Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Hinduism/Archive 3

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Wikipedia Day Awards

Hello, all. It was initially my hope to try to have this done as part of Esperanza's proposal for an appreciation week to end on Wikipedia Day, January 15. However, several people have once again proposed the entirety of Esperanza for deletion, so that might not work. It was the intention of the Appreciation Week proposal to set aside a given time when the various individuals who have made significant, valuable contributions to the encyclopedia would be recognized and honored. I believe that, with some effort, this could still be done. My proposal is to, with luck, try to organize the various WikiProjects and other entities of wikipedia to take part in a larger celebrartion of its contributors to take place in January, probably beginning January 15, 2007. I have created yet another new subpage for myself (a weakness of mine, I'm afraid) at User talk:Badbilltucker/Appreciation Week where I would greatly appreciate any indications from the members of this project as to whether and how they might be willing and/or able to assist in recognizing the contributions of our editors. Thank you for your attention. Badbilltucker 18:38, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Religion

The group indicated above was recently revitalized for, among other things, the purpose of working on those articles whose content is such that the article does not fall within the scope of any particular denomination. To most effectively do this, however, we would benefit greatly if there were at least one member from this Project working on those articles. On that basis, I would encourage and welcome any member of this Project willing to work on those articles to join the Religion WikiProject. Thank you. Badbilltucker 22:43, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Use of Swastika

Recently an editor received a template on his talk page with a Hindu Swastika on it [1]. This editor associates the swastika with Hitler and the Nazi holocaust. I believe that many people in Europe, the US, and elsewhere would have similar reactions. Although pride in one's heritage is natural, I don't believe that Wikipedia is necessarily the best place to express that pride, and some expressions of pride may be divisive and offensive. I don't see significant informative value added to articles by having a swastika on various templates. My suggestion is that templates with Swastikas be modified to only have Aum. Please comment. --BostonMA talk 00:19, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I am opposed to this change. The swastika used on the template is sufficiently stylized and has those dots that differentiate it from the 3rd Reich's version of the symbol, and this difference is apparent to any observer. The swastika has a long and varied history, let's not ban it from perfectly relevant contexts because of the 1 decade where it was used by the nazis. --tjstrf talk 00:35, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree that we should keep it. But there should be a sentence in the article mentioning that it is an ancient symbol, which would make clear that it long pre-dated the bastardized Nazi use of it. ॐ Priyanath talk 00:46, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
The swastika is a minor Hindu symbol, far less prevalent than, say, the Aum. Choosing the swastika to represent Hinduism on so many Hinduism-related templates seems akin to having a 'Liberty Bell' or bald eagle on all U.S.-related template pages, rather than an American Flag or Seal of the President, etc. This is of course to say nothing of the interpretation Europeans have of the swastika. The ubiquitous use of the swastika on Hindu-related templates seems not only insensitive to Europeans, Africans and North Americans, it also is less representative of Hinduism than the Aum. I recommend replacing it in large part (not necessarily in toto) with the Aum. I attempted to do so, only to be rolled back by User:DaGizza. I won't engage in petty edit warring, and hope that cool heads and intellect will prevail. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 01:02, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Note: I've created and uploaded a red version of the 'aum' symbol, to use the red color User:DaGizza mentioned as being more auspicious for Hindus than the black of the original 'Aum.png'. I'm hopeful User:DaGizza and others will see this as more good faith, and act accordingly in the best interests of our global readers.
Aum-Red.svg

Thank you. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 01:16, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I concur that the symbol has a dark history when presented without context. Since we cannot hope to provide the context in the template (unlike say the Swastika or Hindu Iconography article), I support substituting the symbol. I would also hope that that this will not devolve into an issue of grandstanding, and cooler heads will prevail. Abecedare 01:25, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
One thing. The Nazi symbol is very different from swastika. Nazi symbol faces the opposite direction, is tilted by an angle and is colored black. Hindu, Jain and Romani swastikas all face in opposite direction and are colored saffron, not black. There are many houses of Hindus in teh west that have swastikas adorned on it and no objections from Jewish residents etc. Only problem is if skinheads etc. put opposite-facing Nazi symbol, which is illegal in Europe etc. Rumpelstiltskin223 01:31, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
True enough - however, I don't believe the sensitivities of many Europeans, Africans or North Americans are assuaged by merely reversing the orientation of the swastika, nor by the mere presence of the dots. Also - as I've mentioned before the swastika is a minor Hindu symbol, and it really doesn't represent Hinduism with the totality or ubiquity of 'aum'. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 01:50, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Actually, this is not entirely true. Examples of "backwards" swastikas can be found all over...true, they're only about 1/10 or so as popular as the one being discussed here, but the nazis' swastika was not a new "invention". Tomertalk 01:57, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
With all due respect, I don't think what Rumpelstiltskin223 stated is even universally true in practice. Here are some pictures which show how widely the Nazi and Hindu swastika can vary and why we should not rely on nuances in order to avoid unnecessarily being hurtful: A red Nazi swastika, A non tilted Nazi swastika, A counter-clockwise Hindu Swastika, A clockwise Hindu Swastika (in black and white) ...


I'd feel a lot better about this discussion if it weren't for the user in question canvassing opinions via a rather vitriolic message[2] to the talk pages of seemingly random Judaism-related projectspace pages and quite a few of our Jewish editors. I trust that they will be educated enough to understand the context. --tjstrf talk 01:47, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I'd feel a lot better about this discussion if it weren't for the user in question canvassing opinions via a rather vitriolic rhetorically charged and emotional message[3] to the talk pages of seemingly random Judaism-related projectspace pages and quite a few of our Jewish editors. I trust that they will be educated enough to understand the context. --tjstrf talk 01:47, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't call that post 'vitriolic'. I'd call it impassioned - but I'm not sure I see vitriol in IZAK's post. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 01:51, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflicted) Perhaps vitriolic is not the ideal word. Among other things, I found his message insultingly ignorant, especially the part where he says "[the swastika] is VERY far from neutral, no matter in what context it is used". Plus he basically accuses all the Hindu editors of incivility. --tjstrf talk 02:00, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree with your objection to that comment. In a purely Hindu context, the swastika is probably a lot closer to neutral (or at least not loaded with Nazism) than it is seen in the West). I apologize if with my assent it appeared I was meaning to express a racist perspective. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 02:03, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

[Crossposting most of my response to IZAK here as well, and I was one of the people tjstrf mentions above as "canvassed"...I think tjstrf does IZAK and wikipedians at large a disservice by seeming to imply that people can't think clearly on their own, simply because someone suggests that they might find a subject to be of interest...] I've known about the swastika there for quite some time, and do not find it even mildly offensive. I think, in fact, that it's more than just a little bit disingenuous to decry a religion's symbology, especially one that has enjoyed importance across millennia, as a symbol of life, no less, just because one deranged asshole who was never even remotely associated with that religion, took an adaptation of that symbol as one of the emblems for his diabolical movement. That man, whose name doesn't deserve mention in this discussion, and the movement he led to power, used other symbols as well, notably eagles and crosses. The cross, one of the foremost symbols of Christianity, for what it's worth, is a much more objectionable symbol, given the hundreds of thousands of Jews who were put to death upon them. At the same time, unlike the swastika, the cross is emblematic of death, not life. I think the effort to remove the swastikas as they appear in perfect context in Hinduism-related articles, is in extremely bad taste... the censorship it reeks of is so much more emotionally-based than logically-based that if your recommendation succeeds, I will regard it as far more catastrophic to the intellectual integrity of Wikipedia than proliferation of genital piercing articles. Raq zuzayim sheli... Tomertalk 01:53, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Agreed, except as I've mentioned before, I do believe that the effect in the Western world that the symbol has had since the 40's, combined with it's relatively minor status makes it a poor choice to be so widely employed to represent Hinduism. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 01:58, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I did not intend to imply that a canvassed editor is incapable of thinking for themselves, in fact the few comments I skimmed on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Judaism were quite level-headed about the issue. Canvassing is, however, highly frowned upon and it is recommended that the targeted discussion be warned of the event. (On WP:CANVAS, which was split out from WP:SPAM recently.) --tjstrf talk 02:06, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

The symbol should stay. Next IZAK will be going on other religious projects and telling them to take down their symbols because it reminds him of something bad that happened. If one comes down, they all should go down. I’m an atheist westerner, but I do NOT believe there is one "true" religion. Everyone can learn a little something from the doctrine or philosophy of each religion. I’ve only got one more thing to say: FREEDOM OF RELIGION. (Ghostexorcist 02:03, 5 January 2007 (UTC))

Tell that to the Holocaust dead, or to their next of kin, or to some sensitive souls out there! IZAK 02:10, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Has it ever occurred to you that there was such a thing as a Swastika prior to the 20th century? It is in the best interests not only of the Wikipedia community but of the world as a whole to allow themselves to move beyond tragedies, not let them control us for the indefinite future. --tjstrf talk 02:13, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
IZAK: Hitler's Germany affected my family deeply, in profoundly awful ways. However, one must balance the power the Swastika has for those affected in this way with the other individuals not similarly affected. There IS a difference between the Nazi Swastika and the Hindu swastika - not the orientation nor the dots. However, the swastika is a poor choice for a 'universal symbol of Hinduism', as it's but one of a host of Hindu symbols. As a 'universal symbol of Hinduism', 'Aum' is far more applicable, and should serve the purpose without perpetuating the entire debate around the fate of those targeted by Nazis since the 30's. In short, I hope we can keep the acrimony and the righteous indignation at a level that allows us to productively address the issue of which symbol is more encyclopedic. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 02:15, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
IZAK: While Hitler's Germany has affected many of our families, as Ryan has stated, the swastika has been a symbol way before Hitler. As usual, you are getting way too heated and was extremely unfair to Dangerous-Boy who has graciously apologized to you so I suggest you accept it. You posted your opinion to several different editors instead of stepping back and calmly addressing the issue with the appropriate person. To be quite honest, you seem to be the only person that has a problem with this so maybe you are to one that needs to step back for awhile. MetsFan76 02:20, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Jewish talk objections

Hi: Since we are centralizing the discussion here, the following is posted here for other views on the subject:

From Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Judaism#Funny Swastika:

Take a look at these templates:

with the HinduSwastika.svg displayed prominently. Honestly, of all of Hinduism's symbols' did this one have to get "headline" billing on these templates? Alternatives are aplenty if one were to look around on articles listed on {{Hindu Deities and Texts}} where there are dozens of less offensive symbols that could be chosen for the same purpose. While the swastika may be ok with some Hindus, it should not be flashed around "in all innocence" because for the rest of the world that was caught up in World War II it was the symbol of literal EVIL, DEATH and DESTRUCTION emanating from the Nazis. It was Hitler's personal diabolical "symbol of choice" and for that reason it is VERY far from neutral, no matter in what context it is used. It violates Wikipedia:Civility to have it displayed in such an "in your face" fashion on these Hindu templates, giving it a dubious "place of pride" it does not deserve. Need one say more? IZAK 22:58, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

It is a religious symbol, plain and simple. Not everyone in the world are racist or a Nazi. I understand that your hatred for what Hitler did is very passionate, but you need to stop looking at everything like it’s a plot against the Jewish people on Wikipedia. I'll admit that it's not a traditional-looking swastika which normally opens to the left. This is a Buddhist symbol.(Ghostexorcist 23:36, 4 January 2007 (UTC))
Benito Mussolini standing next to Adolf Hitler, do you see what Hitler is wearing on his "arm-patch"?
Hmmm: So what about the guy who posted [4] one of the templates ({{Hindu Links}}) on my talk page, what the heck did I do to deserve a "welcoming swastika" -- a totally absurd move -- either the guy lacks total perspective and he's clue-less or he is verging on truly "Dangerours" behaviour (note his user name: User:Dangerous-Boy -- obscured with "D-Boy"). Have you ever heard of the Holocaust many people associatete that, and not Hindusim, with the swastika, any swastika, so would it make sense to plaster an image like the one below on Hindu-related pages and templates? Tactless, pointless, and bound to create ill-feeling, right? Or what do you say, swastikas are like cute stickers? IZAK 23:30, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
IZAK, I think I understand and somewhat share your feelings, but IMHO you are overreacting here. Nazi swastika looked different and symbolized something very different. More importantly, I don't see an evidence of their intention to offend, and they seem to simply celebrate their religion. Perhaps more education/reconciliation is in order. ←Humus sapiens ну? 00:37, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Hi Humus: Thanks for your input, but for most people, even intelligent ones, "a swastika, is a swastika, is a swastika" -- I am not saying that the intention was deliberate, I am saying that this symbol is "too hot to handle" and that if they have better alternatives they should use it, as not everyone can stay calm and get educated about the nuances of swastikas when about 65 yeears ago their ancestors were murdered by the millions with hazy ("warm and fuzzy") swastikas fluttering all over the place... It's a two-way street, as we take our time getting educated (it may take about two thousand years) they also need to get educated about what it means to some other people who hate it for very good reasons. IZAK 01:39, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

From User talk:IZAK#Your objection to the swastika:

Hi, I saw that you raised an objection to the swastika in hinduism related templates. Although the swastika is widely used in India, I realize that it is inflammatory in Europe and the US, and perhaps other parts of the world. Although the swastika deserves a place in articles related to Hindu symbolism, I don't believe it adds significant informative content to the articles which are likely to include the templates you have identified. --BostonMA talk 23:16, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

  • So are you agreeing with me that it serves no purpose and should be replaced on the templates in question with something a little more cheerful ? IZAK 23:19, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Like for example, see the guy who posted one of the templates on my talk page, what the heck did I do to deserve a "welcoming swastika" -- a totally absurd move -- either the guy lacks total perspective and he's clue-less or he is verging on truly "Dangerours" behaviour (note his user name: User:Dangerous-Boy -- obscured with "D-Boy"). Have you ever heard of the Holocaust many people associatete that, and not Hindusim, with the swastika, any swastika, so would it make sense to plaster an image like the one below on Hindu-related pages and templates? Tactless, pointless, and bound to create ill-feeling, right? Or what do you say, swastikas are like cute stickers? IZAK 23:30, 4 January 2007 (UTC):
Benito Mussolini standing next to Adolf Hitler, do you see what Hitler is wearing on his "arm-patch"?
As I said, the swastika is widely used in India. Religious books quite often have a swastika in the front pages. Many Hindus are quite naturally proud of their heritage and the thus wish to proudly display the symbolism that is associated with that heritage. Although there is a possibility that placing the swastika on your page was intended to offend, I think it is a stretch to assume that this possibility is what definitely occured. But the intent of the editor who left the template on your page aside, yes, I agree that it would be best to use a symbol which is not so inflammatory. Sincerely, --BostonMA talk 23:49, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh I am not saying that this symbol should be banned, on the contrary, let there be articles about it that explain what it means. Many people recall that it was the symbol of the Nazi Third Reich and all the pain, suffering and trauma that the world suffered under that symbol. Hindus are free to choose many symbols, they believe in many gods, I don't believe the swastika is the symbol of Hinduism and I do not think that it is in their interests to present themselves to the world (to many other non-Hindus) under such a horrible and horrid symbol of modern Fascism. IZAK 23:59, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
I didn't say that the swastika was the symbol of Hinduism. However, it is one of the symbols of Hinduism and is widely used. It is unnecessary for us to decide whether "it is in [Hindus] interests to present themselves to the world under under such a horrible and horrid symbol of modern Fascism." It is only necessary to decide whether it is appropriate for Wikipedia to have swastikas which do not contribute to the encyclopedic purpose of providing a source of information. --BostonMA talk 00:05, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Ok, sounds reasonable. As long as they change it soon on all those templates. IZAK 00:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I have placed a notice at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Hinduism[5] which is perhaps the best location for a discussion. If there are no responses, I will change the templates. — Preceding unsigned comment added by BostonMA (talkcontribs)

  • Very good idea, I should have thought of that myself. But first I thought I'd get some feedback from users I know. Thanks. IZAK 00:30, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Izak, could we please not fragment the discussion into 20,000 different pieces? If you want to inform people of the change, that's great, but please do so by making a link to the central discussion at WP:HINDU, not by reposting all of your arguments there without any central discussion link. --tjstrf talk 01:22, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

  • HI, I posted to about ten places, and I am done. I agree that the discussion should be central now. I will let them know. Thanks. IZAK 01:31, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    • Hi Izak. I've known about the swastika there for quite some time, and do not find it even mildly offensive. I think, in fact, that it's more than just a little bit disingenuous to decry a religion's symbology, especially one that has enjoyed importance across millennia, as a symbol of life, no less, just because one deranged asshole who was never even remotely associated with that religion, took an adaptation of that symbol as one of the emblems for his diabolical movement. That man, whose name doesn't deserve mention in this discussion, and the movement he led to power, used other symbols as well, notably eagles and crosses. The cross, one of the foremost symbols of Christianity, for what it's worth, is a much more objectionable symbol, given the hundreds of thousands of Jews who were put to death upon them. At the same time, unlike the swastika, the cross is emblematic of death, not life. I think the effort to remove the swastikas as they appear in perfect context in Hinduism-related articles, is in extremely bad taste... the censorship it reeks of is so much more emotionally-based than logically-based that if your recommendation succeeds, I will regard it as far more catastrophic to the intellectual integrity of Wikipedia than proliferation of genital piercing articles. Raq zuzayim sheli... Tomertalk 01:49, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
      • Hi Tomer: While you may be very relaxed about this, I had not known about the existence of this until today. Imagine my shock when I see a swastika glaring down at me "in warm greeting" on my talk page, what was I being invited to I wondered. And then I see it's "only" Hinduism. Well let me tell you, if I received an invitation in the mail from ANYONE with that symbol on it, I would get VERY upset (putting it mildly) as I am sure many people would, not just Jews, but anyone who lived through or knows anything about World War II would know. I think it's just telling of the times that with the passing of "the bravest/greatest generation" as Tom Brokaw writes about them, people feel "free" to start using symbols and ideas that would never have been allowed a decade or two earlier in this context. Sure for articles it's fine, use any symbol you like, even the cows and snakes that people worship, but a swastika? That throws me big time and I don't think that you should wave it off with an academic excuse. IZAK 02:04, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
        • The swastika has been a Hindu religious symbol for some thousand years. Claiming that it must be offensive in all contexts is highly ignorant of non-Western culture, and smacks heavily of censorship. --tjstrf talk 02:08, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

IZAK is nothing but a BIGOT! He just equated me to a nazi on the Judaism wikiproject because I told him he needed to be educated more on the subject of the Hindu Swastika. Then he pretty much said the Nazis sent to the Jews to be educated. Can you believe this guy? (Ghostexorcist 02:34, 5 January 2007 (UTC))

Talk of over-reaction. And don't misquote me! I didn't "pretty much" say anything the way you report. Here is what I said [6] "And I was also right that civilization cannot wait 2000 years to get educated. Some things are too painful and should not be abused or covered up with "education needed" that is the way all totalitarians reacted, they sent people for "re"-education"...IZAK 02:22, 5 January 2007 (UTC)" Nothing about Nazis, they did not bother re-educating anyone, that was the Soviets and Chinese way. And this was my next response to you: "No, I am saying that anyone who can casually dismiss objections to the use of swastikas, evidently does not care that much about what the swastika, any swastika, meant to victims, dead and alive, of the Holocaust. I cannot fathom why you attribute "equations" to me that I never made. I mean what I say, and say what I mean. Like "Tell that to the marines." I leave "equations" for mathematicians. IZAK 02:37, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
And then I called you a Bigot and a racist!(Ghostexorcist 02:51, 5 January 2007 (UTC))
And you see I am not mad at you! Stick to the points of the discussion and be rational. I need to do some shopping for Shabbat now. See ya! IZAK 02:57, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I oppose the removal of the Swastika of the template(s). I personally find it a little sad to see people wanted to censor a holy Symbol just because that in the west it is seen in horror. Also if you want to get technical the Hindu Swastika and the Nazi Swastika are compleatly different. Just look at the two and see the differences. Also (I don't want to come off as offensive because I am not intending it too.) What if a pacifist suggested the removal of the Cross from all the Christianity templates because it resembles a dagger? That wouldn't make to much sense, same with the Sikh Kirpan. In my view the same applys to here too. — Arjun 02:42, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Sure, keep them in, they bring credit and admiration for Hunduism... IZAK 02:49, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
The Swastika in the template does bring credit and admiration. What are you implying with your ellipses? --Eqdoktor 08:50, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
The cross is the UNIVERSAL symbol of Christianity that no-one disputes and everyone knows it was from (Roman) wood of two beams crossed to crucify people (so you are dreaming if you think it's a "dagger"), can you say the same thing about this Hindu swastika?, maybe someone wants to push that one more than a hundred other ones. No good pictures of golden Indian statues with six arms that are far more POSITIVELY indentified with Hinduism? IZAK 02:53, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
The cross is the representation of an ancient torture/execution implement used by the Romans (which has been pointed out as an irony by numerous philosophers). There are certain christian sects (Jehovah's Witnesses) that eschews the use of the cross, so its by no means "THE" universal symbol of christianity - just the most common. Also, like the swastika, the Christian cross also has numerous variations - for example the coptic cross. Hinduism is not the only religion in which the Swastika is a respected symbol, Buddhism and Shintoism for example. --Eqdoktor 08:50, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Just for note, wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Meaning that this should teach that the Swastika 1. Was first associated with Hinduism 2. Has always been associated with Hinduism until the Holocaust. And in general teach us more about it. Please if you haven't done already scan through the Swastika article. This is encyclopedic. — Arjun 02:56, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Arjun: That is what the articles are for teach away. But to make it the official symbol of Hindusim on so may templates is not fair or honest when it is not "the" main symbol of that religion and it's offensive to most Jews and to Judaism, AFAIK. When I got a message [7] with that hated symbol on my talk page, it was a shock. I am not about to get re-educated about a symbol that was used by the mass-killers during the Holocaust. So it's a two-way street, you also need to get "educated" that this symbol, in any way it's depicted is despised by many people because, for better or worse, Hitler adopted it for the Nazis and then they flew it on their flag as they almost destroyed the civilized world. Do you want to be associated with that, or don't you care? It is not so simple as "religious this and religious that" excuses.IZAK 03:07, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure IZAK realizes that. MetsFan76 02:59, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh hi MetsFan: Fancy meeting you here! IZAK 03:07, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh trust me...there is nothing fancy going on here. I actually enjoy watching your rants. It's better than FOX News which probably isn't saying much. MetsFan76 03:10, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Cmon Mets, I know you have me on your watch list! What you call a rant others call brilliance! ;-} IZAK 03:18, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Of course I have you on my watchlist. There's nothing I like better than coming home from a long day at work and tuning in to the IZAK Channel. I think it should be made available to Cablevision subscribers. That way, everyone can see ignorance at its best. MetsFan76 03:23, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Mets: It's easy to sit around waiting for another guy to stick his neck out for something he really cares about and then play the caring outsider. So far, I haven't seen that you care about much of anything except you come around to discussions that I am involved with and start acting like some sort of self-appointed umpire. Go write something and edit articles you know something about instead of wikistalking me for no good reason. IZAK 06:53, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

IZAK, Once you read you will note that the Swastika has been used for centuries in many different countries...not just India. I find it offensive that everyone wants to remove it just because it was used in a negative way. — Arjun 02:56, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Arjun: As I said, getting offended is a two-way street. IZAK 03:07, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I find many of the responses to IZAK's (in my opinion legitimate) concerns offensive and insensitive in the extreme. However, in this case I will have to agree with Humus sapiens and Tomer. A religious group has the right to select its own religious symobols; and the fact is this symbol preexisted the Nazis and as used by the Hindu wikiprojects it does not seem to me to be offensive. I do note that historically the swastika has appeared in many cultures and many uses, including decoration on Jewish synagogues. Briangotts (Talk) (Contrib) 04:04, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Hi Brian: And another religious group has the right to express its counter concerns which trample on its own very recent bloody history. Even some of the pro-Hindu editors here acknowledge that there other less controversial symbols and that the swastika is not the symbol of Hinduism. Thank you for your sensitivity though, while others here seem to sadly think it's a joking matter. IZAK 06:53, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

This is from one of the many templates that IZAK started the discussion on (my comment then his reaction):

Personally, I find the above comment offensive. The swastika used in these templates is of a form used for millennia in Hindu contexts, and to this day widely displayed in India. To deny Hindu people the use of their religious symbolism is POV, and given the fact that Hindus are overwhelmingly of Indian ethnicity, could be racist also. DuncanHill 23:18, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
You are offended?, how do you think the Holocaust dead and their families and people feel? Can you prove that this symbol has to be "the" symbol of Hinduism on Wikipedia when it is such a vast religion with so many symbols. There must be better choices that will not press others' red buttons? IZAK 02:28, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I am offended - and I'm not Hindu. I haven't said that the Swastika should be "the" symbol of Hinduism - please don't distort what I have said. Most of my Jewish relatives lost family during the Holocaust, and yet they all seem able to understand that the Hindu use of the Swastika is unrelated to its use by the Nazis. Please try to remember IZAK, that Wikipedia IS an encyclopedia, and not a vehicle for your POV on religions other than your own. The form of Swastika used on the Hinduism templates is significantly different in form from that used by the Nazis. Hinduism is indeed a vast religion with many symbols, but speaking from my experiences in India, the Swastika is very widely used, in some areas it is much more common than the Aum, in some areas less common. Perhaps if you learned a little more about the history of the Swastika as a symbol you would be able to understand that for billions of people over thousands of years it has had nothing to do with the atrocities of 12 years of Naziism. DuncanHill 12:58, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Heading break in Swastika discussion

There is one thing I need to point. You may get away in replacing the Swastik's with Aums for Hinduism articles, but the Swastik is the most important symbols in another religion called Jainism. Another note, if you see the Aum page, the first line says Aum (also Om or Ohm, ) is the most sacred syllable in Hinduism,... Syllable is not symbol. The symbol of Aum is not as important as the sound it represents. The sound is more holy than the symbol. The Swastik, on the other hand is famous and significant for its shape, read Swastika for proof.

