life hacking. I NEVER PUBLISH ILLEGAL OR PORN/SPAM/CRAZY material. I usually take EXTERNAL LINKS i choose for make a compilation of informations can make THINK the user who visit my page with my own view of the facts and eventually share idea and informations. im contacting you because we need a change. INTERNET is our best tool. is the future of information and knowledge . WE MUST FIGHT FOR FREE INFORMATIONS AND A FREE INTERNET. WE WANT BIG BROTHER UNPLUGGED! AND RIGHTS FOR n light.

  2. Yes the organisation is free to do whatever & has shown the Indian image in bad taste & light. When there is wide spread discontent among Hindus of portraying OM sign as Swastik which symbolises Nazi rule & Jews persecution. Author talks about spreading tolerance & seeks people to be open & accept it. In fact author says it is done eloquently. Why is it that eloquence & the sweet tongue of tolerance sermon always rubbed on Hindus only ? When Charlie H incident occurred I have seen the very intellectual class of people saying people should know the limit of humour it should not offend religious sentiments of other. In fact The Hindu newspapers which displayed the pics had apologised next day. Now when Hindus get offended by such display of a religious symbols the author tries to seek acceptance & tries to justify as black humour. The author didn’t have courage to say anything criticising the act then because of the reasons best known to her. I bet now that the elections are over none of the Journalists including the author or media houses will discuss about Returning of Awards, Dadri lynching, beef ban or intolerance because they have served their purpose. The article is clear display of authors bias and she is paid journalist or a news trader.

    1. I am not the entire world’s nanny. I have spoken up in support of Charlie Hebdo as well. Among many other criticisms. It is time you stop whining and see that it isn’t defending Hinduism to point at other religions. “Less worse” isn’t “good”, it is merely an extremely low standard to say as long as I can find something worse, let me not acknowledge that this is bad.

    2. Dear Mr. Raimohan,

      With all due respect to your opinion and while I do consider “Awaaz network’s” poster as insulting and rather an opportunistic move to shame the nation and build their brand , I sincerely regret that you come to a conclusion so quickly and brand anyone having an opinion different from yours as “paid”. I am outraged at this speed of giving a verdict on someone’s writing as biased and it doesn’t show you in good light.

      I certainly think you could differ in a more “decent” or “reason – based”/ factual way minus verdict and it could garner more respect and weight to your writing. Just a friendly suggestion..the decision is yours!

      Best Regards,

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