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia, ie. a place of knowledge/learning. When Europeans, Jew or Gentile, come to Wikipedia they should learn that the Swastik is used in many other contexts, not just for Nazis. They should also learn the Eastern Swastiks were different in design. They have four dots, are in red instead of black imposed on red and is turned 45 degrees. If you say the Swastik has no purpose on a template, that is the same for the Aum. Both should be removed in that case. GizzaChat © 02:16, 5 January 2007 (UTC)


Apart from Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, the symbol is also in the emblem of Falun Gong, and probably many other sects. --Bondego 13:39, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
DaGizza, the aum 'symbol' (not merely the syllable) is far more prevalent and universal in Hindu culture than the swastika. That is a fact. Accordingly, it's more appropriate to be used as a symbol on general Hinduism-related articles. I repeat my request for you to undo your admin rollbacks. Jainism is an entirely separate topic and I'll be sure to learn more about it, now that you've educated me about the role of the swastika in that faith.
In addition, I repeat my request for you to answer why you said "I see that you are a Jew' on my user page. Why did you jump to that conclusion? That seemed rather racist to me, irrespective of my actual faith (which frankly is not your concern). -- User:RyanFreisling @ 02:18, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

You do realize most Hindus like jews don't you?--D-Boy 02:28, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

That would be most Hindutvadis rather than Hindus... अमेय आर्यन DaBrood© 09:44, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

OK, how about this suggestion ? We replace the swastica symbol from the talk-page template (i.e. something that may be placed in userspace, such as {{Hindu Links}}without sufficient context) while retaining it in mainspace templates, wher it should be clear that the symbol being used is not the Nazi swastika. Any objections ? Abecedare 02:32, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Why change it b/c only IZAK has a problem with it? He is going off on one of his famous rants now anyway. MetsFan76 02:34, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I already aplogized to the guy on his talk page. It would serve no purpose to remove it. People would just be ignorant about the symbol for another 50 years. They still use in Latvia for decorations.--D-Boy 02:37, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
D-Boy...I saw the apology and it was very nice of you but wasn't necessary. You meant no harm. He needs to calm down. MetsFan76 02:39, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Mets: Kindly refrain from being a jerk, ok? No-one asked you to come along here and act the "referee", if you have nothing original to say about the subject keep your mouth shut rather than sit around and insult me. IZAK 07:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I an entitled to say as I wish. I have not resorted to name-calling as you have just did (which is a very idiotic move). You are right; nobody has to ask me to come along and put my two cents in. However, I happened to notice your comment and reacted. As I have said to you in the past, you need to calm down. You cause way too many problems in here. As for telling me to keep my mouth shut, maybe you should take some of your own advice because the only thing you are good at is giving people a headache. MetsFan76 13:22, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Lets not personalize the issue. The strength of the person making an argument is not necessarily reflective of the strength of the argument. If we decide on the change the symbol, it will not be because it is an inappropriate symbol, but because it can be unnecessarily hurtful when presented without context. Does anyone think the Hinduism welcome template will be any less recognizable or welcoming if it used Aum instead of swastika ? Taking the high-road (as D-Boy did by apologizing even though he intended no ill-will) is not a sign of weakness IMO Abecedare 02:44, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

It's definitely not a sign of weakness. I thought what D-Boy did was commendable even though IZAK hasn't responded to it yet. MetsFan76 02:46, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Again Mets, no-one asked you to be the judge here. Get a life. IZAK 07:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Again IZAK, watch the name-calling. How old are you? MetsFan76 13:22, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I think IZAH's points are more of a reason to keep the swastika rather than to change it. As a matter of fact the symbol is a central one to Hindus, and he and others must appreciate that. The narrow sense of history and culture that westerners have cannot justify the censorship being proposed by him. It is important that this censorship be opposed. Should Hindus here not be upset that a symbol central to their religion is being censored because some idiot in Germany adopted it for his fascist party? Is it not being implied that how the Hindu views that symbol is being dismissed by the western-oriented editors here? Tfoi 02:49, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Tfoi, anyone who has no clue about how Hitler and the Third Reich are intertwined with the swastika has no sense of history themselves. This a very serious matter which you fail to grasp. IZAK 07:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I like Abecedare's suggestion above. Personally, the Aum symbol has more meaning for me than the swastika anyway. And for me the Aum symbol is a meaningful symbol. Context is also important, and placing the swastika without explanation in userspace isn't appropriate. When someone comes to a userpage and sees, what is for them, a symbol of oppression and genocide, they are right to be offended. Folks - keep in mind that people are not being offended by Hinduism, so let's not take it personally. ॐ Priyanath talk 03:05, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Agreed, Priyanath. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 03:52, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

The welcoming template says "Hinduism" fairly prominently, the swastika is obviously different in style from those used by the Nazis, and nothing in the template has anything to do with Nazism. It seems clear to me that the symbol is not meant to represent the Nazi party. I guess I will make a semiotic argument here - there are three parts to any message: the sender, the message, and the receiver (apologies to semioticians - I know that's a gross over-simplification, and even partly wrong, but I'm at peace with it). Here the sender clearly wants to communicate something unrelated to Nazism and the message does communicate something unrelated to Nazism. So the problem, to me, is that the receiver has decided that anything with this symbol is "offensive," even if it's otherwise clear that the message was not meant to offend - the receiver has added meaning that the sender did not want, that the message does not otherwise contain, and that the receiver probably knows the message is not meant to contain.

So that's what it boils down to for me - do we allow one group to dictate the meaning of a symbol used by another group, even where the group using it does not assign it a similar meaning and opposes the assignment of that meaning? (Or, to put it another way, do we let Jews tell Hindus that they can't use a Hindu symbol because of something a "Christian" did?) I don't think we can - it's unfortunate that some people add meaning to a swastika that it doesn't deserve, and thereby co-opt what should be a religious symbol. But, to me, that's an argument for more use of swastikas of this type. Hindus should be allowed to "reclaim" their symbol - it's theirs, not Hitler's. But they can only do that if they can use it - and use it enough so that it rids itself of that horrid other meaning. (Of course, if this is truly not a symbol representative of Hinduism, as some have argued, then it shouldn't be used - but because it doesn't communicate the core message, not because it's offensive.) --TheOtherBob 03:01, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Hindus have lots of choices they don't need a swastika as their main "PR-logo" -- are there any swamis in the house? Why doesn't India have a swastika on it's flag?, it's a Hindu nation, they are smart enough not to do dumb things it seems. IZAK 03:14, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
You are missing the point. To Hindus, the symbol means something different. Who are you to question them? MetsFan76 03:17, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Mets: Insulting me, and not contributing to the debate is pathetic! IZAK 07:29, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
IZAK: Hmmm more name-calling. I'm starting to see a pattern. Is this how you actually debate when it's clear you realize you are wrong? MetsFan76 13:22, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

IZAK:Talk about offensive I find that post offensive and I am not Indian! — Arjun 03:16, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Also I am pretty sure that the government of India is secular. Read the article. — Arjun 03:19, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    • You spoke those words out of my mouth Arjun! Yes, the bond between Hinduism is not the same as Israel and Judaism. And we don't have an Aum on our flag either :) We have a Buddhist chakra. The word Swastika comes from su and asti and literally means well-being. GizzaChat © 03:24, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
      • Sure, the swastika leaves everyone with a sense of "well-being" -- maybe it's a good slogan for some movement we haven't heard of yet. IZAK 07:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I am not Hindu. I am not Indian. I had family put in Nazi camps during that war. It sickens me too. However, I am stunned that what seems to me to be over-political correctness is taking a symbol that only vaguely resembles the Nazi symbol and trying to ban it! From another culture! As I have said repeatedly on WP, the Indians fielded the largest volunteer military force in WWII to fight the Nazis and end the Holocaust. Of their own free will, even though they were still under the British thumb and not too happy about it. They still volunteered. And died. Lots. In foreign lands to free another people. So it is a bit much to imply somehow that the Indians here (or other cultures that use the swastika as well) are somehow responsible for its misuse for a handful of years, after it has been used around the world for thousands of years. There are even a few Jewish temples/synagogues in buildings built before the war that have the swastika as part of the building design, if I remember correctly from a documentary I saw. And the buildings were not demolished and the symbols removed. The Rabbis etc were glad to keep them there as a sign of defiance, that they were not going to be pushed around by some tyrant and his misuse of this symbol! So...I ask those who are so upset about it here that they are removing it from OTHERS pages that they slow down and think for a moment. Two wrongs dont make a right you know...--Filll 03:15, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Filll: No-one is removing anything from anyone's pages, this is a discussion about the pros and cons about a hated symbol for some and a beloved symbol for others and how to resolve it on Wikipedia AS A WHOLE. IZAK 07:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

An encyclopedia shouldn't censor itself to accommodate for the ignorance of mediocre minds that can't be bothered to appreciate history or culture outside of the western hemisphere. I don't mean to be rude, but I find it curious that IZAK refuses to take the time to be sensitive to the Hindu sentiment on the issue (and I would say he demonstrates exceptional insensitivity when he throws pictures of Hitler and holocaust victims around to make his point on this issue), while demanding that Hindus yield and discard the swastika symbol and all it actually means. His argument and its approach is insulting to Hindus and Hinduism, which is strange thing from him considering he thinks he is speaking from the perspective of a people who were persecuted for their religion. It is something to be taken personally. I would think one of the very best things about this online encyclopedia is the depth of knowlege that originates from all parts of the world, rather than the western-only material you could expect from Encarta or other sources. Even if people are offended by this symbol (so far I don't see other Jews throwing a fit over this) they can take the time to familiarize themselves with the positive uses of that symbol in the distant past. The gained knowlege will surely outweigh that initial second or two of surprise, and is better than telling Hindus here that their religious symbol is too controvercial for untrained non-hindu eyes. I also detest self-censorship as much as I detest adminitratively enforced censorship.There is a reason why censorship is looked down upon in civilized societies, which is that it perpetuates misinformation and stereotypes. We must'nt yield to IZAK's demands for such censorship, but rather make him feel obliged to acknowlege the older meaning of that symbol. Hindus aren't Nazis. Tfoi 03:17, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Tfoi: Do Hindus really care if there is a swastika on Wikipedia to represent them, don't they also want to avoid to be classified with Nazi symbols? IZAK 07:29, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Hindus volunteered by the millions to fight the Nazis, and died saving Jews.--Filll 03:20, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

  • And now you want them to march under the Nazi's symbol, what kind of logic is that? How many Jews did the Hindus save by the way? Did they let them into India at any time? IZAK 07:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    • Leaving aside the urban elite and Brahmins, the aum is a distant second to the Swastika in importance as the religious symbol of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and other religions, representing almost every third person on earth. This is perhaps the second most revered symbol in the world after the Christian cross. It would be a pity if we have to censor its use on wikipedia for whatever reason. deeptrivia (talk) 03:23, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
      • I'm sorry but that's simply untrue. The swastika is absolutely not the second-most-revered religious symbol in the world.
      • The swastika is NOT a universal, major Hindu symbol - it's a minor one and is secondary to the Aum. Using swastikas so prevalently to represent Hinduism is unencyclopedic. That's why the use of the Aum is recommended in its place - not entirely, but in such a way that it reflects the centrality of the Aum in Hindu culture, a place which the swastika does not occupy. The 'Jewish' issue is a real concern and we have a duty to our readers to provide context, but potential offense of our readers is not the sole, nor even the most encyclopedic, rationale for replacing the symbol. This is not a Hindus-vs-Jews issue! It's about encyclopedic value, not about potential offense or censorship. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 03:25, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
        • Sorry to sound lame but that didn't make sense Ryan. I would think it would be unencyclopedic to remove it! We should be teaching the world what the truth is, not to hide it under the blankets just because it was used in a negative fashion. Also I may very well agree with Deeptrivia, the Swastika is used pretty much in all Dharmic Religions. — Arjun 03:28, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
          • I'm not stating we should remove it - as I've said nearly a dozen times now. The use of a swastika on WP to represent Hinduism should be proportionate to its use within Hinduism. Other faiths are another matter. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 03:32, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

No one wants to offend. But no one should be offended. If I go to a foreign country with different hand gestures that represent something unsavory in my own culture, should I get upset? No of course not. It is part of understanding that all cultures are different, and the symbolism is different. They are using that hand gesture to mean something completely different. I would be crazy to be offended by it.--Filll 03:30, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Please come to India, especially to the villages where 70% of the Indians live to compare the relative importance of the two symbols. The swastika overwhelmingly outdoes the Aum. Aum is the most important syllable, a sound, but certainly not the most important symbol. Understandably, it cannot be expected that western media would feel free to display it as a part of Asian culture until the taboo and paranoia (or the symbol itself) dies out. deeptrivia (talk) 03:36, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Not the case. Just a cursory review brings us:
"Aum (also Om or Ohm, ) is the most sacred syllable in Hinduism, symbolizing the infinite Brahman and the entire Universe" - WP.
"The most important symbol in Hinduism, (the Aum) occurs in every prayer and invocation to most deities begins with it." -- [8].
"The primary symbol of Hinduism is the Aum" -- [9]
Come on, folks. Let's be encyclopedic and not object, or support, the swastika out of religious pride nor paranoia. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 03:41, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't think the question is whether the Aum is more important than the Swastika (a question I doubt we will ever answer), but rather whether the swastika is a symbol that Hindus might reasonably use for their religion, and understand to represent their religion. Given that it is "considered extremely holy and auspicious by all Hindus" (according to our wikipedia article), I wouldn't be at all surprised that they would choose to be represented by such a symbol. So the question, then, is whether that choice is so entirely wrong-headed as to be unencyclopedic - whether the claim that "the swastika represents Hinduism" is false because the swastika is only a distant or miniscule part of Hinduism. I don't see any evidence of that - everything I've seen says that it is important, even if other symbols are more important (which, as I said, I doubt we'll ever resolve). --TheOtherBob 03:53, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Well for starters, A LOT of people look down on wikipedia for its inaccuracies. Who are you going to trust a couple of english webpages that may not be written by actual practitioners or someone who is hindu and actually lives in the country of origin. There is a HUGE difference between a "symbol" and a "Syllable" - picture vs. sound. (Ghostexorcist 03:48, 5 January 2007 (UTC))
They do indeed - and this situtation is one reason why they might be justified in doing so. And I think you realize that individual expertise is not the criteria on WP... citations are. Deferring to another editor's expertise due to their ethnicity is not a WP policy, nor even a good idea. I'm familiar with the difference bet. Symbols and Syllables, thanks. That's why I made the citations I did. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 03:51, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

If the swastika is so vile and repulsive, why is it being used in a wall hanging in this town in israel in this photo? --Filll 03:43, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

(edit conflicts) As deep said, the Aum symbol does not hold too much importance. It comes from the Devangari script, which is used to write Sanskrit and Hindi. It was only created in the last 1000 years. Hinduism hsa existed for much longer than 1000 years and before then it was the Swastika that was easily the famous. And please read Swastika. It is not only, Nazi and Hindu. It has been present in so many civilisations around the world. GizzaChat © 03:44, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
"The Aum symbol does not hold too much importance."? That's patently and blatantly false. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 03:47, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
That is what I said earlier, the Swastika has been used by many different civilizations. — Arjun 03:46, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't mean to offend anyone and I admit I haven't read the WHOLE of this discussion, but here are my two cents. I find it extremely narrow minded of the Swastika removing users, as they are not being at all considerate of others religions. Just because Hitler used the Swastika does not mean Hindus are banned from it. Tomorrow some random terrorist may use the Star of David to launch their own genocide against Hindus and I for one will not be removing any religious symbols and I would urge my fellow Hindus to not do so because it is important to respect others religions. You cannot justify removing Swastikas because there are other symbols available, it is important to Hindus, you need to respect our religion, the Hindu swastika does not have any relation to Nazism, end of story, I urge everyone to revert such removals of Swastikas quickly. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 03:49, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Here is another photo from a place called synagogue lane, in a town in india called Cochin. The neighborhood where this picture was taken was called "Jew Town" (not sure I am too comfortable with that name myself, but anyway) because so many Jews used to live there. Most have left and it is mainly occuppied by Muslims now. No Jews ever complained apparently. It is not a big issue.--Filll 03:50, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

You know that if Hitler had won, he would not have been particularly gracious towards the Hindus. You think he would have thought they were part of the Master Race? Even though many of them ARE the real Aryans. I don't think that would have made a bit of difference to Hitler. He got rid of everyone he thought was defective. Jews. Slavs. Catholics. Gays. Lesbians. Gypsies. Etc.--Filll 03:53, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Besides, the swastika is a "must" for any Hindu celebration or ritual, without which no religious activity can be considered auspicious. This is common knowledge, but here's a reference:[10]. deeptrivia (talk) 03:54, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
The very same reference makes clear that "As the cross is to Christians, the Om is to Hindus. It is made up of three Sanskrit letters, aa, au and ma which, when combined, make the sound Aum or Om. The most important symbol in Hinduism, it occurs in every prayer and invocation to most deities begins with it.". Why, then, would you prefer the swastika to the Aum in terms of encyclopedic value?
Regardless of the circular discussion and in any case, I've made my points and I don't wish to repeat myself. If the community cannot divorce the issue of encyclopedic value from fervor, it can't address this issue properly. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 03:57, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I read somewhere that Hitler thought Hindus were impure because of their contact with Dravidians, meaning they lost their Aryanness and may have been attacked in time (as they were controlled by the British back then). Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 03:56, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

The only way to reclaim this symbol is to let those people it was stolen from have it back! Lets not be terrorized by that tyrant from over 50 years ago, now dead and gone --Filll 03:58, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

  • They can have it back, but why does the rest of the world have to swallow it? IZAK 07:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

More distracting fervor. My kingdom for a level head! -- User:RyanFreisling @ 03:59, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I do not know how important any given symbol is to anyone else. But this is over the top. This will make Jews on WP feel better to remove this important symbol from Hindus, so their materials on WP, which is an ENCYCLOPEDIA by the way, not some sort of politically correct club, will be less historically and culturally accurate? We should vandalize Indian/Hindu culture, and those of about 20 or 30 other cultures around the world, so that we can pay tribute to a Butcher from 50+ years ago? Because that is what you are doing. You are honoring his memory by hating that symbol. It is becoming like a fetish to do so.--Filll 04:03, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Now that's just misstatement. Who hates what again? Are you clear to whom (and about what) you're talking? 'Cause you ain't talking to me. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 04:04, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Aum and Swastika are two different things that are hard to compare but easy to confuse. Aum is a syllable, the Swastika is a visual symbol. No syllable is as important as Aum, no visual symbol is as important as the Swastika. When it comes to choosing a symbol for a template, the most important visual symbol takes precedence over one among many visual depictions of the most important syllable. deeptrivia (talk) 04:05, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Aum is indeed a symbol and it is indeed the most important symbol in Hinduism. Aum represents Hinduism, and the swastika represents auspiciousness, as have I cited above. Here's another:
"Aum, also written "Om" and called pranava, is the most important Hindu symbol. Om (Aum) – the most important Hindu symbol, often used as the emblem of Hinduism (see above)." [11]
Don't patently misrepresent the truth. Cite your views.-- User:RyanFreisling @ 04:07, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I think this can all be solved without discussion: Wikipedia is an Encyclopedia. Lets learn together, — Arjun 04:16, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Aum and Swastika cannot be compared, since they are different things. For templates, we need a visual symbol which the Swastika is. Aum can be visually represented in many ways. Members of Arya Samaj don't accept the symbol people in the West normally see. They write it like this: ओ३म. The Swastika is perhaps the only universally accepted visual symbol of Hinduism. (The syllable Aum is doubtlessly universally accepted, but not any of its visual depictions.) deeptrivia (talk) 04:17, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Aum is no less a visual symbol than a swastika, is more central to Hinduism, and has the added side benefit of not being contentious enough to have generated this kind of debate. I don't see where the encyclopedic value of rejecting it for the swastika comes from. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 04:19, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I think you're missing something here - this isn't a question of whether to remove the aum and replace it with the swastika. The template contains both, right? So the question is whether the swastika is inappropriate there and should be removed - whether it is such a minor symbol that it is not truly representative of Hinduism. In that regard, see my earlier response to your comment (by now buried in this thread). --TheOtherBob 04:30, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
There are a number of templates involved, not just one that has both symbols. My point (which has been consistent since I became aware of this debate today) is that the frequency with which we use the Aum and the swastika on these numerous templates should be representative of each symbol's importance and centrality within Hinduism. Using the swastika on a majority of the Hinduism-related templates doesn't reflect the relative importance of each - it emphasizes the swastika to a degree not representative of it's importance to Hinduism - as it is a symbol of auspiciousness, not a smbol of Hinduism. The point that the symbol was co-opted by the Nazis is a massive complication, but it's not the central issue to me. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 04:36, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh yeah, I agree that it is a massive complication, but it's also clear that it's not the central issue. Part of this debate - the part about which symbol is more "important" to a religion - seems to me off-base. (If the balance is not struck correctly, after all, we could always add more aums rather than removing swastikas. And I would take the individual templates one by one.) What I think your evidence shows thus far is that the aum is important, which is fine. But what I think you need to show is that the swastika is not representative of Hinduism. Your point about it being a symbol of auspiciousness rather than Hinduism is a good start in that direction - but it seems that others strongly disagree. Can you provide citations for that idea? --TheOtherBob 04:47, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I am grateful for your good faith. I'd disagree that we should be adding more aums to offset swastikas... my contention is that we should use them in proportion to their importance. I've not wavered in that view. Last, to my recollection, all the citations I've provided make clear that the swastika represents not Hinduism, but auspiciousness. The last two certainly make that point crystal-clear. Again, I'm grateful for your good faith, and not assuming I'm coming from a hateful place. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 04:51, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Well, I certainly am assuming good faith, and hoping you're finding this discussion healthy. There are no symbols that represent Hinduism as such. Aum does not represent "Hinduism", which was a term introduced by the British for convenience in the census about two centuries or so ago. Both Aum and the Swastika are sacred in all Dharmic religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism) deeptrivia (talk) 05:00, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I dont think anyone is going to convince anyone here. I think we need to step back and consider this carefully. take a deep breath and lets try to come up with some forum to resolve this issue.--Filll

After all, this has gone on for almost 4 hours. You think it will be better after 10? 50?--Filll 04:23, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I seriously doubt that this can be resolved. As the views on both sides of the discussion are probably going to stay the same. — Arjun 04:31, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I get the feeling you just don't want the Swastika and are rejecting everything presented to you simply because you don't like the Swastika, not because you want to improve the encyclopaedia. Don't you get it, Swastika's a symbol, Aum is a sound. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 04:22, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

It is both. Care to provide citations to support your view? I've provided nearly a half-dozen that make clear Aum is a symbol - the most important symbol (not just sound) in Hinduism. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 04:39, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I would personally be loathe to lecture another culture about the meaning of their ancient and sacred symbols like the swastika. Tolerance of all things, except intolerance. And the behavior to ban the swastika in this case is more like intolerance. Even Germany which bans all Nazi symbols has made the symbol of the persecuted group Falun Gong exempt, and it includes a big swastika in it.--Filll 04:37, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

As would I. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 04:39, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Definatly true, read the Upanishads. Aum is a Sound. — Arjun 04:23, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
And a symbol. And as is clear, the Aum symbol represents Hinduism, while the swastika represents good fortune. It should not be misused as 'the' symbol of Hinduism by using it a majority of Hinduism-related templates. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 04:36, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Besides, the particular depiction of the syllable you propose came to existence earliest by 1200, but most probably just a few centuries ago. It certainly doesn't mean to Hindus the same thing as the Cross or the Star of David. Swastikas, on the other hand, have been found in India since the Indus Valley Civilization. deeptrivia (talk) 04:31, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

File:Lothal seals.jpg
Indus Valley Seals. The first one shows a Swastika

Pictures speak much louder than questionable citations! (Ghostexorcist 04:46, 5 January 2007 (UTC))

The antiquity of a symbol does not replace its meaning. The image, while fascinating, does not substantiate the claim that the swastika is most important, or most represents Hinduism. So far, the only citations have been those supporting my view - you're welcome to provide citations stating that the swastika is the most holy symbol of Hinduism. I look forward to learning from the results of your efforts. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 04:57, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
It does prove that the Swastika had importance in even the foundations for Vedic society. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 04:59, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Which is uncontested. it doesn't speak to the actual issue, however - whether the swastika itself represents Hinduism (it does not). -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:01, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
There are no symbols that represent Hinduism as such. Aum does not represent "Hinduism", which was a term introduced by the British for convenience in the census about two centuries or so ago. Both Aum and the Swastika are sacred in all Dharmic religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism) deeptrivia (talk) 05:02, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
And the moksha turns and turns. I have provided citations establishing that the Aum is the central, most important symbol of Hinduism (the English word), the most important symbol that represents Hinduism. You're welcome to provide contradictory sources if you have them. Similarly, I'll be up on campus this weekend and will be researching this issue in greater detail, and will be happy to provide non-internet sources - whether they support or contradict my view. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:07, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

"Symbol" is a vague word with various meanings not appropriate in the context. It's be more specific about it. We need visual motif(s) to go on templates. There's no law saying we can have only one. The argument for removing the Swastika was that it is minor/insignificant when compared to Aum. Your task when you research on it is twofold. Try finding references that justify that (a) Aum is a visual motif, and (b) Swastika's importance in Hinduism is insignificant compared to Aum. deeptrivia (talk) 05:14, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry but requiring that we re-parse the meaning of symbol into 'motif' and requiring me to establish the swastika is insignificant are equally ludicrous. Still waiting for a single cite from you that establishes your view - the cite you did provide (originally my cite) supported my view more than yours (see above re: Om and the Christian Cross). -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:17, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

A symbol need not be visual, it can be a sound. Symbol can be a lot of things. But we need visual symbols on the template. deeptrivia (talk) 05:21, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Seventh time now. Aum IS a visual symbol, and it's already on numerous Hinduism templates - just not in proportion to its importance. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:23, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Sorry to have to bother you, but could you provide references on the visual nature of Aum's symbolism? deeptrivia (talk) 05:24, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
You mean like "Brahman, in itself, is incomprehensible so a symbol becomes mandatory to help us realize the Unknowable." and "Its similarity with the Latin 'M' as also to the Greek letter 'Omega' is discernable.", etc.? Or "As the cross is to Christians, the Om is to Hindus." and "As the symbol of piety, Om is often found at the head of letters, pendants, enshrined in every Hindu temple and family shrines."? [12]-- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:51, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
No, the symbolism of the sound is not debated. I meant the particular visual motif you are proposing "Aum.svg" over other depictions of Aum and the Swastika. deeptrivia (talk) 05:58, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
'the particular visual motif I am proposing'? I'm proposing we use the existing Aum graphic. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:12, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Right, that one. Objections can be raised on why it is chosen from among various other depictions, etc. I know it is already being used without any problems thanks to peoples' tolerance. deeptrivia (talk) 06:15, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I see the question of 'which aum' to be highly tangential to this debate - but if you have objections to the current 'aum' symbol, raise 'em. Show us other citations describing the 'motif' of other depictions and why they should be preferred... but I see this as a deflection from the issue. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:20, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

The point I am trying to make is that this particular visual shape (or any other visual representation of the syllable) is not as universally accepted representative of Hinduism as the Swastika is, despite the fact that the syllable Aum is indeed one of the most important symbols in Hinduism. deeptrivia (talk) 06:24, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Seriosly Deeptrivia is right, please. I recomend you read the Upanishads, as the symbol is not described at all. It is a syllable. And usually the Symbol is used to describe the Syllable. — Arjun 05:27, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Wow, this has turned into a serious discussion, where's User:MetsFan now, doesn';t he want to add something when the good juices are flowing? IZAK 07:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Sorry I missed out. Being on the East Coast it was starting to get late and I have to work in the morning. But I did read everything written here and honestly IZAK, I'm just going to sit back and watch you keep putting your foot in your mouth so I really don't need to say anything. MetsFan76 13:22, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
User:IZAK's arguments dont hold water. It is not upto him or anybody to tell me what is holy for me nor interpret its importance for me. Obviously the guys who put swastika in the template knew of its centrality to Hinduism (every Hindu house bears a Swastika). My name is "Amey Aryan", i'm forced to sign my name in Devnagri becuase last year some guy wanted me banned for using "neo-Nazi signature". Though this is a small discomfort i can put up with, i see changing templates is taking this too far.
With all heartfelt sympathies for the editor objecting "Swastika" on tameplate as it causes pain to him/her for Nazis' use of similar sign, I would say that should a proposal come for banning the use of character/characters "N", "Na", "a". "z", "Naz", "i" and the word "Nazi" as they might too remind some editors of Nazi's killing few decades ago? swadhyayee 02:22, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
That comment's absurdity outdoes any prior absurdity on this page. I'm sure you recognize that's neither a logical nor a productive suggestion. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 02:35, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Swastika Section Break 2

Just because Aum is the most sacred doesn't mean that we should completely throw out the Swastika. — Arjun 05:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Absolutely correct. Again, I contend the two should be used in proportion to their relative importance within Hinduism. Currently, the swastika is used far more frequently on WP templates than the two symbols' relative importance within Hinduism (as I've established with citations) would dictate. And all the fervor and revert warring to maintain the swastika is counter-productive to being encyclopedic. I still haven't seen a single citation claiming the swastika is a more important symbol than Aum. Again, SYMBOL - not syllable. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:12, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
As far as I know the Aum is used just as much than the Swastika in the Hinduism templates. Or they are used both in the templates. — Arjun 05:15, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

How do you propose to quantify the relative importance of the two? deeptrivia (talk) 05:16, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Aum is a sound, not a symbol as such. Already said above, some Hindus write Om differently to other Hindus, so we lack uniformity. Are these your sources? [13] [14]. I've never really favored about.com but anyway, the article treats it as a symbol only once but otherwise talks of it as a syllably that represents Brahman while it says clearly:

Swastika is not a syllable or a letter, but a pictorial character in the shape of a cross with branches bent at right angles and facing in a clockwise direction. A must for all religious celebrations and festivals, Swastika symbolizes the eternal nature of the Brahman, for it points in all directions, thus representing the omnipresence of the Absolute.

In your other source. It says The swastika is considered extremely holy and auspicious by all Hindus, holy as well, not just auspicious. And please read this article The swastika is as holy to the Hindus, Jains and Buddhists as it is evil to people from the West. and goes on to discuss it which should cool the people who put pictures of concentration camps up there. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 05:17, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry but no one is arguing the swastika is not holy to Hindus. That is not disputed. If you can provide a citation that the swastika is MORE holy than the Aum, I look forward to reading it. I have provided multiple citations establishing that the Aum SYMBOL is more important and more holy than the swastika. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:21, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
That is not the point at all. Why remove one just because it is not as holy as another, it is just not logical. — Arjun 05:23, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Again, no one is saying it should be removed. It should not be used to excess, however - independently of the fact that it is such a controversial symbol, it is not the symbol most representative of Hinduism - the Aum is. Currently, the overuse of the swastika is misinformative. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:26, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Aum is a syllable, Swastika is a symbol (groan), do Tamil people write Aum differently? In that case can someone write it in Tamil. Why are you so intent on getting rid of the Swastika anyway? We're going on a 5 hour discussion as to whether a symbol of Hinduism should be on Hinduism templates or not. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 05:28, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Unfortunately, we do not have a ranking system for symbols in Hinduism. So it would not be possible to prove one holier than the other. Besides these are two entirely different things as pointed out again and again. deeptrivia (talk) 05:29, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I do believe the above discussion is off-track; but perhaps RyanFreisling, you'd take a look at these templates that display only the Aum symbol and not the swastika:

Does the use of these templates now "balance out" the contended "overuse" of the swastika symbol ? ... or do we need to gather statistics for the number of times, each template is wikilinked ? Abecedare 05:33, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Very good links Abecedare, those templates are some of the most used Templates relating to Hinduism and...they are without Swastika. — Arjun 05:40, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Aum in Tamil lanugage

Okay here we go this is retrieved from teh Aum article.

Aum (also Om or Ohm, ) is the most sacred syllable in Hinduism, symbolizing the infinite Brahman and the entire Universe. This syllable is sometimes called the "Udgitha" or "pranava mantra" (primordial mantra), because it is considered by Hindus to be the primal sound, and because most mantras begin with it. It first appeared prominently in the Vedic Tradition. As a seed syllable (bija), it is also considered holy in Esoteric Buddhism.

This can not be described anymore clear that it is a syllable. — Arjun 05:36, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

That does NOT state that Aum is NOT a symbol. It is a SYMBOL as well as a syllable. They are not mutually exclusive. Do you see that?
Aum, also written "Om" and called pranava, is the most important Hindu symbol"
"Om (Aum) – the most important Hindu symbol, often used as the emblem of Hinduism (see above)." [15]
"Aum (also Om or Ohm, ) is the most sacred syllable in Hinduism, symbolizing the infinite Brahman and the entire Universe" - WP.
"The most important symbol in Hinduism, (the Aum) occurs in every prayer and invocation to most deities begins with it." -- [16].
"The primary symbol of Hinduism is the Aum. Indeed, so sacred is it that it is prefixed and suffixed to all Hindu mantras and incantations." -- [17] -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:46, 5 January 2007 (UTC) and
"Second in importance only to the Om, the Swastika, a symbol which look like the Nazi emblem, holds a great religious significance for the Hindus. " [18]

The Aum image is linked 501 times on Wikipedia and the Hindu Swastika image is linked an 500 times. Note this includes talk pages, statistics came from Image:Aum.svg and Image:HinduSwastika.svg. Happy? Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 05:38, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Talk pages don't really figure into it. I think we'd be best served to know how many templates employ each. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:43, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Om in East Asian Buddhist scripts and Devanagari respectively:
ओम
Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 05:41, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

The problem won't stop there. The question then will be, which of those template are the most important, most used, etc. I can't see the motivation behind carrying on this whole exercise. A case can easily be made for using the Swastika everywhere because of its visual and universal nature. deeptrivia (talk) 05:49, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

A stronger, identical argument (which is actually backed up by citations, as WP requires) can be made for the use of the Aum symbol, with the added bonus of not alienating or offending millions of people. I'm not making it, since I don't want the swastika scoured from WP - but the argument you've made has vacillated from 'Aum is not a symbol' (it is) to 'the Aum symbol is not important' (of course it is). Let's ground this discussion in fact, as provided by WP:RS and WP:V. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:01, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, Aum is a symbol, no doubt, but we need visual symbols to go on templates, not just any symbol, like an audio symbol, although an ogg file with Aum might be a nice addition to the templates. The importance as a "representative" symbol of Hinduism is certainly overrated in western literature. It is very important to those who practice yoga, or chant mantras as priests, although even they cannot carry on any rituals without the swastika. For common masses the aum is not as commonly used as the swastika. Swastika is the people's symbol, and Aum is more of an elitist symbol, and more importantly, the Swaskita is "visual". Also, it is hard to find good articles on Hinduism on the internet, so don't go too much by them. deeptrivia (talk) 06:10, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
This discussion is insane in both its length and its lack of focus. The core issue is whether or not it is appropriate to use a swastika to represent Hinduism. All the blatherskyte about who might be offended because some unbalanced dickwad from another religion chose to misappropriate an alteration of one of Hinduism's most sacred symbols, is...in a word, irrelevant. Can Wikipedia maintain its integrity allowing a swastika to serve as a symbol of Hinduism? I think the answer is yes. Can Wikipedia maintain that integrity by "censoring" the swastika as a respected, if not universal, symbol of Hinduism? I'm pretty sure the answer is a resounding "hell no!", all due apologies to anyone who might find that offensive. Dwelling on the interests of minority groups, such as Arya Samaj, for example (a philosophy with which I'm well familiar, given untold hours of discussion with my Arya Samaj-adherent boss), is really not particularly important in the grand scheme of this discussion. With all due respect to IZAK, with whom I've had more than one disagreement in the past, but still regard as a rational editor, despite this emotionally-motivated "motion" on his part...I think this entire discussion is misbegotten in the extreme. I empathize w/ IZAK regarding the shock he received getting a swastika plastered on his talk page, and with RyanFreisling who lost family in the Sho'a. So did I. I feel, however, that it would be a desecration of their memory to give the mastermind of their deaths, may his name, and those of his ardent followers, be rubbed out, power beyond the grave to dictate human expression forevermore. Tomertalk 06:02, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Shilo - excellent post. If individuals actually take the time to read my argument rather than misattribute a false perspective (two individuals posted to my talk page asking why I 'want to remove the swastika from WP' - which I of course do not - it should be quite clear that we are in agreement. Good night all. Have fun and please assume good faith! -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:28, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Tomer has it right - this argument has gotten far out of hand and was likely unnecessary (at least at this scope) in the first place. Izak can't be blamed for being shocked and disturbed when a large red swastika was placed on his talk page, despite no ill intent by the poster, but it's going too far to call for the removal of swastikas from Hindu-related articles for reasons outlined in great detail above. I tend to agree with those who have suggested that it be removed from the welcome template solely to avoid future misunderstandings - it is in no way out of place or inappropriate there, but replacing it with another symbol (RyanFreisling's suggstion of the Aum is a good one) wouldn't compromise the integrity of the template in any way. As for the presence of the swastika on other pages and templates, that's something that should be left up to members of the Hinduism project to decide, since they obviously have the most knowledge and respect for the subject.
What's especially unnecessary is the villification of other editors that is rife in the discussion. Both sides have valid points to make; both have a strong emotional background to their arguments. No one is being unreasonable with their core arguments - some responses may be strongly worded, but that's only a reflection on the strength of feeling. Taking offense because of a perceived slight is counterproductive, assume good faith unless it's obviously intended as a personal attack, in which case it'll be obvious to everyone. This has potential as a fascinating inter-project discussion on emotional response to symbolism, so let's not waste the opportunity! Dbratton 13:17, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Tomer: The "unbalanced dickwad" you refer to was none other than Adolf Hitler who was the instigator of World War II and the Holocaust, glad to see you're over it all, but history and humanity move a lot, lot slower than that, and not all of us are ready to willingly opt for early cultural alzheimers and spiritual senility. IZAK 07:15, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Aum vs Swastika question

In order not to go back in circles and get waylaid by tangential issues, Ms. Freisling can you please let us know:

  1. What should the "proper" ratio of use of Aum vs Swastika should be ?
  2. How we should determine usage?
    1. Count the number of templates that use each symbol ?
    2. Furthermore, weigh that by the number of times these templates are linked on wikipedia articles ?
    3. Still furthermore, weigh that by how many times those pages are viewed ?

I don't mean to be facetious; simply wish to detremine whether we have an "oversue" problem and if it is resolvable. Thanks. Abecedare 06:32, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

The templates I was aware of used the two symbols in relative equal proportions - and the symbols are not of equal importance. Moreover, one of the symbols is capable of causing grave offense. That would lead an objective individual to utilize them carefully - which appears not to have happened thus far. The claims raised in defense of the swastika have, at times, been as ludicrous as the claims raised to condemn it. I only request that we UNDERSTAND both symbols and their context and make informed, objective decisions. It's not a numerically quantifiable thing - it's a process of good judgment. Dismissing the symbol's impact is as harmful as censoring it. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:36, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Regarding the potential offense that might be cause due to someone ignorant of the symbol's importance in Hinduism, or unwilling to accomodate for it, I want to ask if being politically correct is justified as a policy on wikipedia? deeptrivia (talk) 06:47, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Being considerate is not political correctness. I still think it would be prudent to replace the swastika in the user-space welcome template, while leaving it in in the other templates where the article provides the context. But I repeat myself ... :-) Abecedare 06:52, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

One can consider the effect of one's words, deeds or symbolism without being condemned as 'politically correct'. That term implies that the potential offense is politically motivated, rather than based in fact. As an example, it's not politically correct to avoid calling Jews 'kikes'... it's just considerate. Dismissing my observation as 'political correctness' is an attempt to nullify the validity of the impact the symbol has. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:49, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I would agree that since the user welcome template comes to any user unexpected, and someone might be ignorant about the symbol, or has bad memories associated with it, the swastika could be removed from that particular template on grounds of compassion (rather than justifications such as it is minor/insignificant). There should be no objection to its use anywhere else, though. deeptrivia (talk) 07:01, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Removing the swastika from the welcome template is not necessary, but may be a good idea simply so that we can get rid of the most obvious cause of disturbance and move on. Removing it from any of our article-space templates is absurd, unnecessary, and unacceptable. We have no burden to censor ourselves as a means of appeasing the irrational who cannot wrap their minds around other uses of symbols than those to which they are commonly accustomed. --tjstrf talk 07:05, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Agree except to say that removing it from an article-space template might not be absurd or unacceptable if another image is more effective. Removing it solely to avoid offense is indeed absurd and unacceptable. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 07:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Look, I can't believe such a debate can get so long. Answer me this Ryan, why would putting Aum instead of the Swastika improve Wikipedia when both are symbols of Hinduism. Why are we going to go to the trouble of digging up templates so that we can put things in one users interpretation of the right proportion? If political reasons are set aside, this debate is pointless, too long and doesn't need an end result because the end result won't help or harm Wikipedia whichever direction it goes. NobleeagleTALK C 07:12, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
And you have edited this userbox to get rid of the Swastika. Now why are we changed userboxes? Why are we going to go to all the trouble of changing userboxes? Does the proportion of symbols apply to the userspace as well? I really believe there is a political undertone to this regardless of what everyone says. NobleeagleTALK C 07:14, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
This should not be such a troublesome issue. Template:Messianic Judaism is astronomically more disturbing... Tomertalk 07:17, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Forcing everyone to remove the swastika from their userbox is probably not the best thing. It's their choice to put it up or not. Creating a second box for those who prefer the Ohm (or simply setting a variable that can switch the two at will) is a good idea though. (For me, the most disturbing part of Template:Messianic Judaism is how WP:OWNish a lot of the deletion supporters have been on TfD, but that's just my view.) --tjstrf talk 07:23, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, not to drag that argument here, but the most disturbing part of "that" debate is the extent to which so little thought goes into votes on both sides...something that I think is reflected here as well. The majority of "delete" votes "there" are based on knee-jerk reactions, and the majority of "keep" votes are based on either completely uninformed [or misinformed] opinions about what's going on (mostly by people who haven't bothered to invest more than 12 seconds of research into the issue, as is evidenced by their comments), or by impassioned defenders of the template by people who, SHOCKINGLY! {not!} are "Messianic" Jews. The reason I brought it up here, however, is because of the dismal parallels between the two. Here, the loudest voices screaming "keep the swastika!" are the ones who are obstinately refusing to listen to the slightest murmor of rational for dropping it anywhere, to say nothing of everywhere. The [one] voice demanding its removal thus far, which has been silent for the past 6 hours or so (which hasn't kept his most vociferous detractor from dragging his name into practically every post) has also not been especially willing to listen to argument from "the other side", but has been conspicuously silent, obviating his willingness to let the editors from the Hinduism wikiproject deal with the issue w/o his continued interjections. One might aptly say IZAK stirred up a hornet's nest with this, but the striking thing is that the hornets with the least rational positions are the ones still buzzing around making the most stink about it, to the point where they're actually picking fights with people who, on a sunny day, they wouldn't have said anything but the kindest words. This is getting on the verge of "out of hand", and a few people around here need to seriously review what their arguments are, and whether or not they're actually making sane arguments, or whether or not they're tilting at windmills, which is, in my humble estimation, 90% of where this discussion has gone... Tomertalk 07:36, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Ideologically, my support for the swastika here is based mostly on a strong justgetoveritalready leaning as regards pretty much all historical conflicts. Long cultural memories propagate strife, and wars and racism go on today on the basis of "their" greatgreatgreatgreatgreatgrandparents doing something to "our" greatgreatgreatgreatgreatgreatgrandparents, in an absurdly protracted international game of Hatfields and McCoys. What has been done has been done, looking backwards on it constantly accomplishes nothing. It would almost be refreshing if the official statement of justification for the next aggressor state was simply "we're doing it because we want your land and money", rather than an emotional appeal to something from generations or centuries ago. If people let a single tarnish on the otherwise peaceful history of a geometric design make it taboo for the next century, then I have little hope for humanity. --tjstrf talk 08:13, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
So, you're saying you prefer the Nazis' Lebensraum approach? Tomertalk 08:31, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I was thinking more along the lines of Genghis Khan actually... --tjstrf talk 08:33, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Genghis Khan sought only power and demanded only tribute. What you described is far better encompassed by the philosophy I cited. Neither of them are what I would regard, personally, as justifiable rationales for war, especially not genocidal wars...something Genghis Khan didn't pursue, but the nazis did...but I think this thread is going a bit afar from the actual topic at hand... Tomertalk 08:37, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I do not consider them valid justifications in any way, merely less harmful in the long term than governments teaching racism to support wars. --tjstrf talk 08:42, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
If I might distract you for a moment, can we stick to the subject at hand? Tomertalk 08:50, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
User:IZAK's arguments dont hold water. It is not upto him or anybody to tell me what is holy for me nor interpret its importance for me. Obviously the guys who put swastika in the template knew of its centrality to Hinduism (every Hindu house bears a Swastika). The fact that a dozen Hindus on this page are affirming to the centrality of Swastika should be enough for anyone. My name is "Amey Aryan", i'm forced to sign my name in Devnagri becuase last year some guy wanted me banned for using "neo-Nazi signature". Though this is a small discomfort i can put up with, i see changing templates is taking this too far.
I am aware of Jewish sensitivities vis-a-vis holocaust, but it about the time people stopped dwelling in history. Yes I know how it emotive these issues are, I am a Hindu Sindhi, most of my maternal side of family was murdered during Partition of India...

P.S IZAK as for your 'q' about India and Jews, check Judaism in India, Jews have been in India for over 2000 years, one of the few places where they havent encountered anti-semitism. We even had a Jewish General who played a big part in Bangladesh War, see [19]. अमेय आर्यन DaBrood© 10:07, 5 January 2007 (UTC) अमेय आर्यन DaBrood© 09:42, 5 January 2007 (UTC)


I guess I should not be surprised to see this going on so long. So confusing, so undirected. Both sides have some points to make, but I still find it amazing to want to go in and censor another culture that has existed for thousands of years. It basically strikes me as bullying.--Filll 13:40, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

General reply to MetsFan76: your policy of following Izak around Wikipedia for the purpose of disagreeing with and belittling him at every opportunity is juvenile and inane. While he may react badly to you, one can scarcely blame him - I know that I would get extremely tired of having a tagalong shadow commenting disparagingly on so many of my edits. If you have something to contribute to the discussion, please do so. If you're just here to pester Izak, you're bringing down the discussion for everyone. Dbratton 13:43, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

First off Dbratton, I am not going around "following IZAK". I happened to notice this debate and joined in. While IZAK was going around making a scene and bringing in other editors, he was, at the same time, attacking D-boy. That was juvenile and inane. Second, IZAK is constantly "bringing down discussions" by simply overreacting everytime someone disagrees with him. Wikipedia is not a dictatorship. Things can't change because he wants them to. That's why I got involved here. And for him reacting badly to me, he reacts bad to most people that have different views from him so I think he is the one with the problem; not me. MetsFan76 14:06, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Your edit here[20] seems to contradict you. Either way, your responses to Izak have been unnecessarily confrontational and don't contribute anything to the discussion but ill will. If you have a position to support that doesn't involve degrading him, by all means do so. Dbratton 14:21, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Following him and having him on my watchlist are two separate issues. I have many editors on my watchlist because I like what they have to say. IZAK is a different story as he has a tendency to degrade many editors because he disagrees with them. I don't think that is fair. Furthermore, I don't feel that I have to explain myself to you, however, I will think about what you have said. MetsFan76 14:45, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I have another couple of examples for you:
  • The Klu Klux Klan uses crosses frequently to represent themselves (burning crosses on lawns etc). No one thought that crosses should be abolished based on this however.
  • The star of David was used to represent very bad things by the Nazis. Did the Jews discontinue its use afterwords?
  • The pink triangle was issued by the Nazis to mark those homosexuals to be executed. They have instead recaptured this symbol for their own use and are proud to display it now.
  • The red cross was not used in Muslim countries, and instead a red crescent was used to avoid offending Muslims. The red cross itself did not disappear in the cultures it originated in. Now the red cross and red crescent are displayed together on many materials of the Red cross and red crescent society. Neither symbol was given up by either community, although obviously the red crescent has negative meanings in some places. It was decided to live and let live and not let the past dictate censoring the others symbols.
  • There are synagogues and temples around the world that still have swastikas displayed for historical reasons, since they were part of the building etc before the Nazis. I saw a documentary and the Rabbis said they would not knuckle under to this Tyrant and his misuse of this symbol, that Jews were stronger and more defiant than that.
  • To stop using this symbol is to retire it, almost to honor it, like to stop using a players number in soccer or some other sport when they have done a superlative job. Do we want to honor this Tyrant's misuse of the symbol?
  • This is an encyclopedia, about knowledge and learning. And this symbol is important knowledge about another culture. Lets not censor it.
  • I point this out particularly knowing more Hindus died voluntarily fighting the Nazis, and to stop the Holocaust, than any other group on earth. Hindus welcomed Jews to India millenia ago. There is no animosity between Hindus and Jews here. And we should not be trying to create it with senseless censoring.--Filll 13:57, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    • Personally, it seems to me that the swastika is relevant for usage here. If the members of the project deem it to be the most appropriate symbol, than by all means they could continue to do so. While I can acknowledge that some individuals might have reservations about it for some other external reasons, I believe that any attempt by one interest group to try to coerce another group into unilaterally withdrawing support for what may in fact be their single most holy symbol (given the different written forms of the "aum" syllable in different languages) would show profound disrespect for the people who do view the image as holy. I also note that the image is present on the banner of Wikipedia:WikiProject Jainism as well, and on the sidebar for all articles which fall in the Jainism series. The swastika has a long, proud, significant, and honorable history within Hinduism and Dharmic religions in general, and I cannot see why this project should be coerced into abandoning possibly their single most holy symbol because of another, outside, group. Badbilltucker 14:14, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Oh my. Yes, that swastika does look like a nazi symbol and I'd have been pretty alarmed if I got one on my talk page. Yes, that's my western preconceptions reacting, but come on, this is the en wiki, we're mostly from English-speaking countries here, and those preconceptions are going to be widespread. Imagine there's a religion whose members traditionally greet each other with the word for "peace" in their religion's ancient language. And by some ironic coincidence, the word for "peace" in that language happens to be "fuck". So they make up a welcome template and start leaving messages on new users' talk pages saying "Fuck, new user!!!! Welcome to Wikipedia!". You can see the problem here, that due to those misguided western preconceptions, these messages are going to be pretty jarring. Now up the ante from mere apparent vulgarity to something that (if misinterpreted the obvious even if incorrect way) appears to allude to legalized mass murder and things get ugly.

Come on folks, try to apply some sensitivity to this--communicating effectively with other humans has to allow for the present-day contents of their minds and not just what the symbol meant 100's of years ago. Don't hold out for that symbol if the Aum symbol can be used instead. In the places where you do use it, whenever possible, explain its significance and its venerable history and that it's unfortunate that the nazis ripped it off before springing it on the viewer. Yeah, it really is unfortunate, it's a very cool symbol that's going to have this stigma for a long time because of the nazis, but Wikipedia user-talk pages really aren't the right place to launch a political project to reclaim it.

Regards 67.117.130.181 14:50, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Well the Swastika first of not spammed on everyones talk pages. IT is not like it is the symbol used in the welcome messages. It is used on the templates that welcome users to the Hinduism related content world. Most people understand that this Swastika is of Hinduism nature, not just there to scare you. Once again if you want to get technical compare the nazi swastika with the Hindu Swastika. They are differnt. — Arjun 15:01, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
As humorous as 67.117.130.181's contribution is, I will point out that Wikipedia is not just an American project, or an AngloSaxon project. Wikipedia is a world wide project. And there are more Hindu speakers of English than every other speaker of English combined, probably. They do not have as much access to the internet yet, but they will. So your argument of numbers and westerners etc just does not hold up (and I am writing as a Westerner and nonIndian and nonHindu who had family in the Nazi camps as well and Jewish heritage). So if we censor EVERY cultural icon and symbol that is offensive to someone anywhere, we will end up with a far less useful and far less interesting resource. Have you ever looked at Wikipedia? Do you know how much offensive stuff is here? There is not just a tiny amount, I assure you. As distasteful as some of it is to me, I think that Wikipedia would be far less useful if we censored as you are suggesting. For example, the cross and the star of david might be offensive to some, So might the hammer and sicle and the rising sun and the crescent and star. And many many other symbols and images and words and concepts. Should it all be censored? What will we have left after all that? We are stronger and have a more useful and interesting product if we include ALL of it, offensive or not. The Hindu swastika represents a teaching opportunity to put the past behind us. This is a teaching venue, an encyclopedia. Let the teaching begin!! Just make sure you are willing to learn. --Filll 15:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

At the risk of being inflammatory, I would like to emphasize a point that seems to be lost. Wikipedia is an Encyclopdia. Editors, of whatever religious, ethnic, or political background don't have "rights" regarding how particular articles, templates, etc. appear. It is not a right of the followers of LaRouche to determine the content of LaRouche related articles, or Scientologists to determine the content of Scientology related articles, or Jews to determine the content of Jewish related articles. Nor is it a right of Hindus to determine the content of Hinduism related articles. Obviously, a member of a particular group may well have more expertise related to that group than other editors. A member of a group may have greater interest in writing about topics related to the group than other editors. But a member of the group may also have strong POVs or a desire for self-expression or "group"-expression, which is not found in other editors.

The central purpose of Wikipedia is to provide information. Arguments about "censorship" are inappropriate to Wikipedia unless we are talking about censorship of information, or censorship of editors communicating with one another. When there is no question of suppressing informative content or of suppressing communication between editors, it is inappropriate to raise a hue and cry about censorship of a group's right to express itself. As far as the content of Wikipedia goes, groups have no distinct right to self-expression.

If we allowed religious groups self-expression, then mentions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad would be accompanied with "Peace be upon him", for that is how Muslims show their respect for Muhammad. It is important for those unfamiliar with Islam to learn how Muslims show their respect for Muhammad. And we have articles for that purpose. We don't need to distribute that lesson throughout Wikipedia. The Swastika is most certainly a widely used symbol in Hinduism (and other Dharmic religions). It certainly has a different meaning when used by Hindus than when used by Nazis. That lesson is brought out in a number of Wikipedia articles. However, that lesson, also, does not need to be distributed throughout all of the Hinduism related articles.

However, this dispute is finally resolved, I sincerely hope that we can shift the debate from some of its current focal points. Sincerely, --BostonMA talk 15:29, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

The lesson argument was a side comment, an added benefit being pointed out, not the main reason why the swastika needs to be on templates. I don't think adding the most important visual motif in Hinduism on the templates compare at all with the PBUH stuff. deeptrivia (talk) 16:05, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Without erupting the debate again, I still haven't seen any citations to establish that the swastika is 'the most important visual motif' in Hinduism. I'd be interested to read (and learn from) such a source. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 16:07, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I can't find any specific sources right away myself. However, it is indicated in the Swastika article, particularly the Swastika#History section, that the swastika is an ancient religious symbol dating back to the days of the Indo-Europeans (which is seemingly why Adolf Hitler appropriated it). The article also indicates that the swastika is to be found in African and Native American cultures, which could indicate even an earlier start. Generally, speaking from some degree of knowledge of cultural anthropology/history of religions, the more ancient the symbol, the higher regard it is held in, as more stories and legends have accrued around it. Badbilltucker 16:17, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I think it is irrelevant for this discussion whether it is the most important symbol in Hinduism, or the 2nd most important, or the 3rd, and in which contexts is it important. It is obvious it is important, and not the 50th or 100th most important symbol in Hinduism, that we can agree on. That is probably partly responible for it having being chosen by that Butcher. --Filll 16:18, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Should we demand that Phuket Thailand change its name to avoid offending anyone? Bangkok Thailand? And many other places? Should we demand that Beijing still be known as Peking because we are more familiar with Peking in Western culture?--Filll 16:21, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Here are some other Nazi symbols. Should they be banned too?

  • [21] Life rune, used in pagan religions
  • [22] Valknot, used in pagan religions
  • [23] Othala rune
  • [24] Tyr rune
  • [25] Celtic cross (maybe by Nazis but by KKK)
  • [26] Kiss band logo, which has S's resembling sig runes, the SS bolt symbol of Nazis; recall that Gene Simmons is an Israeli-born Jew. Is this an example of a Jew reclaiming and appropriating a Nazi symbol for his own use, to render it powerless? Like black americans using the word "nigger"? Like homosexual males using the words "fag" and "queer"? Like lesbians using the word "cunt"?--Filll 16:39, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
As pointed out previously, no one is proposing a ban on the use of the Swastika, nor is anyone proposing that Hindus change their symbols. Therefore the argument about what to do about Phuket and the rest serves to inflame passions, but doesn't address the actual proposal. Please try to address the arguments that are actually raised. Sincerely, --BostonMA talk 19:13, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

About Polling

Polls are intended to take a survey - not to establish consensus. Please see the guidelines, at WP:POLL and Wikipedia:Discuss, don't vote. Specifically:

Straw poll guidelines

Editors considering an article-related straw poll must remember that polling should be used with care (if at all), and should not invoke straw polls prematurely. Note that straw polling cannot serve as a substitute for debate and consensus; that no straw poll is binding on editors who do not agree; and that polling may aggravate rather than resolve existing disputes.

Straw polls regarding article content are often inconclusive and sometimes highly contentious. In order to have a chance of being productive, editors must appreciate the following:

  1. The ultimate goal of any article discussion is consensus, and a straw poll is helpful only if it helps editors actually reach true consensus.
  2. For that reason, article straw polls are never binding, and editors who continue to disagree with a majority opinion may not be shut out from discussions simply because they are in the minority. Similarly, editors who appear to be in the majority have an obligation to continue discussions and attempts to reach true consensus.
  3. For the same reason, article straw polls should not be used prematurely. If it is clear from ongoing discussion that consensus has not been reached, a straw poll is unlikely to assist in forming consensus and may polarize opinions, preventing or delaying any consensus from forming.
  4. Similarly, if a straw poll is inconclusive, or if there is disagreement about whether the question itself was unfair, the poll and its results should simply be ignored.
  5. Once responses to a straw poll have begun, even minor changes to the phrasing of the poll are likely to result in an all out battle over whether the poll itself was fair. Consider proposing straw poll language several days prior to opening the actual poll to responses, and beginning the poll only once you have consensus on the precise question to be asked.
  6. Core principles, such as NPOV and article sourcing, are obviously not subject to straw polls. People have been known to vote on a fact, which is ultimately pointless.
  7. Editors should exercise extreme care in requesting that others participate in a straw poll. See votestacking and campaigning.
  8. The purpose of a straw poll is to stimulate discussion and consensus. Editors should evaluate the explanations that the participants in a straw poll offer, and should see if those explanations help to develop their own opinions or suggest compromise. In this context, a few well reasoned opinions may affect a debate much more than several unexplained votes for a different course.
  9. In the context of Wikipedia articles, straw polls are most helpful, if ever, in evaluating whether a consensus exists or in "testing the waters" of editor opinion among a few discrete choies such as two choices for an article's name. Even in these cases, straw polls may never be understood as creating a consensus, but merely as one tool in developing a mutual and voluntary consensus.
  10. Straw polls should not be used excessively. If a straw poll was called on an issue recently, there is usually no reason to call a second poll, even if you think that consensus may have changed or that the first poll was conducted unfairly. If you disagree with the "majority" opinion, simply remember that the straw poll is not binding and continue discussions.
  11. The words "vote", "voter" and "voting" should be avoided because it will convey the wrong impression about a straw poll. Better words are "straw poll", "participant" and "discussion".
Thankyou for going over stuff that I already commented on in the "Consensus" section that you locked. (Ghostexorcist 00:44, 6 January 2007 (UTC))
Which you then reverted and another editor deleted again. This is a classic incorrect use of a poll and is decidedly unproductive, only less so than your original poll idea. What was at first your dumb idea (using a poll to hopelessly try to establish consensus rather than survey what is already known) is still a dumb idea now. And check it again - I didn't lock anything. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 00:47, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
And that comment comes from the guy preaching good faith and civil attitude. What you did was vandalism. Don't get made because people are wanting to protest the change. We all know it's not binding. It just shows who wants what where. (Ghostexorcist 01:03, 6 January 2007 (UTC))
So shall I archive the new one as well? --tjstrf talk 00:52, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Not up to me, I hold no more power or authority than any other editor - I've simply held myself to the standards of WP: not personalizing the dispute, backing up my perspectives with verifiable facts, considering and attempting to understand the perspectives of others and working towards reasonable and encyclopedic consensus. I have to oppose this ill-considered poll if I'm going to continue to do the best to work within the guidelines of WP. I
If it were up to me, we'd continue to discuss it, to try to address what appear to be continuing concerns that this discussion is motivated by racism or insensitivity to Hindus - and avoid polls assiduously. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 00:58, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Obviously not just up to you, but having at least a couple people in agreement as to the applicability of an idea is a good thing. I'll take that as a yes. Also, we really need to figure out some way of specifying which sections here are still active. --tjstrf talk 01:03, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't see any reason to stop discussing it just because there's a poll available. We are still free to hash anything out separately, and should do so. While it wasn't my idea to have this poll, I'm not opposed to it - this discussion had gotten unmanageable, and it was difficult to figure out who was arguing what. (I actually stopped when I was edit conflicted 8 straight times - that was enough for me.) It was nice to have short, plain statements of where people stood on this one particular issue. (For example, it turns out that a lot of the people who were arguing vehemently about more general points were nonetheless not opposed to the proposed action. That's useful to know, and may help build consensus.) And although it didn't happen, it could have been the case that although people disagreed on the more general issues, they all agreed to take the proposed action. Had that been the case, and we had all been in agreement, it could have saved quite a lot of back and forth. In any case, this poll isn't an end to discussion - it's a tool for discussion, and should be the jumping-off place to further conversation.--TheOtherBob 01:10, 6 January 2007 (UTC) (3x EC'ed)


Straw poll


Another straw poll

I disagree with the characterization of these as "failed" straw polls. They weren't votes, but rather discussions to see where the debate was and how close we were to consensus. In that vein, I'd call them helpful. --TheOtherBob 01:12, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Alright, I'll remove the word from the headers. However, they were unnecessary and at least the first one was definitely set up as a vote, not a discussion poll. --tjstrf talk 01:16, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Another patent misuse of polls. Polls are not discussion and have decidedly different results, often exacerbating problems when used incorrectly. WP:POLLS, Wikipedia:Discuss, don't vote. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 01:14, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

archiving

I'm going to archive this page in a couple of days.--D-Boy 17:06, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Thanks, and I hope the argument above ends by then. :) Badbilltucker 17:14, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
  • I support this entire discussion being archived soon. There was no consensus, in either of the straw polls, or in the equally good discussions here, to remove the swastika from even the talk template. Further discussion isn't going to change that. Let's respect the views of the community, and move on. ॐ Priyanath talk 01:23, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Maybe it is just my imagination, but I think the combined outrage and reasoning by numerous people seem to have drowned out the opposition. Maybe they are not convinced, but maybe they are resigned or at least not quite so sure that their arguments will carry the day.--Filll 17:43, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Actually, I've made my argument and I still haven't seen a single citation to establish the swastika as the symbol of Hinduism. I've provided a half dozen independent sources that establish the fact the Aum symbol is a more important symbol of Hinduism than the swastika. However, if fervent, repetitive and sealed-ear screams of 'censorship' like yours should triumph over logical arguments of relative value of the symbols in question, so be it. WP is ever changing and nothing is permanent. Wabi Sabi. There's always tomorrow. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 17:52, 5 January 2007 (UTC)


Why must you say this over and over. Even if the Swastika isn't the main symbol of Hinduism why remove the Swastika. That would be like removing all the images from templates except for one. What do you have against the Swastika? Also many born Hindus here have stated that it is a very, very important symbol. Why ignore them? — Arjun 17:55, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I have not argued for removing the swastika outright - my argument has been clear and consistent. Utilizing the swastika on WP to represent Hinduism should be in proportion to whether the symbol actually represents Hinduism, and to what extent other symbols represent Hinduism. The issue of the offense other individuals take from the swastika should also be considered in the equation. Loud cries of 'don't remove it' or 'censorship' seem to me to be conscious efforts to distract the debate, in order to preserve the symbol... irrespective of its' encyclopedic value.-- User:RyanFreisling @ 18:02, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Ryan, I don't think that there's any question that the Hindu Swastika is one of the main symbols of Hinduism, and in the opinion of some, the main symbol. There has been more than enough emotion on both sides (I agree that cries of 'censorship' are emotional in this context, but I also think that your emotions are not allowing you to see that the swastika is a main symbol of Hinduism). I think that it's best to put this to rest, and keep the symbol as is. My personal preference is the Aum symbol, but enough Hindus have said they want to keep the swastika on that template, and in other places, that it should stay. You'll also see that if you click on the image of the Hindu Swastika, there is a very good explanation of its religious significance. This gives it proper context, and will help to educate people who want to learn - which is the purpose of an encyclopedia, after all is said done. ॐ Priyanath talk 18:08, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Obviously, on WP Hindus are not in any way more privileged to decide the issue than non-Hindus. And I myself provided a link establishing that the swastika is 'second only to the Aum' in religious importance. Please do not falsely discount my argument by claiming I am denying what I myself have taken the time to cite. The swastika is a very important (and very controversial) symbol, the Aum more important and far less controversial. This should be a basis of learning, not defense of religious pride or ethnic 'ownership' over symbols (Hindu or Hebrew). In any case, I believe the disagreements here belie the fact that in essence, many of us are saying the same things... and a few of us take very extreme and distorted positions like 'censorship' and 'swastika = Nazism'. Both extreme positions are wrong. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 18:15, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Ryan, I was responding to your statement above: I still haven't seen a single citation to establish the swastika as the symbol of Hinduism. Hinduism is unlike other religions. I doubt that there will ever be one main symbol of Hinduism. Or one that could be called the symbol of Hinduism. For some Hindus, it is the main symbol of their religion, and since this is an encyclopedia, it's an opportunity to educate people about that. In fact, that's been happening (education, that is) in this discussion, for some people. ॐ Priyanath talk 18:25, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Agreed - but I've provided citations that state that the Aum symbol is the symbol of Hinduism and have seen none that make the claim that it is not. WP is driven by citation, not by individual views asserted loudly without support. I do look forward to learning more about the issue and I am grateful for your cool head and wisdom. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 18:27, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
The response I have is not so much about it being the "main" symbol of Hinduism, as perhaps, given the wide variety of beliefs in the Hinduism "tent", one of the few, if not the only, universally recognized symbols of Hinduism. The weakness of the various "aum" symbols is in the fact that they are in one language or another, which not all Hindus see as being of the same value. Also, I really have to question, at least to myself, whether such a horrific misuse of an older symbol, such as happened to the swastika, really should make the use of the symbol such a subject of dispute. My first reaction would be to try to use it more, not less, in the hope of trying to better inform people about its original real use, not the easy shortcut it has become in much of the more popular, less encyclopedic, media. And, again, if there is a strong negative, possibly basically emotional, reaction to such a symbol, maybe we should try to work quite a bit harder to try to restore it to its original, more positive, symbolic usage. And, I once again mention that the symbol is not only used by Hindus, but also clearly by Jains, as per the Jainism page and its project banner. Badbilltucker 18:21, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
In my humble opinion. using the symbol more, not less, in hopes of desensitizing or educating individuals about the symbol (especially in light of the use of the symbol by the Nazis) would be a serious violation of WP:POINT. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 18:24, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree, but the Swastika isn't used more than AUM. — Arjun 18:26, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I hope you're right. The results of my cursory scan (combined with the serial reverting of the three templates I changed - which I have not re-reverted) said otherwise. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 18:29, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
He hee, I find it kind of Ironic that we are discussing this on the talk page of WP:HINDU. Look at the project page and you will find about 7 Aums, and 0 Swastikas. — Arjun 18:31, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I noticed that too. Of course besides the template, the majority of the other Aums appear to be inline, addressing the issue of symbology. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 18:33, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Ryan, what exactly do you think is the solution.nids(♂) 18:32, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Pretty much what I mentioned above: The templates I was aware of used the two symbols in relative equal proportions - and the symbols are not of equal importance. Moreover, one of the symbols is capable of causing grave offense. That would lead an objective individual to utilize them carefully - which appears not to have happened thus far. The claims raised in defense of the swastika have, at times, been as ludicrous as the claims raised to condemn it. I only request that we UNDERSTAND both symbols and their context and make informed, objective decisions. It's not a numerically quantifiable thing - it's a process of good judgment. Dismissing the symbol's impact is as harmful as censoring it. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 18:34, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
And seeming to blame the symbol itself for an impact on people which the symbol itself had no part in is clearly an attempt to establish a point-of-view. The symbol is not in and of itself harmful, but only its specific usage by one small group. And basically telling one group of people that they have to be on guard because of offense which might be taken by another group could be seen as being offensive as well.Badbilltucker 18:41, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Indeed - blaming a symbol for the acts of those who murdered millions beneath its banner would be wrong. But denying or minimizing the real and lasting impact the use of the swastika in the 20th century has had would be far more harmful. Let's not do that. Let's also not pit Hindus vs. Jews. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 18:44, 5 January 2007 (UTC)


I too think that it is irrelevant whether Swastika is the most, or 2nd most or ... holy symbol in Hinduism. But since lack of citation attesting its importance has been raised as an issue, here is a quote from Encyclopedia Britannica [27] (emphasis added):

"The word is derived from the Sanskrit svastika, meaning 'conducive to well-being'. ... In India the swastika continues to be the most widely used auspicious symbol of Hindus, Jainas, and Buddhists. Among the Jainas it is the emblem of their seventh Tirthankara (saint) and is also said to remind the worshiper by its four arms of the four possible places of rebirth—in the animal or plant world, in hell, on Earth, or in the spirit world."

Again, I readily concede that this is not necessarily the universal opinion, and given the big tent of Hinduism, other sources will claim that aum is more widely used. Also we can get into technical arguments whether "most widely used" implies "most important" and vice-versa - but hopefully (optimism reigns supreme! :-) ) we won't get further distracted. Abecedare 18:45, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Just as an aside - thank you very much for the citation. However, the link you provided doesn't contain that text. What I saw on that page was "The swastika as a symbol of prosperity and good fortune is widely distributed throughout the ancient and modern world." Not as a symbol as Hinduism per-se. Is there a link I need to click? Do I need to be amember? Again, thank you for making an effort to provide citations. Most appreciated. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 18:49, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the source does need institutional access or paid membership. But I hope you'll assume good faith in my not misquoting. Abecedare 18:52, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I'll see if I can get an account as a student. Honest thanks, and no, I don't doubt your citation... good faith is well-warranted. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 18:54, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I quoted the 2nd paragrph from the source above. Here is the third. The remaining two deal with Buddhism and nazism and I'll refrain from quoting those keeping fair use considerations in mind:

"The Hindus (and also Jainas) use the swastika to mark the opening pages of their account books, thresholds, doors, and offerings. A clear distinction is made between the right-hand swastika, which moves in a clockwise direction, and the left-hand swastika (more correctly called the sauvastika), which moves in a counterclockwise direction. The right-hand swastika is considered a solar symbol and imitates in the rotation of its arms the course taken daily by the Sun, which in the Northern Hemisphere appears to pass from east, then south, to west. The left-hand swastika more often stands for night, the terrifying goddess Kali, and magical practices."

Abecedare 18:55, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

The symbol Ganesha is a symbol also used very frequently in the beginning of accounting books, etc. to bring good luck. And the Aum symbol is used in the same way, as I cited above. Perhaps we should open the field to more symbols if that's a reasonable criteria for use to represent Hinduism on WP templates.
As above, here's another new cite that discusses the role of the Aum 'SYMBOL', it's visual meaning and use:
"The Symbol OM (AUM): Just as the sound of Om represents the four states of Brahman, the symbol Om written in Sanskrit also represents everything. The material world of the waking state is symbolized by the large lower curve. The deep sleep state is represented by the upper left curve. The dream state, lying between the waking state below and the deep sleep state above, emanates from the confluence of the two. The point and semicircle are separate from the rest and rule the whole. The point represents the turiya state of absolute consciousness. The open semicircle is symbolic of the infinite and the fact that the meaning of the point can not be grasped if one limits oneself to finite thinking." [28]
Food for thought. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 18:58, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
If you do look up EB, also check out the article on Om [29] , which clearly labels it a syllable tracing its use to the Upanishads and Puranas. The only mention of symbol in the article is in the following sentence: "From the 6th century, the written symbol designating the sound is used to mark the beginning of a text in a manuscript or an inscription." This again, is provided only from a "for your information" persepective - IMO this syllable/symbol distinction is tangential to the debate. Abecedare 19:06, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Agreed - but I would point out that the discussion of OM as a syllable does not preclude its importance as a symbol. As you say though - it's highly tangential and a distration. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 19:15, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Consensus ?

Is anyone here still arguing that the swastika should be totally removed from all templates? That seemed to be a position that was put forward early on, but I don't think it was followed up on very much, if at all. As far as I can tell, no one for quite a few dozen edits has suggested such a thing, and there seems to be quite a clear consensus among all editors that it's unnecessary. What about the suggestion of replacing it only on the welcome template that's often posted to the talk page of editors after they make their first edit to a Hinudism-related article? It would prevent any future misunderstandings, remove the discomfort of some with having such a symbol on their talk pages, and is such a minor change that it would hardly reduce the visibility of the symbol at all. Thoughts? Dbratton 19:02, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Your proposal seems quite logical. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 19:03, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Makes sense to me. Personally, I didn't know there was such a template, but I can see how a person who has only ever seen the swastika as being related to the Nazis, particularly if they are of Jewish extraction, might react negatively and stop working on the articles altogether. That falls more clearly in the area of good advertising, which is an entirely different subject. Badbilltucker 19:06, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
You all know I support that suggestion wholeheartedly [30] :-) Abecedare 19:11, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Excellent. I didn't mean to make it sound like my idea, I just couldn't find it to reference in the morass above. It's definitely the most rational (and only?) compromise that's been offered, and I support it wholeheartedly. :) Dbratton 20:18, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I've already supported it [31] but only on grounds mentioned by Dbratton, and absolutely not based on arguments that the any particular shape of Aum more suitable a motif for the template that the shape of swastika. deeptrivia (talk) 19:50, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
And on that point we still disagree - I've provided numerous objective cites to support the view that the Aum symbol is a more appropriate symbol to represent Hinduism than the swastika... regardless of the Nazi affiliation. As I said, there's always tomorrow. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 20:05, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree with deeptrivia and Dbratton - using the swastika on the template can, and obviously did, cause a serious misunderstanding and hurt. But in other places, keep it as a symbol of Hinduism, which it is after all. ॐ Priyanath talk 20:19, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Absolutely - but don't use it an excessive percentage of the time, compared with the Aum - which has been demonstrated to be a more important symbol of Hinduism. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 20:24, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
It should be possible to freely use it, since it is the most important shape in Hinduism - as has been demonstrated. The only argument worth discussing here was whether a concession should be made for those few who might have an irrational phobia/hatred of the symbol, and my opinion is that it's okay if it can save us some time. deeptrivia (talk) 02:00, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
'Has been demonstrated'? How? The only link you bothered to provide demonstrated the opposite. Cite, please. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 02:33, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Demonstrated that "Swastika" is second only to Aum as a symbol (ref:you), and Aum is not a shape but a sound symbol. Simple. deeptrivia (talk) 05:10, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
'Aum is not a shape'? Another one of your little gems. Cite, please. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:12, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

I have been bold, and made the change to {{Hindu Links}} (Welcome template). Hopefully the current consensus will hold. Thanks to Ms. Fresling fro proving the Red Aum image ! Abecedare 20:34, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I have been similarly bold in re-applying your edit after an immediate and bad-spirited revert. People, please. We're working in good faith here. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 20:41, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Excuse me? You produce a lie, stating a consensus is made here when none exists, then maintain the deletion of the swastika, and you dare to call my revert "bad-spirited"? I've been considerate in not expressing how comically ridiculous I find it that a Ryan is lecturing an Arjun (and howmanysoever other Hindus here) on the relative importance of Hindu religious symbols. What exactly is your qualification to make any comment on this matter? There is no consensus, and the only acts of 'bad faith' evident right now is you maligning other participants here as a means of resolving differences. Tfoi 02:37, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
I never said we'd achieved consensus. Please act from fact, not fervor. Moreover, racist comments attempting to minimize a user with a non-Hindu name, and accusing me of 'maligning' people (which I certainly did not - please cite?) are personal attacks. I'll ask you to conduct yourself with the same respect for others that I have. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 02:40, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Reading through the above discussions, it is far from clear that there is any consensus. To declare a consensus where there is none, and then to change the templates while the discussion is clearly ongoing, is to my mind stretching the concept of 'good faith' to breaking point. DuncanHill 20:59, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I still object. censoring the the symbol is only going to bring about ignorance to the symbol and always equate it to the nazis. We don't remove the cross and the cresent. Those symbols respresent more people killed than the holocaust. I love jews. I don't understand why you're persecuting one of the only people who have never presecuted you and given you safe haven. Jews even used the same symbol in their temples.--D-Boy 21:03, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Neither censorship, nor persecution is taking place - those arguments are a blatant and vile strawman. It is becoming clear that these arguments are not intended to achieve consensus. You are defending the use of a symbol against logic itself, having provided no citations or facts, merely accusing others of censorship and persecution, and trying to frame the debate as Hindus vs. Jews. The height of bad faith indeed. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 21:07, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Just to be clear there is no plan to censor the swastika off wikipedia, or even to replace it on any template, except the {{Hindu Links}} (Welsome template), for reasons that I have further paraphrased here. I would fully accept if my reading of "current consensus" turns out to be inaccurate (note the "?" I included in the section title- I am not declaring consensus, just questioning if we are approaching one), but would appreciate the courtesy of being creadited with good faith. Thanks. Abecedare 21:10, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

  • I concur wholeheartedly with the proposed change to the welcome template, if it will bring us all to an agreement on this issue.
    I, however, see no feasibility to any sort of percentage guaging of swastika use on other templates, since there is no objective standard to which this could be held. I further suggest that the application of symbols on any idividual templates simply be left to the layout editors and designers of those templates, who may use the Ohm, Swastika, both, or even neither as space permits. --tjstrf talk 21:23, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Even if it were possible to come up with an objective way to do it, I would still oppose such a motion. The change to the welcome template is accepted not on the grounds that Aum as a shape is more important than the Swastika, but as a concession to those who choose not to come out of their irrational phobia for the symbol. Therefore it does not apply to other templates. deeptrivia (talk) 02:03, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
You're welcome to object to the premise that the Aum represents Hinduism more directly than does the swastika - but so far you've decided against providing any citations or sources to support your conclusion. The only cite you provided (mine) demonstrated quite the opposite. The difference between opinion and fact is verifiability. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 02:32, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
  • A Hindu swastika is not a Nazi swastika. This should be no more objectionable or controversial than using eagle iconography. I see no evidence that the overreaction to this image is anything more than a fluke, a freak explosion from an editor with more concern for pushing an agenda than with civility or tolerance for other cultures. If anything, it will do people good to become more aware and tolerant of Hindu culture by being exposed more regularly to the swastika as a Hindu religious symbol; the less often people are exposed to the symbol as such, the more it will continue to be dominated in the Western consciousness by its Nazi usage. Just as the pink triangle has been successfully converted from a symbol of oppression to a symbol of hope through its positive usage, the Hindu swastika should be encouraged, not censored, in order to steadily dilute, and eventually altogether erode, the hatred, anger, and fear that something as silly as a few squiggly lines should never be able to evoke. Not that this, of course, is reason in itself to include the image in the templates; its inclusion should be based on its notability (which seems to be significant, even if it is not as great as the Aum). However, this argument against allowing the Nazi usage to corrupt the Hindu usage (as opposed to the other way around) at least rebuts the claim that it would be best for us to hide the image from new users for the sake of avoiding potential conflict. The possibility of such conflict recurring is very low, and if it does the problem will be with the user, not with the image. -Silence 02:56, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
The last time that argument was made above ('use it more to densensitize users'), it was clear that that would be a major violation of WP:POINT. WP does not exist to change world opinion, it's an encyclopedia.
The encyclopedic value of the symbols employed (and not a desire to sway public opinion) should determine their relative use. I've demonstrated with citations that the Aum is a more applicable symbol to represent Hinduism (on a welcome template without context, for example) and so far, even a change to the welcome template has been opposed and serially reverted amidst cries of racism, censorship, persecution and calls for its wider use. That's illogic and groupthink, not consensus.
Re: offense... the reactions of many to the symbol since its use by the Nazis at the beginning of the 20th century is a separate but not insignificant reality. Your view of 'the probability of offense occuring is very low' is not demonstrated by recent events, nor by citations. Quite the opposite - the swastika article itself discusses the ongoing impact of the symbol on various cultures, Asian and Western alike. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 03:02, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Allah is probably the most important thing in Islam. "Allah.svg" is a particular way to write Allah in a particular script. Similarly, "Aum.svg" is a particular way to write Aum in a particular script. Just like the importance of Allah in Islam makes the strokes in "Allah.svg" somewhat special, similar is the speciality in the strokes of "Aum.svg". But clearly, both these motifs are not "the most important motifs" in their respective religions, the supreme importance of the concept of Allah and the sound of Aum notwithstanding. Does this help? deeptrivia (talk) 03:20, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

For all the editors here

200px

My honest thanks for a spirited debate - and my honest wishes for good faith and happiness for everyone who has participated - no matter their POV. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 18:33, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I fail to see sense

I fail to see why we are spending hours and hours debating over whether one symbol should be used in one template. Ryan's persistent comment that he wants Aum and the Swastika to be used in the right proportions doesn't hold, because the welcome template contains both, are we meant to increase the size of the Aum and decrease the size of the Swastika to match proportions?? And why the sudden rush by everyone to make Hindu templates have the right proportions of symbols? Does it decrease people's knowledge or increase their knowledge when they see a non-Nazi Swastika on a Hindu template? Forget the citations, someone just tell me WHY it is important that we remove the Swastika if not for political reasons. HOW does it help Wikipedia if we remove the Swastika and replace it by the Aum symbol and WHY were people removing Swastika's from userspace templates? I fail to see sense in this unnecessarily long debate. Please just keep this thread to discuss the point of the debate for now without worrying about the result which can be discussed in the above "Consensus?" thread. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 04:26, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

No one is advocating 'removing' the swastika. But for a welcome page, to a user just beginning to edit Hinduism articles, it can easily be misperceived as offensive - and already has been. Equating the Aum and the Swastika by putting them side to side is an inaccurate representation of their relative importance to Hinduism. Replacing the Swastika with the Aum (not removing the swastika) on such a template (which provides no context) is informative... refusing to do so in order to 'protect' or 'educate' about the symbol (rather than Hinduism) is misinformative. Use the most important symbol, and one that doesn't have the horrid association with Nazism, for a welcome template. As far as the relative proportion, I've made the argument and I stand by it... If the swastika is used disproportionately to its actual meaning, it's similarly misinformative.
You're right, the discussion is far too long and far too filled with baseless allegations of racism, persecution, political correctness, and patently false claims about the swastika being 'as the cross is to christians'. You may want to ignore cites, but I provided numerous ones stating that 'As the cross is to Christians the AUM (not the swastika) is to Hindus'. You may wish to dismiss them, but verifiable citations are how facts (not passions) inform articles.
At its' core, it's a question of 'good manners' - if a good host has a choice between two symbols with which to welcome someone to his faith, and one of them is less representative of his faith while simultaneously being associated with grave and evil acts by those outside the faith, a good host will choose the former over the latter when given a choice and will see no persecution. A good host will not place a lesson on the doorstep... he will welcome and then teach, with respect. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 04:46, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

The relative proportion argument doesn't make sense in a welcome template with both the Swastika and the Aum, you can't deny its important to Hinduism. Anyway, I'll make a summary of the point of this debate:

  • The debate relates to only the Welcome Template
  • The debate relates to swapping the Swastika with an Aum on that template
  • The reasoning for this is that the Swastika can be considered offensive to Europeans and the Aum symbol will be less offensive to new users to the Hindu Wikiproject.

The whole Swastika importance thing was simply to prove that the Swastika isn't vital to Hinduism and can be replaced, wasn't it Ryan? I'm not presenting my opinions on any of this within my thread. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 05:24, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree with your three summary points completely. However, regarding your sideways suggestion that I bear ulterior motives... I have absolutely no other motives than achieving maximum encyclopedic value, and my actions reflect that completely. In the interests of collaboration, I'll ask you nicely not to impugn my motives (nor anyone else's) so readily in the future. If the facts are that the swastika is second to the Aum symbol in importance and in representing Hinduism (as the objective cites showed), how is bringing these facts to Wikipedia discussions about those symbols in any way a detriment to the accuracy of the encyclopedia? What 'opinions' are you suggesting I hold that I have not expressed clearly and considerately? Before you answer - please remember to Wikipedia:Assume good faith. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:33, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

It's been repeated again and again that the importance of Swastika and the Aum *cannot* be compared, let alone be ranked. These are entirely different type of things. Let alone references from obscure sites on the internet, even the Encarta encyclopedia had serious problems see this and this. These scholars have a long way to go before they can write any sensible articles on Hinduism, but we can do much better on wikipedia than degrading our own articles by citing these sources. deeptrivia (talk) 06:25, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

It's been claimed, but not substantiated. A comparison between the two symbols HAS been provided in numerous citations that establishes the opposite - that the two symbols are comparable and the Aum bears greater significance and represents Hinduism - but you persistently ignore that while providing NO cites to back your views, despite saying that you have. That's being disingenuous. Repetition without verifiability (and in the face of numerous verifiable citations containing evidence to the contrary) is disruptive. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:28, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
I think the fact that Aum is a syllable and the Swastika is a visual design is enough substantiation. Why is sound more important than light? deeptrivia (talk) 06:33, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
This old argument again? Disproven numerous times, the fact that it is both clearly invalidates your artificial distinction and apparent desire to avoid dealing with the truth of the meaning of the Aum SYMBOL in comparison to the swastika. EVERY cite I provided speaks to the role of the SYMBOL, not the SYLLABLE. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:34, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Let me repeat this too yet again. Syllables can be symbols. Visual motifs can be symbols. Even intangible things can have symbolic value. The syllable Aum is obviously a symbol. It symbolizes Brahman. As I have mentioned before, "symbol" is too general a word. For templates need a "visual" motif. What was the representative symbol of Hinduism before the Devanagari script came to existence in relatively recent past? It is a very minority position that the visual aspect of that particular design has anything of importance. Unless actually chanted, Aum has no value, while drawing the Swastika is auspicious in itself. deeptrivia (talk) 06:42, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Nonsense. Cite that. All of your interesting observations about the definition and nature of symbols and motifs aside, and your false statements about 'the Aum symbol having no value unless chanted', If you want to prove your opinion that the importance of the Aum symbol cannot be compared to the Swastika symbol, cite it. Until then, it's unsubstantiated opinion in the face of verifiable fact. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:46, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
It's common knowledge about mantras. Read Introduction completely. deeptrivia (talk) 06:54, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
You continue to deflect. When one relies on the phrase 'Common knowledge', the truth is rarely either. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 07:17, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Pasting it here for everyone's benefit. Emphasis is mine. deeptrivia (talk) 06:59, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Mantras have some features in common with spells in general, in that they are a translation of the human will or desire into a form of action. Indeed, Dr. Edward Conze, a scholar of Buddhism, frequently translated "mantra" as "spell". As symbols, sounds are seen to effect what they symbolise. Vocal sounds are frequently thought of as having magical powers, or even of representing the words or speech of a deity. For the authors of the Hindu scriptures of the Upanishads, the syllable Aum, itself constituting a mantra, represents Brahman, the godhead, as well as the whole of creation. Merely pronouncing this syllable is to experience the divine in a very direct way. Kūkai suggests that all sounds are the voice of the Dharmakaya Buddha -- i.e. as in Hindu Upanishadic and Yogic thought, these sounds are manifestations of ultimate reality. Accepted scholarly etymology links the word with "manas" meaning "mind" and 'trâna' for protection.
For many cultures it is the written letters that have power -- the Hebrew Kabbalah for instance, or the Anglo-Saxon Runes. Letters can have an oracular function even. But in India special conditions applied that meant that writing was very definitely inferior to the spoken word. The Brahmins were the priestly caste of the Aryan peoples. It was they that preserved the holy writings -- initially the Vedas, but later also the Upanishads. For years, they were the only ones who knew the mantras or sacred formulas that had to be chanted at every important occasion. However, with the advent of egalitarian Hindu schools of Yoga, Vedanta, Tantra and Bhakti, it is now the case that intra-family and community mantras are passed on freely as part of generally practiced Hindu religion. Such was the influence of the more orthodox attitude of the elite nature of mantra knowledge that even the Buddhists, who repudiated the whole idea of caste, and of the efficacy of the old rituals, called themselves the shravakas, that is, "the hearers". A wise person in India was one who had "heard much". Mantras then are sound symbols. What they symbolise and how they function depends on the context, and the mind of the person repeating them. Studies in sound symbolism suggest that vocal sounds have meaning whether we are aware of it or not. And indeed that there can be multiple layers of symbolism associated with each sound. So even if we do not understand them, mantras are not simply meaningless mumbo jumbo -- no vocal utterance is entirely without meaning. We can look at mantra as a range of different contexts to see what they can mean in those contexts: Om may mean something quite different to a Hindu and a Tibetan Buddhist.
Link please? WP is a visual medium as you say and that's just a discussion of the role of the Aum sound, not in any way addressing your contention that 'the importance of Swastika and the Aum *cannot* be compared, let alone be ranked. These are entirely different type of things.' I have provided numerous specific verifiable cites regarding the comparison of the two symbols - and you are discussing the meaning of symbols and sounds within Hinduism.Fascinating, yes - and I thank you for the information - but it does not validate your claim that one cannot assess the relative importance of both symbols as symbols of Hinduism. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 07:14, 6 January 2007 (UTC)


I hoped this was sufficient for anyone willing to understand that the Swastika and the Aum are fundamentally different things that cannot be compared. The above makes it very clear that Aum is a syllable, and that its visual depiction is very much inferior to its sound in importance. OTOH, the swastika is undoubtedly a visual symbol with no sound association. It derives all its importance from its visual appearance. We can certainly assess the relative importance of the visual depiction of Aum and the Swastika. Clearly the visual depiction of Aum is of much less importance (if it has any importance at all) than the Swastika. You cannot compare the sound of Aum with the Swastika. To discuss this we need to at least agree on certain axioms. To ask a dumb quesiton, do you accept that 1 decibel cannot be greater than or less than 1 lumen? deeptrivia (talk) 07:36, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
no one is comparing a sound with a syllable. Stop insisting what is patently false. I'm sorry but your original tangent (that the syllable Aum precludes the meaning or importance of the symbol Aum) has diverged into another, more arcane tangent. And the issue here in this section, once again for your convenience, is the use of a potentially greatly offensive symbol, established to be of secondary importance to the Aum, on a template intended to welcome those new to editing Hinduism articles on Wikipedia. Please, as has been pleaded before, let's try to keep focus. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 07:43, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
"no one is comparing a sound with a syllable." Unfortunately, that is true. You're comparing a picture with a sound, which doesn't make sense. The purpose of all this is to explain you that the visual depiction of Aum is far less important in Hinduism than the Swastika, and doesn't stand a chance against it. deeptrivia (talk) 07:48, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Then explain it with verifiable citations, not wandering arguments that defy other people who have provided direct, verifiable and easily understood citations for their views. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 08:29, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Aum is a mantra. I request you to read the Introduction of mantra, which says written forms are very definitely inferior to the sounds. deeptrivia (talk) 08:34, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
  • With all due respect Ryan, I've read every comment from you in this debate, stretched my mind, eaten, slept, read them again, and still can't figure out what on earth you're talking about. Importance is not a quantifiable trait, and while it can be subjectively ranked between items, to claim those items therefore have any sort of proportional importance is folly. You're drawing a total non sequitur conclusion here, ratios have about as much to do with religious icons as my left eye does the moon. (Less, actually, since my left eye and the moon are at least both round and minimally effected by each other's gravity.)
    Would you please either clarify the relevance of fractions to sacred symbols or pick a different argument? --tjstrf talk 07:44, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
What? That was almost completely incomprehensible. In response to your assertion that 'importance is not quantifiable' I'll repeat the sources I looked up and emphasize the relevant SYMBOL phraseology.
Aum, also written "Om" and called pranava, is the most important Hindu symbol"
"Om (Aum) – the most important Hindu symbol, often used as the emblem of Hinduism (see above)." [32]
"The most important symbol in Hinduism, (the Aum) occurs in every prayer and invocation to most deities begins with it." -- [33].
"The primary symbol of Hinduism is the Aum. Indeed, so sacred is it that it is prefixed and suffixed to all Hindu mantras and incantations." -- [34]
"Second in importance only to the Om, the Swastika, a symbol which look like the Nazi emblem, holds a great religious significance for the Hindus. " [35]
Likewise as I said, I'll be on campus and will provide more academic sources shortly. If you can cite the view that the relative importance of these symbols cannot be compared as these sources have, please do. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 07:49, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
I used a nonsense analogy on purpose, to show that there is no relationship between the ideas. Your argument for "proportional representation" as regards the Ohm and Swastika is quite frankly a non-concept. There is no relationship possible between proportionality and the subject of this debate. --tjstrf talk 07:59, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
There is of course a relationship of relative importance between the two symbols - it's not a 'non-concept'. I've specifically cited numerous discussions of that relationship above - it exists. Again, do you even care to cite your view? -- User:RyanFreisling @ 08:02, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
That's an inequality, not a proportion. And how does one cite the view that religious iconography does not relate to fractions when they're such unrelated ideas that it's probably never had to be stated before? --tjstrf talk 08:08, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Again I don't understand your mention of 'fractions'. A statement that one visual symbol is 'second in importance to' another from a verifiable source is what you have seen. If your view is the truth, it should be able to be cited, just as mine has been. I still await proof of this. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 08:13, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
That's the non-sequitur. What are you asking Tjstrf to prove? That the swastika is more or equally important? I don't think he cares, and I doubt it matters. The problem is that your argument hinges on the idea that there is some "correct" ratio of use of the aum and the swastika, which ratio this template offends. He says, quite rightly, "huh?". What is that ratio? Why is it offended here? Where in the citations does it say that Aums and Swastikas can't be together? That's the disconnect and the non-sequitur of arguing about relative importance and usage ratios, and I think that's his point. --TheOtherBob 08:19, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
A proportion is a mathematical relationship in which a certain number of x will correspond to a certain number of y. In other words, a mathematical ratio, a fraction. There is no proportional relationship between Ohms and Swastikas, because they are not numbers nor abstract representations of numbers nor present on earth in known quantities. As such, there is no way to apply proportions to these symbols. 1 Ohm does not mean y Swastikas. 2 Ohms does not mean 2y Swastikas. 12,000 Ohms does not mean 12,000y Swastikas. They are not proportional. --tjstrf talk 08:24, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
"MORE" and "LESS" are not quantifiable, they are relative. Proportions, not quantities. More deflection. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 08:25, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
This "deflection" happens to be the basis for your entire argument. If you believe your argument for proportional representation can be restated without relying on proportions, then please go ahead. Maybe I'll actually be able to figure out what you're suggesting. --tjstrf talk 08:33, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Please try to understand that the Aum which is described as the most important symbol is the sound of Aum (sound symbolism). We can't possibly have sounds on templates. We need visual symbols. Please go again through the paragraphs I pasted above, if further clarification is needed. deeptrivia (talk) 07:55, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Every cite I provided is specific to the VISUAL SYMBOL. Not the 'sound symbol'. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 08:00, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
You can't quantify religious iconography even when they are both strictly pictorial. For instance, the Christian cross cannot be proportionally related to the ichthys. --tjstrf talk 08:04, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm not quantifying anything, I provided a citation comparing. Where's your citation to the opposite? WP:V is an important policy in establishing fact (not esoteric abstractions of fractions). -- User:RyanFreisling @ 08:13, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
If you're not quantifying them, then there is no proportional relationship. number of Ohms:number of Swastikas::My left eye:the moon --tjstrf talk 08:33, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
From my reading of those, each one has an Aum drawn on it, but the text talks about the sounds of A, U and M, etc. Add to it the fact that none of these are enormously reputed sites expected to employ any notable scholars. deeptrivia (talk) 08:06, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Your reading is not supported by the words 'Emblem', and 'look', to say nothing of the usage of 'symbol' which is quite clear in each context. Remind me again - your citations are where? Oh, right, you've not made any. Good night. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 08:27, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

I tried adding some context to the template

I tried moving the swastika to the bottom of the welcome template and adding some text, see this version of the template near the bottom. I don't like it much (text is too long-winded among other things) and would rather that the template just not have swastikas. Anyway feel free to revert or modify, I just put it up as a possible approach to look into, including for other related templates. 67.117.130.181 07:01, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Not bad as a compromise move if removing the swastikas from the welcome template fails to gain consensus. --tjstrf talk 07:44, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Your edit [36] is good. 67.117.130.181 08:26, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Some thoughts to try to summarize

Here are some more thoughts on this, I guess:

1. People here have (I think) roundly rejected the argument that we should alter templates on Hinduism to avoid offending people. The reasons for this are: a) It is clear from the context of the template and the style of the swastika that it is not meant to represent Nazism, so people are not likely to be offended. b) No one had ever been offended until User:IZAK, who does have a reputation here for being argumentative and getting into disputes. (No offense). c) There is a strong sentiment that we should not allow something a "Christian" did 60 years ago to define a Hindu religious symbol for all eternity; that we should be able to reclaim the proper use of the symbol. (There are even movements in the real world to do just that. [37]) d) This is an encyclopedia - we should worry more about being right than being inoffensive. So I think the arguments about being a "good host" by changing the symbol to something inoffensive are not convincing to me. Resistance to those arguments is logical (if sometimes passionate); it would be illogical to change a template to make it less represenative of Hinduism, or to do so as a reaction to someone's over-reaction. That the resistance to that argument sometimes comes out passionately may make this process harder, but it by no means makes those people wrong.

2. The argument about whether the om is a symbol or syllable is interesting, but gets us nowhere. Om clearly has a symbol, and that symbol is recognized - which is why it was used on the template in the first place.

3. So the question is whether the swastika does or does not properly represent Hinduism. Ryan keeps arguing that his citations have won the day on that issue, and that no counter-citations were given. I disagree. His citations show that the aum is the most revered symbol in Hinduism. That's fine, and that's the argument he's ably made. But the template has two spaces - it makes sense that we could use the first and second most revered symbols in Hinduism. The second most revered symbol in Hinduism is the swastika. [38]("The next religious symbol which is also revered by Hindu and ranks second only to OM is the Swastika."), [39] ("It's the second most sacred symbol in the Hindu tradition which has been used for 5,000 years to ward off evil. . .Mr Kallidai said a similar ban in the UK would have an adverse affect on Hindus who regarded a swastika in much the same way as a Christian viewed a cross.") (that last one's from the BBC), [40] ("The swastika is Hindu's second most important symbol after the Om, Dawra said"). No citation I've seen has said that the swastika is not representative of Hinduism. So since it's representative of Hinduism, and is the second most important symbol in Hinduism, it makes sense to include it in the Hinduism welcome template.

So I think it would be illogical to remove this to avoid offending people, and would only remove it if it was either entirely unrepresentative of Hinduism or only remotely representative of Hinduism. Since I don't think that's the case, I would leave it.TheOtherBob 08:07, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Ohm-en. Glad to see someone else sees this. --tjstrf talk 08:13, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks Bob. Probably I shouldn't bring it here to prevent the discussion from continuing unnecessarily, but the question wasn't whether Aum is a syllable (mantra in Sanskrit) or a symbol. It certainly is a symbol by virtue of being a mantra because all mantras are sound symbols. The only question was whether the visual depictions of Aum (those lines) have any significant symbolism/importance. Anyway, so long as this discussion ends with the right conclusion, I won't bother whether this point was well understood or not. Regards, deeptrivia (talk) 08:26, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
I have no opinion on whether this swastika is the 2nd most important symbol in Hinduism, 1st most, 38th most, or whatever. I mostly agree with Izak's comments that it could easily be mistaken for a nazi swastika, and I'd say the offensiveness comes not only from that association but from the lack of respect or deference shown to those who might misinterpret the resemblance (of whom there are quite a few). I've been slightly involved with articles related to Sathya Sai Baba (a Hindu religious figure involved in some controversy outside the Hindu world) and if someone had left me one of those templates I'd have been disconcerted (I make an edit that Sai Baba's followers don't like, and they burn a swastika on my talk page's lawn?). I tried modifying the template (see above) not to remove the swastika, but to at least explain what it is and why it's there, both to inform people so they'll know, and to show them respect by visibly taking the trouble to inform them. But I just don't see it as important to the template's function. It's just decorative in the template. Wikipedia is not a battleground and I don't see why anyone fights over keeping it there. 67.117.130.181 08:22, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

That's good, what I found most disconcerting was Ryan's rejection of Om as an important syllable instead of an important visual motif. It has an aural symbolic value, not a visual one and ryan's citations (however dodgy) do nothing to disprove that while many do prove that and yet he continues with the argument that the Hindu users here are speaking rubbish ("nonsense" in his terms) about their own religion to keep the Swastika on a welcome template. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 00:22, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

That’s like telling a veteran airplane pilot how to fly a plane based on what you read in a manual. (Ghostexorcist 00:29, 7 January 2007 (UTC))
Misstating other peoples' arguments is anticollaborative, uncivil and can be seen as a blockable offense. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 00:31, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
  • How did I misstate your argument? It's just an observation. Deleting or hiding people's comments is extremely "anticollaborative". On that note, I'm going to work. (Ghostexorcist 00:40, 7 January 2007 (UTC))
I never did any such thing. I said nonsense to the claim that "Unless actually chanted, Aum has no value" which is untrue. Please show me the diff that you believe proves that, because I never rejected Om as an important syllable. I have consistently said it is both a symbol and a syllable, and have spoken to it's role as a symbol. DIFF PLEASE. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 00:26, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

I will note as I did before, that Falun Gong has a swastika as part of their traditional design. And even in Germany which has the strictest laws in the world against the swastika, it was recognized that the cultural rights of Falun Gong took precedence over the German law, so it was allowed.--Filll 00:36, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Above you have said. Nonsense. Cite that. All of your interesting observations about the definition and nature of symbols and motifs aside, and your false statements about 'the Aum symbol having no value unless chanted. I'm sorry but your original tangent (that the syllable Aum precludes the meaning or importance of the symbol Aum) has diverged into another, more arcane tangent., you disagreed with his view which seems that you believe that the visual motif is MORE important than the symbol. I guess I could find more if I had the time when you believed the visual Om was more important than the sound. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 00:45, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

How does any of that establish that I believe the SOUND is less important than the symbol? It's not and I never made that claim. I'm talking about the symbol. The importance of the syllable does not preclude the importance of the symbol - that's the only argument I've made - and I've made it consistently. Please stop making false representations of my argument. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 00:47, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh look, I really don't have time for this. I believe you believe that the visual Ohm is more important than the aural sound, if I am wrong about that tell me that you believe the sound is more important than the letter (which I believe) and I'll keep quiet. If you believe the latter I retract my above comment and I admit I was wrong. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 00:56, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
You are 100% wrong about that. Again, I said nonsense to the claim that "Unless actually chanted, Aum has no value" which is untrue. Please retract your comment. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 00:58, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
So you believe that the Aum sound is more important than the Aum symbol (the letter which represents it). OK, I retract my comment. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 01:02, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Thank you so much! Next time, please assume enough good faith to consider my arguments, rather than what you think my arguments 'seem' to say. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 01:05, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
  1. A symbol can be aural or visual.
  2. Aum is an aural symbol.
  3. Aum is an universal Hindu symbol.
  4. Its representation in English is "Aum" or "Om", in Devanagari it is Aum.svg, while in other languages and scripts it looks different (for example, in Tamil it looks something like this [41]). As such there is no universal visual representation for Aum among all Hindus.

Could you, Ryan, please let me know which part of the above you disagree with? 166.150.34.240 01:28, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

(anon's first edit) None, except to say that 1. Aum is an aural and a visual symbol (as represented by WP's current visual Aum symbol) and 2. That the Aum symbol WP already uses represents Aum and Hinduism enough to satisfy WP's requirement.
Are you arguing the visual Aum symbol (Aum.svg) is incorrect for WP to use to represent Hinduism? -- User:RyanFreisling @ 01:31, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
There are indeed representations of Aum in other scripts, for example Tamil. However, all Tamils, and all Indians for that matter, with the exception of small children, blind people etc. recognize the Devanagari representation of Aum, even if they know no other Sanskrit (and quite likely, even if they cannot read their own native language). The Devanagari representation 'is universal. --BostonMA talk 01:37, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Really? Do you have a cite? Can you speak for the Hindus in Nepal as well? What about the Hindus in Indonesia? Indians != Hindus. 166.150.34.230 02:25, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
The point of bringing out the fact that different languages have different pictorial representations of Aum was to demonstrate that the picture of Aum in itself is not a sacrosanct, sacred thing. It is sacred only in that it represents the syllable which is the most important symbol in Hinduism. It is the sound of Aum, not it's picture in Devanagari that is the "most important symbol" that Ryan demostrated through various references. Of course, the Aum character in Devanagari is a symbol of the syllable Aum which is a symbol of Brahman, but this shows that the symbolism of the visual depiction of Aum is of secondary nature, (and according to the article on mantras, "very definitely inferior" to the sound itself). OTOH, the Swastika is primarily a visual motif. And the only comparision that could be made for choosing a symbol for templates is between "the Devanagari symbol for Aum the syllable" (symbol of symbol) and "the Swastika" (symbol). From among these, I believe, the Swastika is preferable. However, I wouldn't suggest any changes because I don't even believe we ought to have the most important symbol on the template as a rule. Look at Template:Islam. That mosque-like figure is far from being the most important symbol of Islam. Who cares? deeptrivia (talk) 01:50, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Deeptrivia - to be clear do you still maintain that 'Unless actually chanted, Aum has no value? Those are your words, and they claim a far more extreme POV than anything I've stated. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 02:19, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Aum is a mantra. Traditionally, not only a mantra useless until actually chanted, it is ineffective until chanted in the "correct" way, with full attention to the accent, the metre, etc., in order to generate the right vibrations. People who do mantra sadhana take years just to get the Aum right, and then move to more complex mantras. All these are reasonably well known facts about mantras. Now, I agree that in today's age lay people do draw the visual motifs corresponding to Aum in Devanagari, but this motif is not "the most important symbol" of Hinduism, nor is the practice of drawing this motif supported by any scripture or ancient tradition. deeptrivia (talk) 02:35, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
You didn't answer the question, but at this point I don't expect you to. Can you provide a citation that objectively and specifically makes the point that the Devanagari Aum symbol is not the most prevalent/important symbol of Hinduism (or one that makes clear that another symbol is more important or representative of Hinduism than the Aum SYMBOL?) If not, idle efforts to convince others of your personal opinion will have little factual result in improving WP. I have provided numerous verifiable citations in exact words that state the point that I and others have made - while you have not provided one despite my having asked you nearly a dozen times on this page without result, Deep, I'll leave it there. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 02:42, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, Aum the syllable is, as you have correctly shown, the most important symbol in Hinduism (perhaps not the most popular, though). A negative proof such as "devanagari symbol for aum is not the most important symbol" might be impossible (it's like asking for citations that prove that "Einstein did not visit Mars on 18:00 on 12 Jan 1939 for one second.") deeptrivia (talk) 02:49, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
I knew you'd try to claim 'can't prove a negative', and try to avoid the issue - which is why I asked for a citation establishing another symbol (again, not syllable) as more important. Still waiting! Good night, and good luck. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 02:52, 7 January 2007 (UTC
I thought you already had a reference that ranked (1) Aum syllable, (2) Swastika motif. Since we can't use a syllable on the template, what comes next? deeptrivia (talk) 02:53, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
You know very well what my citations stated - 1) Aum SYMBOL, 2) swastika SYMBOL. Your version is your own, and so far unsubstantiated. If your view is indeed the truth, you can't have been the first person in history to write about it, right? Find a cite.-- User:RyanFreisling @ 02:56, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, right. The syllable Aum is absolutely a symbol. No doubt. I hope you're not thinking only that which can be drawn is a symbol, because we have talked about the sound symbolism of mantras before. The problem is we can't use the syllable in the template, and visual depictions of mantras are "very definitely inferior" (tired of quoting at the risk of seeming repetitious). deeptrivia (talk) 03:00, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
So you choose to re-parse the citations' use of 'symbol' now to include sound, and somehow imply the citation wasn't specifically discussing the visual symbol, despite the very words used in those cites? One citation also called it the most important symbol, the Emblem of Hinduism'. That's purely visual. I'm sorry, but you're either unable to understand the specific cites I provided, unable to research and find cites for your position, or you're willingly being disingenuous. I hope it's just the first but I fear it's the latter. Shame you can't simply follow WP process and provide a cite... -- User:RyanFreisling @ 03:06, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
A symbol (read the article) can be a sound. How 'bout you find a cite that says the devangari representation of aum is the most universal/important? 166.150.34.243 03:14, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
That's what the cites I provided establish. Read them, or provide contradictory cites? I'll run the risk of repeating myself one more time, and I'll use the cite deeptrivia provided:
As the cross is to Christians, the Om is to Hindus. It is made up of three Sanskrit letters, aa, au and ma which, when combined, make the sound Aum or Om. The most important symbol in Hinduism, it occurs in every prayer and invocation to most deities begins with it. As the symbol of piety, Om is often found at the head of letters, pendants, enshrined in every Hindu temple and family shrines." [42]
Letters. Pendants. Shrines. Those are purely visual applications. Of course you'll say the mere mention of the sound of the word somehow invalidates the visual meaning of the citation's definition, but it does not invalidate it. Oh, and again - as a dialup user with a shifting IP, why don't you just create an account? Many people find anon comments to be less persuasive. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 03:17, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
OK, I would agree that Aum.svg is also a visual symbol, but so is the Tamil version [43]. The aural version is universal, whereas the visual representation can have differing symbolisms. I don't disagree that Aum.svg can be used to represent Hinduism. However, your argument seems to have changed from "this visual symbol Aum.svg is more universal than this HinduSwastika.svg" to "this visual symbol Aum.svg represents Hinduism enough to satisfy WP's requirement. Is it still your contention that Aum.svg is more universal than HinduSwastika.svg? 166.150.34.230 02:25, 7 January 2007 (UTC) and I have dialup so my ip changes, so this is not my first edit, although I don't see the relevance
It is easy to use anon IP's to stack contentious debates, so I recommend you log in with an account in order to be taken more seriously. My argument is so far unchanged. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 02:29, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Very well. When all else fails attack the other side, stick your fingers in you ears and repeat "I'm right you're wrong". It's unfortunate that you think there's something here to "stack" 166.150.34.243 03:14, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
No, I'll avoid attacking anyone. Get an account. Have a good day! -- User:RyanFreisling @ 03:15, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
I respect your opinion on these things, Ryan, but that's not a good argument. This isn't a vote, and that's not sock-puppetry (as I see it). The question we should ask is "what did that person just say?," not "who is that person?" His or her point is well-taken - your only response was that your argument was unchanged (ok), and then to discuss whether the person should get an account. The better response would be to address the comment, not the commentator. There's a question he or she asked, seeking clarification of your position. (That it's "unchanged" is unhelpful. That it hasn't changed doesn't tell us anything if we don't know what the position was to start with.) Like I said, I respect your opinion, but this argument was less than helpful. --TheOtherBob 05:36, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
If the anon wants to register, his opinion will be seen by me within a larger context. And again, my argument hasn't changed. What more to say? Anons swiping in and out of controversial debates (without showing the courage to create an account that provides context into their longer term interests and motives) generally get less respect from me. That's a view shared by many on WP and I'm open about sharing it. Thanks for your views though, Bob. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:43, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Still ongoing ?

Wow. I can't believe this debate is still ongoing, and the topics still seems to be "Aum vs Swastika", "syllable vs motif". Here are the citations that have been cited to say that in Hinduism Aum motif is more important than Swastika:

  1. Aum, also written "Om" and called pranava, is the most important Hindu symbol", "Om (Aum) – the most important Hindu symbol, often used as the emblem of Hinduism (see above)." [44]
  2. "The most important symbol in Hinduism, (the Aum) occurs in every prayer and invocation to most deities begins with it." [45]
  3. "The primary symbol of Hinduism is the Aum. Indeed, so sacred is it that it is prefixed and suffixed to all Hindu mantras and incantations." [46]
  4. "Second in importance only to the Om, the Swastika, a symbol which look like the Nazi emblem, holds a great religious significance for the Hindus. " [47]

Leaving aside my opinion (take it for what its worth) that the sources (2) and (3) refer to the syllable rather than motif; here is a source (more reliable than any of the above) attesting to the importance of the Swastika to Hinduism (emphasis is mine):

The word is derived from the Sanskrit svastika, meaning 'conducive to well-being'. ... In India the swastika continues to be the most widely used auspicious symbol of Hindus, Jainas, and Buddhists. ...

The Hindus (and also Jainas) use the swastika to mark the opening pages of their account books, thresholds, doors, and offerings. A clear distinction is made between the right-hand swastika, which moves in a clockwise direction, and the left-hand swastika (more correctly called the sauvastika), which moves in a counterclockwise direction. The right-hand swastika is considered a solar symbol and imitates in the rotation of its arms the course taken daily by the Sun, which in the Northern Hemisphere appears to pass from east, then south, to west. The left-hand swastika more often stands for night, the terrifying goddess Kali, and magical practices.

Encyclopedia Britannica

Of course I have pointed this and more quotes from the source before (just search for Britannica on the page), and already said most of what I have had to say in this debate. So I don't plan to reenter it, and leave you all to make whatever you will of this information. May your discussions be fruitful ! Abecedare 03:36, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

All valid stuff but again, they are not mutually exclusive. It's ongoing right now because editors here have misrepresented my arguments, naming me to them falsely, and made racist comments about my ability to make arguments on this topic. To close for now, here's another visual description of the visual symbol, with the most valuable part (the lack of mutual exclusivity) in bold:
"Visually, OM is represented by a stylized pictograph. The symbol of AUM consists of three curves (curves 1, 2, and 3), one semicircle (curve 4), and a dot.
The large lower curve 1 symbolizes the waking state (jagrat), in this state the consciousness is turned outwards through the gates of the senses. The larger size signifies that this is the most common ('majority') state of the human consciousness. The upper curve 2 denotes the state of deep sleep (sushupti) or the unconscious state. This is a state where the sleeper desires nothing nor beholds any dream. The middle curve 3 (which lies between deep sleep and the waking state) signifies the dream state (swapna). In this state the consciousness of the individual is turned inwards, and the dreaming self beholds an enthralling view of the world behind the lids of the eyes. These are the three states of an individual's consciousness, and since Indian mystic thought believes the entire manifested reality to spring from this consciousness, these three curves therefore represent the entire physical phenomenon. The dot signifies the fourth state of consciousness, known in Sanskrit as turiya. In this state the consciousness looks neither outwards nor inwards, nor the two together. It signifies the coming to rest of all differentiated, relative existence This utterly quiet, peaceful and blissful state is the ultimate aim of all spiritual activity. This Absolute (non-relative) state illuminates the other three states. Finally, the semi circle symbolizes maya and separates the dot from the other three curves. Thus it is the illusion of maya that prevents us from the realization of this highest state of bliss. The semi circle is open at the top, and when ideally drawn does not touch the dot. This means that this highest state is not affected by maya. Maya only affects the manifested phenomenon. This effect is that of preventing the seeker from reaching his ultimate goal, the realization of the One, all-pervading, unmanifest, Absolute principle. In this manner, the form of OM represents both the unmanifest and the manifest, the noumenon and the phenomenon.
As a sacred sound also, the pronunciation of the three-syllabled AUM is open to a rich logical analysis." [48] -- User:RyanFreisling @ 03:44, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

I am sure we could find other places where it is listed as of primary importance. However, the question, as far as I can tell, is how far in an encyclopedia should someone have to go to avoid offense/to be politically correct/to give in to an outside group? Even if it is a symbol which is only the 5th or 10th most important, this is still an important symbol clearly in Hinduism (and probably another 30 cultures and faiths around the world). So, given this, and some clear evidence that there is a HUGE amount of material on Wikipedia that will offend someone (which I will be glad to point out to anyone who does not already know about), should this symbol be censored or limited? It already only remotely resembles the offensive Nazi variants. This should be a venue for education and cross-cultural understanding. All Hindus I am sure know about the Nazi variant. Clearly very few Jews know about the other uses of the swastika, from what I am reading (although I find that personally VERY hard to believe). So, who needs to learn more ? I do not mean to offend anyone, but my goodness...how important is this issue? It does not come close to having the meaning that the Nazis endowed it with in the Hindu usage, I am sure everyone agrees.--Filll 03:46, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

That's why I thought the compromise many of us agreed to was a good idea... it was a respectful way to welcome people without turning them off.
However, and perhaps most interestingly of all, Deeptrivia added a disclaimer and plastered cite tags [49] and then only 20 minutes later deleted outright very similar text from the 'mantra' WP page describing the visual purpose of the strokes and curves of the Aum symbol, just today. I hope he didn't blank that copy just to avoid another user making use of it in this discussion... that would be an egregious violation of WP:POINT. I've reverted it, and provided a citation. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 03:44, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
This original research from a "Nitin Kumar" is not backed up by any references, and cannot conformed from any other source, and is hilarious. It's precisely the fact that such stuff is allowed to stay on wikipedia for long that reliability of wikipedia is sometimes doubted. deeptrivia (talk) 04:18, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Okay. So you sprinkle fact tags in the only paragraph in that article relevant to the point you're trying to defeat, and then only 20 minutes later, you delete it outright? You engaged in highly questionable conduct that strains credibility to the max. Tactics like that (capricious blanking for unencyclopedic reasons) are what threaten WP's reliability. I suggest you not repeat it. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 04:20, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Note that this Nitin Kumar is from a company called Exotic India, that sells these Aum motifs. deeptrivia (talk) 04:23, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Regardless of what is the outcome of this discussion, such nonsense needs to be deleted from wikipedia as soon as it is spotted. When the credibility of wikipedia is at stake, these issues are secondary. Besides, that stuff had already been mentioned in this discussion, and is on this page. So there's no question of hiding anything from anyone. deeptrivia (talk) 04:25, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Okay then. Thankfully, the sections you tagged describing the meaning of each curve, etc. in the symbol should be easily verified or disproved once I'm back up on campus in the coming days. You're welcome to do it yourself, but that would be breaking from your approach thus far of uncited assertions. -- User:RyanFreisling
I'll try. I guess the references given on the Exotic India page might help us find the obscure person who has invented this elegant theory. That in itself will not prove anything. Could you suggest a way we can conclude that a mainstream, or even a reasonably significant minority accepts that theory? I so seriously doubt it, that I think it's not worth the effort. deeptrivia (talk) 04:40, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, find citations in verifiable sources. That's what I'll be doing, and what I've asked you to do all along. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 04:41, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, would be great to have a reliable source on it. Check out Wikipedia:Verifiability. Just any citation is not sufficient. The internet is full of dubious sources. To me, at least, that information is so obviously wrong, that it needs to be removed immediately. The devanagari symbol undisputably comes by merging the devanagari "अ" (A) "ऊ" (U) and "ँ" (M). These symbols do not have any of the magical meanings. Besides, what about the Tamil, Tibetan, Chinese symbols for Aum? The Devanagari symbol of Aum is a modern invention. Was Aum unimportant before that? deeptrivia (talk) 04:54, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Again, WP:V means that your view needs to be as substantiated as anyone else's. Whether Hindu or not, you are no more an expert than anyone else. The section shouldn't be difficult to prove or disprove, but you tried blanking it outright without proof, while a debate was ongoing. Bad move. Again, please read what I write. I'm going to campus to do research. Campus = University. University = Scholars. And even then, many times there are disagreements... thankfully I go to a very good school with an excellent Asia/East Asian department, and have many scholarly colleagues and resources to draw on. Just don't blank it outright again, okay? That was extremely questionable judgment on your part. Good judgment is the key. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:02, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
"but you tried blanking it outright without proof". Please read the three line summary of Wikipedia:Verifiability. It says "The obligation to provide a reliable source lies with the editors wishing to include the material, not on those seeking to remove it." Since scholarly sources won't bother themselves with shoddy inventions, I am sure there is no article in any academic journal that disproves the "Nitin Kumar Theory". So sorry once again, I can't find references to disprove this theory, but according to Wikipedia:Verifiability, I am not required to. deeptrivia (talk) 05:17, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Deep, please. Putting {fact tags} on EVERY line of the ONLY paragraph in an article you cite exclusively that supports the opposing side to your debate, and then blanking it within only 20 minutes is NOT the way to confirm or deny accuracy. Tag it, and let others respond. 20 minutes on WP is not anywhere near enough time for your actions to have been seen as positive. I'll keep you posted on the research, so try to keep that itchy trigger finger at bay. Be well. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:20, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree Ryan. I should have waited for someone else to remove it. Could have avoided all these accusations. Will be more tactful in such situations in future. It's probably only the second time in 1.5 years that I am in such a discussion. So I don't have any experience of what things to avoid, and what could lead to this kind of trouble. deeptrivia (talk) 05:28, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
I appreciate your acknowledgment, and the conciliatory tone of your comment - and I'm grateful for the time to find citations to answer the questions authoritatively. Thank you. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:30, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

This is just getting a bit too heated, it seems to me. People are trying very hard to be accommodating and reasonable; it surely is not that big a deal is it?--Filll 04:29, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree completely. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 04:30, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Absolutely, can't believe I'm discussing this at such length :) deeptrivia (talk) 04:33, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

The arguments are getting repetitious so I will finally reiterate my points then exit.

  1. ) Aum is a sound, which is universally known in Hinduism [50][51].
  2. ) That sound has different representations in different scripts / languages. In English it is "Aum", in Devanagari it is Aum.svg, in Tamil it is Tamil om.png, and in Tibetan script it is . Each visual representation of Aum may have different meanings. This page describes the meaning of the Devanagari representation [52], while these pages [53][54] discuss the meaning of the Tamil representation of Aum. These descriptions are not universally believed or accepted because Aum is a sound. There is no universal visual representation for Aum, nor is there a universal interpretation of that representation. Unfortunately some individual sources do not make the distinction between the sound (universal) and the picture (not universal) clear. However, looking at the totality of the sources, it should be evident that a) Aum is a sound, which is universal, and b) It has many different visual representations, and no one individual representation can be considered universal.
  3. ) HinduSwastika.svg is universal visual symbol. To claim that one particular representation of Aum (the Devanagari Aum.svg) is more important/universal is wrong. 166.150.34.227 04:42, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

The current solution

Right, we have a solution but we are still arguing. The Template we are arguing about has been edited to solve this problem. The Swastika is on the bottom of the template and the Aum on the top. Just above the swastika there is a small note written about the symbolism of the swastika in Hinduism and how it should not be confused with the Nazi swastika. It's educational to those who may be offended by it which means Euroepans learn more about Hinduism and Hindus can live with their symbol in peace. If anyone has any oppositions to this current template make yourselves loud and clear, otherwise we assume you support it and this discussion is closed so no more discussions on the proportions of the Swastika. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 06:09, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

I prefer this version, for brevity, clarity, focus and compassion alike. I don't think you should declare the discussion of other editors closed. And I earnestly hope no one is offended by my edit of the template (which I followed a second later with a self-revert out of respect for the status quo during debate). Thanks. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:16, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Well if there's nothing left to talk about then the discussion must be closed, unless you're enjoying this debate over proportions in Hindu symbology. :) Anyway, looks like there's still debate but let's just forget the rest and just debate on the two versions. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 06:23, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

I wholeheartedly endorse Nobleeagle's version. Very well done! It fulfills the very purpose of Wikipedia, which is to educate people — in this case about the two main symbols of Hinduism. It has the added side effect of showing respect for other cultures that might be offended by the swastika. And it enables others to gain respect for Hinduism and its symbols. What a beautiful and elegant solution! ॐ Priyanath talk 06:24, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

I see the template Noble provided as the equivalent of putting a post-it note next to the swastika, communicating to those not familiar with it that 'this is not a Nazi swastika'. I don't think that's sufficient to avoid offense nor is a template particularly the right place to educate about the swastika. I oppose the current template in favor of one without the swastika, or for those who do not accept the value of the Aum as a visual symbol, no images at all. The WikiProject Hinduism template doesn't have one, so I'm not sure why we must fight to keep it on a welcome template. Seems inconsiderate and insufficient. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:30, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Can we include the original version as a third option? I am not a fan of removing the symbol entirely, and don't consider it inconsiderate in the least to be accurate. But I think that the modified version sacrifices a bit style-wise, while still probably being considered offensive by the people who initially complained. (Perhaps IZAK can weigh in on whether he would find the modified template acceptable, if it still has a swastika in some form? I don't want to put words in his mouth, but my understanding is that he would not.) Still, if it's just two choices, I'd prefer the modified version with the swastikas to the version that removes them entirely. It's a good enough solution, which is all you can ever ask for! ;-P --TheOtherBob 06:38, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
The original version (Aum and swastika) does not seem to address the issue of potential offense at all, and so seems a poor choice as a compromise... -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:40, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
The onus is not on Wikipedia and it's editors to remove everything and anything that could potentially offend. The Wikipedia is not censored. If the sight of the Hindu Swastika offends certain people, it is not a Wikipedia problem. --Eqdoktor 15:03, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Alternative proposal

Remove the images from the templates altogether. Their purpose is only to decorate. For example, I don't think having an Aum or a Swastika on the welcome message is going to help bring in new members to WikiProject Hinduism. This is IMO is the simplest and perhaps most effective solution. GizzaChat © 06:33, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

It is most definitely NOT the best "solution" to this so called problem. Its not Wikipedia's problem that certain people find the swastika offensive. The Wikipedia is not censored. In fact, if the act of removing the graphic from the template is the result of this discussion, its essentially an acknowledgement that the swastika IS OFFENSIVE (a POV move). Kindly do not do this please, the holy symbol has been abused enough as it is. --Eqdoktor 12:15, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Seconded. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:34, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Thirded, with equal parts annoyance, disgust, regret and resignation, as the most non-confrontational solution. Tomertalk 10:55, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, ok, remove all pictures if it comes down to that. I do think having some kind of graphic makes the template look nicer. Here's a layout idea with just one aum: [55]. It would need some cleanup to add colored background to the aum and make the khaki box smaller, but this just illustrates the approach. Really, I sympathize with the desire to take back the swastika symbol from the nazis, but this isn't the right place for political statements. 67.117.130.181 11:20, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Isn't this move a sort of acknowledgement that the "Swastika = Nazis" argument above and one of the holy symbols of Hinduism (and buddhism, shintoism and other non-western religions) is deemed offensive enough to certain Westerners to be removed from an innocous in-context template? This is pretty much a "politically correct" POV orientated move IMHO. This smacks all over of self-censorship and is pretty much contrary to the letter and spirit of Wikipedia is not censored. "Wikipedia cannot guarantee that articles or images are tasteful to all users or adhere to specific social or religious norms or requirements." Leave the template as it was. --Eqdoktor 12:03, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Nah, it's just civility. Censorship means removing information from the encyclopedia to prevent people from learning it. Nothing like that is going on here. 67.117.130.181 12:36, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Support. Agree with the anon above. --BostonMA talk 13:59, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Oppose - put the aum on the left and the swastika on the right. this is censorship and we're not nazis.--D-Boy 14:26, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
From the wikipedia article censorship- Sanitization (cleaning or decontamination) and whitewashing (from whitewash) are almost interchangeable terms that refer to particular acts or campaigns of censorship or omission which seek to "clean up" the portrayal of particular issues and facts which are already known, but which may conflict with a presented point of view. In this case, your essentially intending to censor a Hinduism article/template because it has a holy symbol depicted in a correct context and manner that is offensive to certain parties? Leave the template as it is now, to go an extra step further in removing the Swastika altogether to be "civil" is an unnecessary PC move no matter how well meaning. In fact 99% of the debate above could have been avoided if someone brought up the WP:NOT#CENSORED point in the first place. There will alway be content in the Wikipedia that will offend any number of people; the onus is not on Wikipedia and its editor to censor/remove material to avoid offending (or "to be civil"). Rather as an encyclopedia, the aim to educate and enlighten. Another thing, to remove the Swastika from the article/template in the name of "civility" is to imply that the Hindu Swastika is "un-civil" (aka offensive) - an extreme POV position. --Eqdoktor 14:47, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
What are you talking about? The encylopedia is here to document facts. Censorship is removal of facts or documentation from the encyclopedia. The images in that template don't document any facts. They are decorative. They are not there to educate. They are just there to make the template look nice. Removing them does not make the encyclopedia present any fewer facts, so there is no censorship. 67.117.130.181 14:58, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
In that case, lets remove the cross and the cresent as well. they are decorative, but those idealogies have killed more than the nazis.--D-Boy 15:05, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't see any cross or cresent on that template. Note WP:POINT. 67.117.130.181 15:22, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
It will be interesting to see someone go in template discussion here Template:State of Israel and argue for the censorship deletion of the Menorah and Star of David, because:
  • Its purely decorative.
  • Its not censorship because it don't provide any information.
  • Its potentially offensive to certain people.
--Eqdoktor 15:31, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
See WP:POINT. 67.117.130.181 15:33, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
How many of these concensuses are we going to have?--D-Boy 14:36, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Frankly, I think unless we are really active editors in the Wikipedia:WikiProject Hinduism project, we have no real business being here. Let the real active editors with an interest in Hinduism decide what goes in or out in their templates. Everyone else should just butt out (including me). The worst people to decide are the Wikilawyers and the amateur PC police that are all over this page. --Eqdoktor 16:11, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
There is no Ownership in Wikipiedia. --BostonMA talk 16:29, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
That's fine. Then tell every other religious wikiproject to take the holy symbols off of their welcome boxes as well. If one goes, they all need to go. (Ghostexorcist 20:02, 7 January 2007 (UTC))
If symbols used by other projects become an issue, I will support removal of those symbols as well. An encyclopedia is not about self-expression, or group self-expression. --BostonMA talk 20:09, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Do you know what would happen if a Hindu went into the Christianity project (just for argument sake) and told them to take down the cross off of the welcome template? That person would be tarred and feathered and sent home packing. There is no way in hell that the cross would ever be taken down, nor would the Star of David. Now, you say that encyclopedias are “not about self-expression, or group self-expression”. Well having a religious symbol up on any welcome note is a form of group self-expression don’t you think? You can’t deny that a cross or aum or star expresses the faith of an overall group, which is in itself group self-expression. I think that counts as a contradiction. (Ghostexorcist 20:26, 7 January 2007 (UTC))
As far as I know, there are no serious objections to the Star of David, nor to the Christian Cross. Yes, I stand by what I said about self expression. Suppose there was a project Nazism, whose project charter was to improve articles about Nazism. There is nothing per-se wrong with that. It doesn't imply a POV. But now suppose that members of Project Nazism start "welcoming" anyone who edits a page related to Nazism with a Nazi Swastika. I sincerely hope that we would tell them that whatever point of view they may hold personally, adding Nazi Swastika's to user talk pages, when those users don't want such additions, is a problem. No, groups do not have a right to self expression on Wikipedia. This is an encyclopedia, not a democracy. --BostonMA talk 21:33, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
There never will be any serious objections to the cross or Star of David (which is not bad) and that is part of the problem. I’d say there are far more Christians editing on Wikipedia than any other religions. This being because most English speaking countries are Christian, catholic, whatever. Westerners don't know enough about Asian culture in general, so when they see the Hindu swastika, they automatically think Nazis. Say I was Asian and the only bit of western history I knew was that the Romans crucified people on crosses. When I was welcomed by the Christian project, I could be offended because I might think they are sending me a negative message. It’s a two way street. And, you have contradicted yourself again. If groups don't have the right to self expression, none of them should be able to post their religious symbols. In closing, I would like to restate that I’m not trying to get any symbol banned at all. If you reply, I won't be able to answer you until either later tonight or tomorrow.(Ghostexorcist 21:51, 7 January 2007 (UTC))


  • Oppose - We are not censoring the template. Next we should censor mentions of World War 2, Airplanes, Volkswagen, Kristallnacht, etc. Most Jews are well aware that Hindus protected them for over 2000 years and that most Hindus are pro-Israel.Bakaman 16:21, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose Is this a serious proposal? People here took offense to censorship of one image, and now the suggestion is to censor all? Noble's edit seems the best and most considerate compromise to me. There are some who are not open to compromise at all, we don't need to humor them by continuing this debate. Falcon2020 21:25, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
I’m not trying to get all images banned. I was just showing that some users are contradicting themselves in their arguments to have the swastika removed. I would like all emblems to stay the way they are (Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, whatever).(Ghostexorcist 21:30, 7 January 2007 (UTC))
To everone opposing, it is not censoring it is removing something that has no purpose on a template. Please explain in one sentence why any image is needed on a welcome message which is meant to bring new editors into contact with other editors who work on Hinduism-related articles. Do you think that the person will hmmm... I don't see an Aum or a Swastika on this Hindu links page... I don't want to join and start collaborating with these people on Hinduism articles now Wikipedia is not a blog where people post pictures for decoration. What we can do is add another line on the Hinduism template which says Symbols: Aum | Swastika That means someone can learn about these symbols rather than gaze at a picture which if you click just goes to the image page. GizzaChat © 21:47, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
By saying that, then why remove them at all? put it back to the way it was.--D-Boy 23:17, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose And I still support Nobleeagle's proposal above, as a compromise that is encyclopedic, educational, elegant, and respectful. ॐ Priyanath talk 21:48, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Support All this has been a mere an exercise in reminding everyone that some people's sensitivities are more important other's. My people the Marathas fought and died resisting Islamic invasions under the banner of swastika. And i'm bloody proud of it. Yet in very Hindu spirit of compromise, i'd say we stop wasting space and move on.. And Baka not every Hindu/Hindutvadi supports Israel... अमेय आर्यन DaBrood© 22:01, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose If it doesn't serve any purpose here then an image doesn't serve any purpose on other religious welcome templates either. It all feels like appeasement for maintaining peace (1930s against Hitler?) to me and I do NOT support that. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 22:58, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
We already appeased one pak on the indian tag template.....--D-Boy 23:19, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes dood its always us! Why not one more time? We have to go to great lengths to appease every third guy who gets offended by one or the other of our templates.... We have to shrink-warp our templates for Zora who calls us "imperialist taggers" anyways then... Just because of a few Pakistani pov-warriors, Indian template cant even show Indian flag for pre-1947 articles... Given that we did appease a few Muslim guys why not extend to courtsey to Jews... many of us seem to fawn over Zionists anyways... अमेय आर्यन DaBrood© 23:24, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Nobleeagle, exactly. Why does any template without giving context have images on them? There are few exceptions like Template:International football where enough context is given. Otherwise image can stick to general pages and not on templates. They are an unnecessary burden not only on Hinduism templates but on all. Why should there be a cross on the Christianity welcome message? Removing it won't detract people from joining WikiProject Christianity. Why should a McDonalds template have a burger on the top of its template (Hypothetical example)? GizzaChat © 23:29, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Gizza, exactly. There is no context for them, but then why should Hindus remove their images and stay without them while other religions keep their images going. It all comes down to the Swastika, to appeasing those who can't handle seeing an ancient Indus Valley symbol on their talk pages because a Nazi used a black, non-dotted, sideways, encircled daunting version of it. Before I support your proposal I want someone to go and persuade all religious Wikiprojects to follow on from the path of the Hindus and remove their sacred symbols. In any case, I don't think its fair for them to remove their symbols and I don't think its fair for us to do so either. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 23:45, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment It seems that most people opposing would support if this occured for all religion projects or maybe all projects and think the removal of images shouldn't happen to Hinduism only because of the swastika problem. If this is to become a general policy the discussion will have to be moved to a better place like Village Pump or something. GizzaChat © 23:55, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment A lot of you folks seem to be missing that AFAIK hardly anyone has claimed the Hindu Swastika is itself offensive. What's problematic is people easily confuse it with a different symbol (the Nazi swastika) that they're suddenly seeing in a context having nothing to do with Nazism. The Template:Nazism sidebar template has an actual Nazi swastika and nobody's offended by that, because it's exactly what they expect to see there, it's not being confused with anything, just as the christian cross and the jewish star on those respective templates aren't a problem like this, because they're not being confused by anything. The resemblance between swastikas is just plain unfortunate, and the civility of choosing a different symbol is mostly a matter of avoiding confusion. Inserting the text description is better than nothing (it helps avoid confusion but is clumsy) but not having any description at all is like writing something unclearly and expecting the reader to go research it and figure it out--putting the responsibility in the wrong place.

    If anything, Hindu's should be taking offense at the Nazis' misappropriation of the swastika, but it's too late to do anything about that now. Yes, Fucking, Austria has been the name of that town for 1000 years but it's not exactly what Austria would put on the cover of its travel guides intended for use by newcomers, simply because that name now conjures up a different set of associations. 67.117.130.181 01:27, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

    • Additional Comment I'll add to that that unlike the mainspace Template:Nazism sidebar we are talking about the {{Hindu_Links}} template which is placed in userspace. Also unlike say a Hindu userbox, one does not always choose to display this template on ones own talk page. So IMO what we are talking over here is a right to place content on other users talk pages, which they may find offensive (perhaps mistakenly), and then arguing that it is the recipients fault and he/she should educate himself/herself on the issue. Even if one, for argument's sake, grants that as a right, such conduct to me doesn't sound conducive to attracting people to the wikipedia or Hinduism project, which I would expect to be the very aim of the Welcome template. Abecedare 01:50, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
  • I consider this idea the worst possible alternative. --tjstrf talk 07:56, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree. Leave the template alone. I'd rather take this to the village pub as dagizza suggested and have every pic on templates on other relgions removed as well.--D-Boy 14:19, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Arjun's Proposal

My thought is this, since some viewers may be shocked to see the Swastika, why not just remove it from the welcome template. That way they will not be shocked or offended when they see they have a new message, as for the rest of the templates keep the way they are. In a nutshell remove the Swastika from the Welcome to Hinduism related content template. — Arjun 15:58, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Seconded. This is the same reasonable proposal that a significant number of editors have supported. Hopefully, a few vehement 'oppose' statements (based apparently in a desire 'not' to compromise) won't derail this as well. Good idea, Arjun. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 16:08, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Support for the third time, though I see no indication that this oft-repeated proposal will have any more success this time around. Dbratton 16:12, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Oppose Did you not read the discussion on top?!--D-Boy 18:45, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I think we've already gone over this one. I'm fine with it if it stops the arguing. Though I don't think it really has any additional advantage beyond the already made change (ironically proposed by an IP editor...) of simply adding a small note explaining the symbols on Template:Hindu Links. --tjstrf talk 18:48, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Commment I'd like to suggest an addition to Arjun's Proposal, if it's approved. Let's add a link to the template that is something like "About Hinduism and its symbols" or just "Hindu Symbols" that would point to an article (to be written) that discusses Hinduism and/or the main Hindu symbols. I believe that education is still the answer to the problem here, and we obviously need to help people understand that the swastika is, and always has been, a Hindu religious symbol. I think we all want to eradicate fear, ignorance, and intolerance over this symbol of Hinduism, and so we need to be thinking of educating people now - perhaps moreso than being 'right'. I also want to say that the willingness of many Hindus here to cooperate with another religion, and even remove one of its sacred symbols in even a small context - says alot about the warm-heartedness of Hindus and Hinduism. I have a hard time seeing other religions willing to remove their symbol in the same way. It's no wonder that so many in the world are embracing Hinduism, many of them over the religion they were brought up in. ॐ Priyanath talk 18:53, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
There is an article on Hindu iconography (forked from Hinduism) which itself serves as a summary for specialized articles on Aum, Swastika, Yantra, tilaka, vibhuti ... I invite all editors here to take a look and improve it further. Maybe some good will come out of this discussion after all :-) Abecedare 19:42, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Support Arjun's proposal and Support Priyanath's amendment. --BostonMA talk 19:04, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Oppose Though I have not contributed much to this (besides a few comments to IZAK), I have been reading this closely. While everyone has contributed many thoughtful ideas to the debate, I have to oppose this current proposal. I have yet to have read a compelling reasoning as to why I should support this (even though they have all been well worth the read!). Changing a symbol because its disagreeable to some is not very productive, even though the symbol has been warped by a madman. As to the idea of a "compromise," I noticed that the proposal would remove the symbol. I don't think that is much of a compromise. If I am mistaken, there was a proposal to leave the swastika in, but have a caption underneath explaining the meaning of it. I strongly feel that would best educate people in that the swastika represents something else to other religions and cultures and that it is not just a symbol of hate. While I do agree that it can be perceived by some as offensive, I would think that the educated person would want to know why this symbol is being used and read up on it. Isn't that the idea of WP? Maybe I'm wrong. Anyway, I sincerely hope I haven't offended anyone here with my thoughts but I just felt the need to share them.MetsFan76 19:13, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Removing the image from the 'welcome template' alone, to better welcome users who might not understand the swastika (but who are interested in contributing) does indeed seem like a true and fair compromise. The symbol's meaning to Hindus is a wonderful thing, and a deep part of tradition that should be celebrated... but you don't have to do so on a welcome template where such images are already optional and the Aum symbol represents Hinduism well. I hope you'll reconsider in the interests of building collaboration between different peoples with different histories regarding the swastika. In any case, you're just as welcome to your opinion as anyone else and you have my respect. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 19:16, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Thank you Ms. Freisling for the respect. =) I will think about that one. MetsFan76 19:19, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Don't mind but then again, why should we even have the Aum on the welcome message? This isn't about censoring, it is about purpose. Nobody has answered on why we need any sort of image on the template. As a weak utilitarianist the image are pointless. Before this welcome template existed I invited many people to WikiProject Hinduism. I would say: Hi, I see that you have contributed to many Hinduism articles recently. There is a WikiProject on Hinduism where Wikipedians collaborate and discuss together about Hinduism article. You may consider joining. Thanks That would probably be just as effective as the big welcome message if not more because it provides more context for the newbie. The Aum vs Swastika issue is not very important IMO. Everybody has agreed that both of them are the two most important symbols (not necessarily visual). But that hasn't achieved anything. The order (which one is more important) doesn't matter. GizzaChat © 21:51, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 21:57, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

BostonMA's interim proposal

I proprose that we adopt as an interim solution, adding an explanatory caption to the Swastika, (as MetsFan76 mentions above). While this idea did not enjoy consensus as a final resolution of the issue, I believe that consensus might be possible to support such a change pending further discussion. --BostonMA talk 19:28, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

I support this proposal as I really do think its the best way to educate someone on the alternative meanings of the Swastika. Maybe this can be given a trial run and if it is deemed offensive by others, then it should be removed. Maybe this question was answered and I missed it, but how long has the swastika been on the Hinduism welcoming template? MetsFan76 19:40, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Is this different from the current version of the template template:Hindu Links ? Abecedare 19:44, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Oops sorry. The version I meant is the current one. I got confused with all the changes and opinions. Does anyone know yet how long the swastika has been on that template? MetsFan76 19:46, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
The History shows that the Swastika has been on the template since it was created in June 2006. ॐ Priyanath talk 19:48, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Ok so the swastika has been there for over six months and only now someone got offended by it? I'm not trying to detract anything from the debate here, but if it really was an issue, shouldn't there have been a flurry of discussions since then? I honestly feel that educated people would read up on the uses of the symbol as indicated on the template. MetsFan76 20:00, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
The swastika is not out of the template. It was moved the bottom bar; however there is addition text explaining the significance of the symbols to Hinduism. This change was initiated almost three days (!) back by an anon IP ! I wholly empathize with your confusion. Abecedare 19:52, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Oppose. While I certainly do not want to derail any progress towards a compromise, I want to point out that the presence of informational text on the welcome template is an accomodation to keeping the symbol, rather than an appropriate use of the template. To me, on a welcome template it's far easier, simpler and more appropriate to avoid the issue by omitting the swastika and the disclaimer alike - and to use other pages to explain the role of the swastika within Hinduism. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 19:56, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Regarding my proposal: oops an explanation has already been added Well that's a good idea, sorry to propose the already accomplished. --BostonMA talk 20:09, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
No problem....but now I think I'm even more confused. If this has been the template (minus the addendum to what the swastika is) for six months, then why now is it offensive? MetsFan76 20:11, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
My reading: because till date it has been placed only on pages of editors who are knowledgable about Hinduism and hence don't find swastika the least bit offensive (quite the contrary!). However when it was inadvertently (but with no intent of causing hurt) placed on an editor's page, who held distinctly different view and did find it offensive - it sparked off this long discussion. Abecedare 20:16, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
And mine: as far as I am aware this is the first time someone's bothered to complain... not necessarily the first time the template has caused offense. In my case, I understand the role of the swastika in both Hindu culture and in Western culture (Nazism as well as other applications, like early European cultures) and while I was not offended I do understand the views of those who take offense... and personally I would not permit that symbol (whether the Hindu variant or another) on my userpage or talk page. I'd hate to be forced to delete a welcome template offered in good faith to welcome me with good will because it contained such a deeply offensive symbol. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 20:18, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Comment Is there any evidence that other people found the template offensive in the past six months? MetsFan76 20:26, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Actually I think Ms. Fresilings explanation is superior to mine. As discussions like this one illustrate, others may have been uncomfortable with swastika. Some stayed silent, some educated themselves, and now a few have voiced their feelings here. Abecedare 20:30, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the recap. That's pretty much what I thought was going on. Personally, I still feel that the template as it is now should be deemed acceptable. It clearly states what the swastika is to Hinduism. Something is always going to offend someone else regardless of the subject. One can only try to accommodate so much without losing their own identity. MetsFan76 20:22, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I think you'd find it a hard argument to justify the potential offense of so many simply to maintain a symbol on one template, without it being more a matter of pride than gracious welcome. What 'identity' is lost by giving due consideration of a guest's world view? As I mentioned earlier, a good host who understands his guest should welcome them without offense and then teach a lesson... not offend and then teach on their doorstep. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 20:25, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Link to The Hinduism Template being discussed ॐ Priyanath talk 20:20, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Template should go back to the way it was except the aum on the left and the swastika on the right.--D-Boy 20:23, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
In other words, the offensive nature of the symbol to so many is not relevant, and should be ignored? That's hardly in the spirit of compromise. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 20:26, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
But your idea of compromise is to remove it completely. Should the people who find the symbol an important part of their culture be ignored as well? MetsFan76 20:29, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Removing it from a single welcome template alone can hardly be characterized as 'ignoring a culture'. It seems to me that exhibiting some grace and humility is called for here, not cultural pride to the point of willingly, potentially offending a large number of people. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 20:31, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Who are these large number of people that are getting offended? MetsFan76 20:32, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
'Large number' refers to those groups who associate mass murder, racial superiority and violent hatred with the symbol. To be clearest, I'll make that 'potentially offending'. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 20:34, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
But that symbol was in use even before it was corrupted. What is holy to one may not be for the next person as this case is. However, I still don't see why the template as it is now (with the addendum about the swastika) cannot be used. MetsFan76 20:38, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Because templates aren't for educating about specific symbols, because images are not required on templates, because the Aum symbol is a perfectly valid symbol to use for the same purpose and because this is a welcome template, often received by those just becoming involved with topics of Hinduism. What degree of outcry would be required for you to recognize that it may be highly unproductive to growing the collaboration on these pages by using a symbol known to cause grave offense, to welcome those who very well may not have knowledge of its historical use? The 20th century's corruption of the swastika cannot be ignored - it is still used to represent genocide, torture and racism - and neither can our mutual responsibility to WP as opposed to ethnic or religious pride. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 20:51, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
While I appreciate your words Ms. Freisling, I regretfully have to disagree with you. MetsFan76 20:56, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
If you'd like to discuss why, you're welcome to... but I appreciate your perspective as well. I hope we will all be able to do what is best for WP, not for Europeans or for Hindus, but for all of us collectively. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 20:58, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I thought I pretty much stated why I disagree. But to add to your point that we should do best for WP, not just for Europeans or for Hindus, I'm still confused as to who we are doing wrong by. While the symbol is offensive to some, it was clearly not an issue for the past six months. (Not to take away from this but I think you live in Manhattan. If so, did they figure out what the smell is today? I'm in the Bronx about 15 minutes away and don't smell anything.) MetsFan76 21:03, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
We're doing wrong by WP. Certainly we don't have to wait for a crisis to be gracious hosts, consider the previous users affected and anticipate the potential reaction of users. Does offense need to be proven, for us to act in a respectful and humble way towards those who may view that symbol in 20th-century European terms? If you asked 1000 Europeans about the meaning of the symbol, I doubt a majority would associate it with Hinduism and not Nazism or White Supremacy. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 21:13, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
And no - no news on the gas smell... it woke me up it was so strong. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 21:12, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Trust me, I do see your point. I'm just trying to see everyone's views and how this can be resolved best for everyone. Sorry about the gas smell....don't ya love NYC? =) MetsFan76 21:15, 8 January 2007 (UTC)


(realigning to the left) Support - The above is a compromise which should address the issues raised above. I personally don't know (I doubt if anyone does) if the presence of the symbol on earlier templates ever actually did scare anyone off, but the current template might even heighten the curiosity of such editors, and that in addition to information, is one of its primary functions. Badbilltucker 21:02, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Only Support on welcome message, that is Template:Hindu links. On the other templates which appear on mainspace/article, Strong Oppose because it will look absolutely ridiculous to have a small explanation is on what the Swastika is on every Hinduism related page. GizzaChat © 21:40, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Gizza. MetsFan76 21:43, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Changing support to Gizza's proposal. Badbilltucker 22:07, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
(ec)As do I. It's an imperfect and flawed solution that will assuredly make no one happy - a perfect compromise! (That's a bit tongue-in-cheek - I do think this is a good solution for now, and want to thank BostonMA for the interim solution and DaGizza for the clarification. Of course, I don't think changing the template is an urgent matter, so whether we even need an interim solution is debatable. But if people want one, this seems like a fine one to have.) --TheOtherBob 22:09, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm ok with this solution also, though I'm one of those who's not happy with it, so your comment is really pretty accurate. I'm awaiting the day when ignorance and fear of an important and historic symbol of the world's third largest religion isn't the driving force behind a decision like this. ॐ Priyanath talk 22:21, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Well put Priyanath!! MetsFan76 22:24, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Very well put indeed! :) Badbilltucker 22:25, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm not okay with it, and I'm waiting for the day when compassion for the suffering of others is more important than expressing religious pride. This is hardly a compromise. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 22:25, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Ryan, I'm seeing alot more compassion expressed by Hindus here than I expect we would receive if we asked Muslims, Christians, and Jews to remove their symbol because we were offended (or ignorant or afraid). I don't expect you to show respect for that, but it would make this sharing a nice two-way exchange. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti ॐ Priyanath talk 22:32, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
You cannot ignore the pain you cause in this life, because it will inevitably come back unto you. Compassion is absent from the dialogue I have seen from many professing insult here - but despite the acrimony I have encountered, I have maintained respect throughout. Aum Namah Shivaya. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 22:35, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
If you're accusing me of causing pain ("the pain you cause in this life"), then I'm very confused. If you're accusing me of not being compassionate, then you would probably be very very surprised to know of my deep and long-lasting connection to a family that lost many people to the Nazis. I asked one of them what she thought about this discussion, and the Hindu Swastika offending some people. She (who lost innumerable relatives) responded the way most of the Hindus here are responding - "leave it there, it's their sacred symbol, people need to learn". She's Jewish. She was coming from a place of deep respect for the Hindu religion. She didn't accuse me of causing pain, or of not being compassionate. I sincerely take no offence at what you've said, but I am interested in educating, and wish you the best. ॐ Priyanath talk 22:45, 8 January 2007 (UTC)'
You misread me. Many here who oppose any adjustment, even on one template, seem entirely unconcerned with the pain they will cause. Your friend's opinion notwithstanding, there are many for whom the use of that symbol is deeply hurtful - to say nothing of using that symbol willingly, for purely decorative purposes where another (like the Aum) will better serve the purpose - welcoming strangers. You do not force a lesson on your doorstep when you open your home. WP welcome templates are not for teaching about hideous misuses of symbols, they should be for outreach. I find the ongoing defense of that symbol despite these truths to be more prideful and vain than informative. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 22:49, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
You are entitled to your opinion, obviously. However, one could on much the same basis question the use of any symbol on any banner, including the cross and the Star of David, or for that matter any national flag, as there are several people who have been deeply and abidingly hurt by people carrying those symbols as well. No one would or has really questioned the usage of either symbol on that basis, and in both cases there are other symbols which would work as well. Badbilltucker 22:58, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Ryan, I've read all of your postings here and believe I understand where you're coming from. I've seen a great deal of compromise and receptivity here. People are well aware of the sensitivities to the swastika - they are also proud (no, not vain) of their religion. I find that to be a good thing. When I see Christians, Muslims, and Jewish people proud of their religion, I think that's good. People here do understand the hurt that some people feel about the Nazi Swastika, and the confusion about the Hindu version. That is the reason for the willingness to compromise. A few have responded with emotion and defensiviness, and that's natural when a group feels that their religious symbol is being attacked. I would be curious to see how you, or other religions would feel if the tables were turned. And again, I'm proud to see the attitude shown here by Hindus. ॐ Priyanath talk 23:05, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Compromise is give and take. Gizza's suggestion is a good one. MetsFan76 22:31, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
(ec) I think we can all agree - or I hope we can all agree - that all editors here are editing in good faith. As such, I would emphatically avoid any argument that says "if you argue x, your argument must be motivated by y." Just a thought - don't want to sidetrack the discussion, but something to bear in mind so that we don't go too far down the "you have improper motives" road. --TheOtherBob 23:02, 8 January 2007 (UTC)


I share Ryan's hope for the day when compassion for the suffering of others is more important that expressing pride (religious, national or otherwise). I also feel that it is not right for someone to place an image on someone else's userpage which that user might not want on their page. I think that is an aspect of WP:Civility. However, I am somewhat concerned about the application of the phrase "compassion for the suffering of others" to the welcome template. I understand that an editor may be reminded of the holocaust by any swastika, whether Hindu or Nazi. However, I do imagine that most editors would probably quickly realize that the swastika on the template was not meant as a Nazi provocation. I hope this is not interpretted as "blaming the victim", but any "suffering" after one gains understanding, is at least in part, "voluntary". Now there still may be very good reasons for not having the swastika on the welcome template. But I am concerned that the "suffering of others" argument may be weak. I hope that I do not come accross as callous. I further understand that my distance from the holocaust may make me under-appreciate the pain of others for whom it is a much more personal matter. I raise this concern in the hope that either the suffereing argument can be made more convincing to me, or that the discussion may be shifted away from arguments which are not so convincing. Sincerely, --BostonMA talk 22:57, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Ryan there is no point trying to guilt trip us... I'm not seeking moral quivalence or anything but in all fairness, more/as many Hindus/Sikhs died during the partition and Bangladesh genocide... ofcourse our woggy lives dont count do they? Isnt this all about telling us uppity Hindus that some peoples are more important than others? अमेय आर्यन DaBrood© 23:00, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
AMbroodEY, if any editor were implying that the lives of Hindus were less valuable than the lives of anyone else, or who denied the sufferings of Hindus, not just in the partition, but in previous events that might be termed holocausts as well, if any editor were implying these things, I would take them to task. However, Ryan is not making any such implication, and should not be accused of making any such implication. --BostonMA talk 23:17, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

You guys are twisting yourself into grotesque intellectual knots when the correct response should have been "suck it up!" in the first place (presented in a nice good faith Wikipedia manner). WP:NOT#CENSORED, Wikipedia cannot guarantee that articles or images are tasteful to all users or adhere to specific social or religious norms or requirements. Its political correctness gone mad, and the whole thing smacks of Western ethnocentric arrogance. You guys are doing the same thing to the Hindu Swastika now what the Nazis did in the early 20th century. You have essentially committed a perversion a (non-Western) holy symbol, to be something "tut-tutted" over, "uncivil" and "controversial enough to have a explanatory tag every time we see it." Whats worst, its all well meaning to accommodate a few easily offended editors, The road to hell is paved with good intentions indeed. I am as equally offended at the blatant arrogant manner you all are carelessly bandying about discussing a holy symbol of several major religions (surprise! non-Western ones). --Eqdoktor 23:20, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

That's probably the best thing I have read so far. Well spoken Eqdoktor. MetsFan76 23:24, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
That is why most of us now want to only put the extra notice on the welcome message, in case someone is misunderstood like IZAK was. The reason why I want the Swastika and Aum to go (I'm a Hindu btw) is not to "censor" it but because I see no purpose, no reason why images have to be there in the first place. GizzaChat © 23:28, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
With all due respect, and please do not take this as an attack, IZAK has a history of blowing things way out of proportion. Besides that, doesn't every other welcoming template have images? Personally, I think it is creative. Unfortunately, some people are going to be offended regardless. However, I am confused. Gizza...didn't you just support leaving the images in on the welcoming template but deleting them elsewhere. Your last statement seems to contradict that. Sorry for the confusion. MetsFan76 23:33, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm confused, too - I thought he was in favor of adding an explanation to the images in the welcoming template, and leaving the images in place (without an explanatory tag) everywhere else. I'm probably just not following the discussion as closely as I should - Gizza, can you clarify? --TheOtherBob 23:40, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Don't worry! I am confused :-) To be honest, I don't care what happens. And no Hindu should if they know what Hinduism is even remotely about. The only things I definitely want is 1) no Swastika commentary on articles, 2) People to move on, Hindus and non-Hindus alike. My first preference is to have no images anywhere, which includes the Aum. My second preference is leave it the way it is but explain the Swastik on the welcome. GizzaChat © 23:45, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Yeah...I'm completely gone now lol. Who's on first?? (Sorry....had to insert some comic relief). MetsFan76 23:47, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Oppose - Wiki does serve the purpose of educating but readers are expected to understand (or at least learn fast) the large scale difference between the Hindu swastika and the Nazi swastikaa.Bakaman 02:09, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Sorry Baka but what do you oppose? There have been several suggestions and honestly, I'm not even sure what the current one is anymore. MetsFan76 02:15, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
As far as Eqdoktor's condemnation of those seeking to have the welcome template free of the controversial swastika image, I can say only this... I am completely comfortable that if one takes the time to read my comments, it will be clear that I hold no disregard for the value of the symbol to Hindus, but I am equally conscious of the association that the swastika has for Europeans. As far as 'expecting readers to understand, or learn fast', that seems directly opposed to WP's purpose - to allow readers to educate themselves at their own pace without assuming prior knowledge.
Given the controversial nature of the symbol, and given that the welcome template does not require images at all, why would we wish to include it on a template where such images are decorative?
If the answer is to educate, surely that could be done within the project, rather than on the welcome template. If the answer is to force education, that is not WP's way. If it is to celebrate the symbol, a welcome template is not a place where such celebration is really most appropriate, and frankly neither is WP. If the goal is to 'retain' or 'retake' the swastika's value, it seems to me that willingly shocking some individuals is an intellectually violent way of achieving this.
While those who might view the swastika as a representation of racism, torture, genocide and suffering (no, suffering is not the core of my argument) might object to it without ever knowing its powerful value within Hinduism, I don't see why a welcome template should be the venue for either provocation or pride. Discussing the differing uses and interpretations of that symbol to different cultures, and trying to find a solution that respects the widest totality of our readership is why we are debating this... there is no 'perversion' of this ancient symbol in this dialogue that I can see. Quite the opposite.
To see a discussion of the widely varying human experience of this symbol and ways to accommodate different views as a 'perversion' is to elevate the symbol far beyond its meaning, and in my opinion, that is a perversion. The symbol is not inviolate - it is a symbol and as such is subject to many interpretations.
I would hope that all people, Hindus and non-Hindus alike would see that when given an equal opportunity to either include or not include such a controversial image on one welcome template, it would be the compassionate act to exclude it, to bring others into the project, and to use the project (and not the template) to begin the discussion of the symbol, its use, and its misuse.
To sum up (and yes, this will be my last post on this topic for the time being) I can only restate what I have already said so many times - that my appreciation for Hindu culture, the meaning of the symbol, and the power of compassion compel me to argue for the removal of the image from the template. What is gained by such an act of compassion (an intentionally uncontroversial welcome to those unfamiliar with Hinduism and the beautiful ideas that the swastika represents) to me seems far greater than what some might feel is lost (one placement of a swastika on one template). In any case, Hinduism and those who are within that faith will continue to enjoy my heartfelt respect. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 02:20, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Hinduism and perceptions of Nazism

I'm curious to know what Hinduism's views were when Hitler took a respected symbol of their culture and distorted it. MetsFan76 02:26, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

RE:MetsFan76 (good year, btw!)...I recently read that many Hindus, ignorant of the actual history of the Holocaust and the rest of that heinous man's reign, regard him as a "hero" of sorts, precisely because his image is so often iconographically associated with swastikas, esp. online, where most of those sites showing the two make no effort to educate people about the actual history of the man or his régime, nor about how the swastika is perceived in so much of the West because of him and his atrocities. Tomertalk 04:39, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Source, please? ॐ Priyanath talk 04:48, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
A quick scan reveals this and this. Note this is not intended as an attack or a slight against any of the people of India, nor to assign this POV to any groups or individuals. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 04:57, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
AHMEDABAD: Gandhi is not so great, but Hitler is. Welcome to high school education in Narendra Modi's Gujarat, where authors of social studies textbooks published by the Gujarat State Board of School Textbooks have found faults with the freedom movement and glorified Fascism and Nazism.
While a Class VIII student is taught 'negative aspects' of Gandhi's non-cooperation movement, the Class X social studies textbook has chapters on 'Hitler, the Supremo' and 'Internal Achievements of Nazism'.
The Class X book presents a frighteningly uncritical picture of Fascism and Nazism. The strong national pride that both these phenomena generated, the efficiency in the bureaucracy and the administration and other 'achievements' are detailed, but pogroms against Jews and atrocities against trade unionists, migrant labourers, and any section of people who did not fit into Mussolini or Hitler's definition of rightful citizen don't find any mention." They committed the gruesome and inhuman act of suffocating 60 lakh Jews in gas chambers" is all the book, authored by a panel, mentions of the holocaust. " -- India Times, 30 Sep, 2004
That shows an isolated incident, abhorrent, but being taken care of by an upset populace. And I'm sure Google will show one or two more isolated incidents. But 'many Hindus'? ॐ Priyanath talk 05:03, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Agreed - although that citation describes text books provided to students by the state (and so likely reflect the mindset of some members of the Gujarat state government), there's no basis to claim 'many' Indians feel this way. Again, this citation is not meant to establish a 'wider case'. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:06, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't have an answer for MetsFan76's question, and am curious about it myself. However, Tom, I doubt that your information is accurate. I think around 1-5% of Indians (that is still 10s of millions) have access to the internet and they tend to be highly educated; so they are unlikely to hold such an opinion based on visual association. Most of the rest of the India relies mainly on satellite TV for its information and whatever little coverage of Hitler exists in that media, is overwhelmingly uniformly negative. So while I would agree that most Indians would know little about the details of the Holocaust, a negligible number hold a positive image of Hitler. Possibly a reason for this is that Indians historically have had no hostile interaction with the Jewish people - so the 'enemy-of-an enemy' justification for antisemitism doesn't apply to them.
I realize that this is a long, off-topic essay, but I hope this discussion can contribute to better understanding. Thanks. Abecedare 05:00, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
 ::Thanks Abecedare. I hope so too. I'd hate to see dueling Google searches bringing up isolated incidents showing how different religions hate each other. It could be done, but I won't be the one doing it, and I can see you won't either. ॐ Priyanath talk 05:08, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Priyanath - since you asked for a source, I provided one - I hope you are not insulted as no insult was intended. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:09, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't agree that your source showed that 'many Hindus' worship Hitler. Google searches can be used to denigrate any religion by bringing up isolated incidents. I sincerely hope others don't follow your and Tom's lead. ॐ Priyanath talk 05:12, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Seriously Priya - I never said 'many Hindus worship Hitler'. If you find my locating and citing this instance to be insulting or hurtful, I'm sorry - but it's a factual and recent series of events (2004 and 2005). The citation is meant to establish nothing beyond what it does... that "Human rights campaigners in India's Gujarat state have condemned school textbooks which they say praise Hitler." WP is about verifiability, and this is a verifiable incident from 2004-2005. I'm interested to see if the books have been corrected by the 'angry populace' and will keep you posted when I learn more. Again, as I said, it is meant to make no case other than the very words written in the BBC and India Times. I hope you will understand that. In addition - these citations do not substantiate any relationship between the view of the swastika and the view of Hitler by some in Gujarat. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:17, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Ryan, your 'source' was in support of Tom's statement that he read that "many Hindus....regard him (Hitler) as a hero". I didn't ask 'you' for a source, I asked Tom. Since you responded for him, with a source, I can only conclude that your 'source' was supporting Tom's statment. No insult taken, I was only trying to encourage others here to take the high road and refrain from Googling isolated incidents that show certain other religions in a bad light. I don't know the real story about Gujarat, and I've learned that newspapers don't always get the full story. So I wish I could remark on your isolated incident, but I won't. ॐ Priyanath talk 05:25, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
As I read it Tomer and Ryan are not trying to prove that Hindus worship Hitler - they are just pointing out what they have heard or read. I think it is useful to have the discussion in the open so that mis-perceptions, if any, can be rectified. Burying the opinions only breeds mutual suspicion and ignornance. So I think it would useful to make the discussion less adversarial in general. Let focus of the main points that we agree on, rather than a minor detail where we may differ. Thanks. Abecedare 05:20, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Also, as another sign of good faith I'll point folks to the WP article History_of_the_Jews_in_India:
"Unlike many parts of the world, Jews have historically lived in India without anti-Semitism from Indians (though they have been victims of anti-Semitism from the Portuguese[1] and the Christian Goa Inquisition during their colonial rule). India is perhaps the only country in the world where Jews were never persecuted against. The majority Hindu community have been very tolerant towards most other religions in India. Jews have held important positions under Indian princes in the past and even after independence from British Rule, they have risen to very high positions in government, military and industry. " -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:23, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Great job dudes... thanks for calling us Nazis. regard him as a "hero" of sorts, precisely because his image is so often iconographically associated with swastika thats nothing but far from truth. I'd grant it that most Indians would be ignorant of the gravity of the holocaust, but to imly that they sort of "deitify" Hitler coz of Swastikas is plain wrong. Holocaust simply doesnt rake up same emotions amongst Indians coz we've been sort of "desensitised" to atrocities. Indians prefer to forget rather than remember. Much of my maternal family was killed during partition pogroms in Sindh (now in Pakistan), the subject is never discussed within my family. You wont find an equivalent of Yad Vashem in India, despite the fact that over 4-5 million Hindus have been slaughtered post-partition. In recent times, over 0.5 million Kashmiri Hindus have been ethnically cleansed from Kashmir valley, yet you wont find them descdending into Palestinian-style victim complex. I hope this does give you guys an isight into Indian mentality.

P.S Ryan do you realise those "human rights campaigners" you quote are the same ones who whine "Zionism is racism"? Dont read too much into hyperbole flung around by Indian leftist controlled media. अमेय आर्यन DaBrood© 05:24, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm not calling anyone any names - not leftist, rightist, nazi, zionist nor racist. BBC and India Times are both considered notable sources, but like any media outlet need to be viewed in context. I didn't quote human rights campaigners, I quoted BBC and India Times, which contained excerpts of the books in question. And of course, one incident doth not an entire worldview make. In any case, just like some of these other issues, I'm happy to investigate further to understand the broader context. Most importantly, I'm sorry for your family's loss. Please know I can relate deeply and personally to such an overwhelming loss of family. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:27, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Lets please calm down and stop reading volumes into simple statements and questioning each others motives. We may be wrong, we may be ignorant - that is no fault. Willful ignorance is ! The very fact that we are here on wikipedia and writing on this board demonstrates that none of us display that flaw. So let us give each other more credit and assume good faith. Abecedare 05:38, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

In the interest of clarity, let me vehemently point out that I certainly didn't call anyone either a nazi nor a racist...I simply responded to the inquiry. I don't pretend to know how accurate the study I read was, I merely indicated that a study had been conducted and that it reported some [on the face of it] rather disturbing results. The reports on the study, however, have also left some rather significant "outs" for those Hindians who regard the subject of the study in a heroic light. Mischaracterizing my response to the proffered question does nothing to support anyone's point of view, to be sure...and I am left with the sole conclusion that any pontifications based upon it are nothing more than pointlessly argumentative subterfuge, meant to change the subject, rather than to stick with the ultimate purpose of the overall discussion at hand... Tomertalk 05:43, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

I have found a number of significant instances, including an article from the International Herald Tribune in August 2006 that discusses a number of aspects of the issue in detail in what seems a fairly even-handed manner. Here is the link and in the interests of avoiding more conflict I will refrain from excerpting it here. It is rather interesting reading, and overall reads to me as properly respectful of India and her people, while frankly discussing a number of these issues. Addition: here is the link to an essay cited in the article, which discusses the issue in a similarly even-handed and respectful way. Again - absolutely no insult, nor assignment of POV, is intended. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:54, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

To all: I sincerely hope my question wasn't detrimental to the discussion here. MetsFan76 05:57, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
You should have let my post stand without changing the subject :) -- User:RyanFreisling @ 05:58, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I should have? =) MetsFan76 06:01, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
And anyway, I thought it was a good point I made. =) MetsFan76 06:15, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
"Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in!"' -- 'The Godfather' -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:03, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I can't believe you just quoted one of my favorite movies which starred my favorite actor!!!!! =) Ryan..you rock! MetsFan76 06:06, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Time to take the high road that I referred to earlier, away from here - "you can't google your way to truth." ॐ Priyanath talk 06:04, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

MetsFan76...while I regard a number of your "contributions" to this discussion to have been counterproductive, I don't think your question in this regard fits that overall mold. I am, however, mildly distressed by the extent to which my response to it has been used as fodder for a significant amount of irrational "Hindus aren't nazis!" response...especially since no part of my response even remotely implied that Hindus embraced any part of nazism...rather, as I thought I had made quite clear, the emulation of "that man" was clearly devoid of any understanding whatsoever of the Holocaust and its impact, including that of the symbolism it employed, in "the Western mind"... Tomertalk 06:05, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Tom..let's not go there with my "counterproductive contributions." I stated what I wanted to IZAK and have moved on and tried today to make significant contributions...ok? Let's leave it at that. MetsFan76 06:07, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. Cheers, Tomertalk 06:10, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

The citations I provided illustrate a few examples of why it may be that some in India have a view of Hitler that is different than that held by many in the West, and it provides a historical and cultural rationale - without calling anyone any names or impugning anyone's morality. The degree of insult taken is distressing to me, since I don't view the information as at all condemnatory. Lord knows that plenty of Americans have done far worse in Hitler's name than anything cited here... and I went to extra trouble to find authoritative sources and 'both sides of the story'. To whatever extent people are insulted by the process of finding these citations, that is most regrettable and unintentional. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:11, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

And, again... wholeheartedly... Agreed. Nothing I've read about the subject even comes close to classifying Hindians as "nazis" for their adoration of Amaleq. In fact, the only indictment I've read in any of this has been a feeling of what I can only classify as "depression" at Hindians' dismal lack of information about the reality of what "that man" was, and the despicable worldview he represents/ed. Nothing I've read incriminates Hindians, at the worst it simply decries the appalling level of ignorance of history, and doesn't even imply that that ignorance is limited to India... Tomertalk 06:16, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Ok...just for argument's sake (and this may stir the pot a bit) but what if a Christian editor received a Jewish welcoming template that had the Star of David on it and he/she got offended by it b/c he/she is not Jewish. Granted, the Star of David is by no means anything like a swastika, but just based on religion, the Christian editor is opposed to it. How would something like this be handled if he/she made a complaint? MetsFan76 06:24, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Apples and pomegranates. Metsfan, I'm starting to wonder if you're stirring a pot on purpose by asking that patently inflammatory and illogical question. I'd say it's closer (but by no means equivalent) to someone receiving a burning cross (a symbol of racism in the Deep South) on a template, intended to represent the 'Hot T Club' or the equivalent. This is not a religious objection... it's a religious symbol to whom some have a historical objection. Please don't conflate them as it's very destructive to assign religious motives to people. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:32, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I am not purposely trying to stir the pot. I wanted to get an opinion to a question that I had. MetsFan76 06:34, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Well your scenario is not equivalent and it completely misrepresents the issue to the point of being misinformative. You leave a bad impression by being so illogical and inflammatory. I'd stop asking about objections to religious symbols because that's not at issue. The objection is to the symbol due to its association with the Nazis, not the Hindus. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:37, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
What I have been reading in here points to a different direction. But ok..I will leave it alone (even though I was under the impression that Hinduism is a religion). MetsFan76 06:40, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Good. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:41, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I love double standards. MetsFan76 06:42, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
And I like chapatis. Both statements are equally as relevant to this conversation. When the cross or the star of david is co-opted by an evil racist dictator and a world war is fought, sacrificing tens of millions to stop his genocidal conquest, we can talk about double standards. Till then, it's chapatis. Yum Yum. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 15:14, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I prefer puris, myself. Also, am I to infer from your statement that you do not consider the Crusades and all the other wars in recent and less recent human history to qualify on the same basis? There may have been fewer fatalities by numbers, by I seem to remember that they are considered to have killed a larger percentage of the living human population. Also, the several thousand years of peaceful history of the symbol are, apparently, irrelevant. By the way, since you're so interested in the subject, why don't you actually join the project? Badbilltucker 15:21, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Well put Badbill. Anyway, my statement was purely hypothetical and based on your response Ryan, I pretty much got my answer. Enjoy the chapatis!!! MetsFan76 15:25, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I think the fact that these incidents occured within the life spans of people alive today is an important factor, one which distinguishes it from previous, more historical conflicts. Without much difficulty, we can find a group of people who oppose every political symbol on the planet. The history of the swastika's peaceful symbolism is an important thing to teach, indeed. I may indeed join the project - we'll see - but I don't want a swastika on my user page. Metsfan - I'll let you know now that you will find me immune to sideways baiting, so save the illogic for those more manipulable - I won't bite. :) -- User:RyanFreisling @ 15:29, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Like I said, I got my answer. MetsFan76 15:37, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
'urp'. Yum yum. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 15:39, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Wow..a lady with manners!! The type of dame you put a ring on her finger lol =) MetsFan76 15:41, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Ah, sexism. The last refuge of a scoundrel. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 15:43, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Sexism?? Not me. MetsFan76 15:44, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
One of us commented on the other's gender, and it wasn't me. Focus, please. Munch munch. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 15:46, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I said dame. Unless you aren't a female, I'm not sure what the problem is. MetsFan76 15:49, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
dame = female. And yes, I'm female. But what that has to do with the discussion remains beyond me. Keep going, you're on a roll. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 15:51, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
A roll? I'm thinking more like a bagel. MetsFan76 15:53, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
(unindent) Actually, I didn't know that Ryan was a female, and don't really care. However, it does make it easier to use the specific "he" or "she" (or similar words) rather than the less specific "s/he" or, worse, "it." I'm male, by the way. Badbilltucker 16:12, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
A couple of responses to Ryan. While I agree that Nazism occurred within the lifetime of several individuals, I also note that by definition all of those individuals are now in their sixties at least, and statistics indicate very few if any use computers at all, let alone as an information source. So, in effect, that argument can be seen as being slightly misleading, because very few of the people in that group are ever on the computer in a position to be offended. The people much more likely to take offense would be younger people who have been in effect trained to object to the symbol by others (generally their elders), and that is a different matter, I think. And the fact that a religious symbol to whom some have a historical objection is also I think a bit of a strained argument. Certainly, the same could be said about the Star of David by all the people displaced by Israel since its reinception, or those who had relatives who died in the wars with Israel. (Not saying the wars were justified, just pointing out the likelihood of such an emotional response existing.) Also, religious wars have clearly been recently fought in what was Yugoslavia, and many of the people involved in that are of age to be regular computer users, making it much more likely that some of them would be much more likely to have objections to the cross or Islamic religious symbols. Having said that, I have never seen any such objections raised. Also, the Muslims of Pakistan and the Hindus of India have shall we say a very unsettled relationship, and there are objections to symbols of both religions in, as it were, the "wrong" country. So, in effect, while I acknowledge the points raised, I also think that the same arguments could probably be made about religious symbols of all the faiths of the People of the Book, as well as no doubt others. And in these cases the symbols were generally actually used in a specifically religious context, not hijacked by lunatic outsiders. Badbilltucker 22:22, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Poll

This is a straw poll which I consider suitable as in the middle of all the off topic talks between everyone we really need to see what people believe clearly. People above have indicated they are confused now, so here we can solve it. There are three choices: Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 06:23, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Option A: Include Swastika and Aum with a educatory note accompanying Swastika
  • Option B: Delete Swastika as it could cause distress amongst some in the Wikicommunity
  • Option C: Delete both Swastika and Aum
  • Option D: I disagree with all three above options and have my own idea

Please write down support (not oppose) next to the options. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 06:23, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

THIS IS NOT FINAL, THIS IS SIMPLY A TALLY OF VIEWS

Note: can we indicate a preference for more than one option? -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:24, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, it's not an exclusive choice of course. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 06:28, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Comment Hey Tomer...talk about counterproductive contributions. That's ridiculous what you just did. MetsFan76 06:30, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Also we are talking about only the Welcome template, right ? Abecedare 06:32, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
No, it's not at all counterproductive. It quite succinctly expresses my disgust with the attempt to raise, for the 3rd time in 3 days, a "poll" to resolve this issue. What's ridiculous is the constant polling. Tomertalk 06:35, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

NOTE THIS RELATES ONLY TO {{Hindu Links}}

Can I start a poll to see who wants Tomer to go to bed? =) MetsFan76 06:37, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Stop it - that's uncivil and unproductive. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:37, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm being uncivil???? Tomer voting in every option just b/c he is fed up with the polls is unproductive. MetsFan76 06:41, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

What were we doing above, people were voting support and oppose and then changing their votes because they were confused and then we discussed Nazism. This is more productive than that. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 06:39, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

For the record, I want Tomer to go to bed. For further record, the word is "incivil", not "uncivil", the extent of the incivility notwithstanding. Finally, this poll is no more productive than any of those that preceded it. I can give far better-argued reasons for supporting and for opposing each and every one of the proposed resolutions proffered here...none of which are even remotely "new" to this discussion. Ultimately, however, this discussion has shown a remarkably abiding ability to survive polling specifically because it is immune to polling. The only resolution is going to come by agreement among the editors involved, not by a poll, as has been demonstrated not only by the insane length to which this discussion has gone, but by the abject failure of previous polls to gain any traction among the editors most centrally involved in the discussion. Swaggering in in the middle and saying "hey! I'll conduct a poll and resolve this for y'all" is silly and misguided. Deleting statements in each of the sections of your pompous poll with which you disagree does nothing to support your flagrant hubris, it only weakens your attempts to present yourself as a neutral arbiter in this discussion. Thanks for erasing any doubts tho. Tomertalk 06:46, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Good night Tomer. MetsFan76 06:47, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Option A

Option A: Include Swastika and Aum with a educatory note accompanying Swastika

  • Support per above. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 06:24, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Support MetsFan76 06:42, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Oh for the love of God. As though enough misbegotten polls haven't already been begun in the course of this exchange?! Tomertalk 06:26, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Support (Ghostexorcist 11:08, 9 January 2007 (UTC)). I personally think the note at the bottom looks bad, but it's better than just deleting the swastika because of western prejudices.
  • Support As I learned, swastika translated to English means something like "being happy" and has a Sanskrit root, the swastika also appeared "organicly" in basket weaving sociaties, it has been used by Indians, Jain, Celts and Native Americans. It was used by the English Air Force in the First World War. Just because in WWII it was used by fascists, tilted on it's side with an eagle on it does not mean it should be ignored, it is a strong "sun-sign" that has been used since the Neoliticum.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Teardrop onthefire (talkcontribs) 13:08, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Strong Support My first choice, as I've said before in the deleted polls. Let's keep this poll up, please. ॐ Priyanath talk 16:34, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Weak Support Second choice after deleting both symbols, not for the sake of censoring but because of my tendencies towards utilitarianism. GizzaChat © 22:19, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Weak Support Option A seems like a passable compromise. There have been comments challenging whether those who want to remove the swastika would take the same view if a "western" religion's symbols had been similarly misappropriated, and supporting Hinduism's right to have holy symbols. At the same time there have been statements that Hinduism has a duty to acknowledge the horrible crimes of Nazism and avoid offending those for whom the symbol has had a different meaning, even if it means abandoning a holy part of its religion. Both arguments are ultimately unhelpful; they just lead to a screaming match based more on religious beliefs than encyclopedic principles. (Could we ever really reach a resolution to the question of whether the swastika is more important to Hindus than "remembering the Holocaust" is to Jews? I wouldn't even want to try.) So instead we have to go back to encyclopedic principles; what choice would we make if we wanted to make a template to represent Hinduism for an encyclopedia? We would look at facts - ask what symbols Hindus use, what Hinduism reveres. We wouldn't look at the Holocaust, because Hinduism and the Holocaust were for the most part unrelated. (Something a "Christian" did in a place with few Hindus tells us almost nothing about Hinduism.) Applying that test, I think the original template is what we'd come up with - the first and second most holy symbols of Hinduism seem like the two symbols we would use to represent it. However, I am ok with adding a note as a compromise, so am putting weak support under Option A rather than D. --TheOtherBob 22:51, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Support - with added text, could even encourage curiosity, which would be useful for an advertising/encouragement template. Badbilltucker 00:18, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Support, most attractive as it both explains and educates readers. Alternately, do nothing. --tjstrf talk 00:28, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Option B

Option B: Delete Swastika as it could cause distress amongst some in the Wikicommunity

  • Oh for the love of God. As though enough misbegotten polls haven't already been begun in the course of this exchange?! Tomertalk 06:31, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
    • Tomer: Either you vote or you don't, but stop telling the world that you love God. IZAK 18:10, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Weak Support An acceptable compromise, but lacks the advantage of educating people about our religious symbols, and After reading more of the comments by those opposed to the Hindu religious symbol, the sacred swastika, I believe the problem here is due to a lack of understanding. Education is the answer, so Option A is the answer. ॐ Priyanath talk 16:38, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Support because the world is not ready to make peace with the symbol of the Nazis (and many of its cohorts who used similar ones) and which is associated with all it's heinous crimes against humanity. Hinduism and Jainism deserve better at this time, and they are fortunate enough to have other symbols to choose from. IZAK 18:10, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I find your comments odious. You arent even trying to understand significance of Swastika in Dhramic religions. Amey Aryan DaBrood© 20:51, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Support Any religion, at this point in history, that fails to distance itself from nazi symbols is evil. There also appears to be here an attempt to "resurrect" the swastica; transforming it from a symbol of murder, theft, and destruction—the current widely held view—into something it is not: An innocuous "religious" symbol. The Hindus, (and Wikipedia), ought to reject this hateful symbol or be judged to be lacking in decency.--Lance talk 22:00, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
That above comment, by Lance6968 is plain ill-mannered and offensive. Imc 22:06, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I second the opinion of Imc. --BostonMA talk 22:09, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree also, along with the 'odious' (thanks AMbroodEY) description of the comments by IZAK. This place is absolutely starting to stink with religious bigotry and ignorance, and even hatred (calling Hinduism 'evil', as Lance just did) - against Hinduism. I propose we accept consensus, and close and archive this disgusting discussion as soon as possible. ॐ Priyanath talk 22:13, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I think failing to respect the holy symbols of another culture can argued as evil regardless of what they were used for in other parts of the world. GizzaChat © 22:15, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree with those opposing Lance's comments, but I do support the removal of the image from the welcome template, as people are already quite aware. Lance's reasons, however, seem to me to be deeply offensive and not at all accurate. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 22:21, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Support There's plenty of space elsewhere to educate people about the use of this sacred symbol and its history. No need for it to be on the template. Those who say "if people are offended by the symbol because of its association with the Nazi's, too bad, those people need to be educated" are really missing the point IMO, since this would apply to literally millions of people. And if you offend people with your welcome, they aren't likely to stick around for the education, as we've seen. If you want to educate people, don't first slug them in the face with something they, rightly or wrongly will take deep offense to. Batamtig 05:20, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Support I don't see any point in using the swastika when the aum is already used in the template - that seems the best way. If there was no aum and swastika was the religion's only symbol it will be different perhaps but this is not the case here. Use the aum only. Cheers, Amoruso 07:38, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Option C

Option C: Delete both Swastika and Aum

  • Oh for the love of God. As though enough misbegotten polls haven't already been begun in the course of this exchange?! Tomertalk 06:31, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Strong Support Nobody has given even one good reason why we need the images on the template. It looks pretty and Other templates have images aren't good reasons. GizzaChat © 22:22, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Support And Polls suck, as Tomer said. If removing the swastika and the Aum will avoid insulting those who see value in the swastika (I'm not sure why it would), this seems the most logical compromise. I prefer having the Aum due to its significance and non-controversial status, but I will support this idea. Thankfully, this isn't a 'final vote', but a 'tally' (I only hope it doesn't distance us from an effective solution). — Preceding unsigned comment added by RyanFreisling (talkcontribs)
  • Sigh. Although I agree with Tomer's sentiments above, I see that we are voting anyway. Strong Support per Gizza. --BostonMA talk 22:26, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Option D

Option D: I disagree with all three above options and have my own idea

  • Oh for the love of God. As though enough misbegotten polls haven't already been begun in the course of this exchange?! Tomertalk 06:31, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • NO ACTION WHATSOEVER-- Editors in the Hinduism (and other relevant topics) articles are free to use the Swastika and any other religious symbol in their proper encyclopedic context. There is no need for Wikipedia editors to pander to the lowest intellectual denominator. If offense is taken where none is intended (as in Hindu Swastika) it is not our burden to deal with it. It is a hopeless game to placate people who are deliberately being obtuse or wilfuly see Nazi images in any swastika, no matter what the context it is in. This debate is entirely too Western ethnocentric to begin with since we would never be seriously debating this matter (with the corresponding disrespect to Eastern religions) if it involved a Western symbol like the Cross. --Eqdoktor 13:38, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Support Eqdoktor's view Stop the god damn polls!--D-Boy 15:30, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • No action. Agree with the above. Imc 21:35, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Support (Ghostexorcist 23:39, 9 January 2007 (UTC)). If one goes, all should go!
  • No more polls - Waste of time.Bakaman 23:56, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Same problem with the swastika on Jainism articles

Swastik4.GIF I haven't gone to sleep entirely! The same objections should be applied to the swastika on the Jainism pages, see {{Jainism}}. This one looks like it came straight out of the Third Reich deep freeze! See the cute "summary" at Image:Swastik4.GIF#Summary. Thanks, IZAK 07:18, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Oh brother..... MetsFan76 07:22, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
The "cute summary" at Image:Swastik4.GIF#Summary is the work of two vandals (on 21 and 22 Dec 2006) that I have since reverted out. Are you truly that ignorant of the history of the Swastika and the Third Reich, the perversion of that symbol by the Nazis or are you just being disingenous here? --Eqdoktor 10:29, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Hi Eqdoktor: I had absolutely no knowledge of the history of those comments, I was reporting them here somewhat tongue in cheek, letting others decide what to make of it, and evidently you knew more about it than I did. Thanks. IZAK 17:53, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

I didn't find any Jainism Welcome template that is placed on user's pages without their permission. So the situation is not exactly comparable to the Template:Hindu Links. Secondly this may not be the venue for discussing the topic, since persons involved in the Jainism project may not be following this debate. Abecedare 07:24, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Hi Abecedare: That was not my point, I was pointing out that there seems to be a great ignorance about the offensive nature of the swastika in another forum. That's it. Feel free to bring others into the discussion. Thanks, IZAK 17:53, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
This is definitely not the venue to be bringing this up. MetsFan76 07:30, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Why, the subject here is the swastika isn't it? IZAK 17:53, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

In Jainism, there is no second symbol that people can argue about compromising on. So it shouldn't be as big of a deal there. --tjstrf talk 07:25, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Luckily, the Jainism articles fall under the scope of Wikipedia:WikiProject Jainism, and it is at best inappropriate and at worst useless to raise the issue here. You do know Jainism is an entirely different religion, right?Badbilltucker 14:12, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
So does anyone know why IZAK posted this here? MetsFan76 14:41, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I would say something but it wouldn't be nice.--D-Boy 15:28, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Join the club. :) Badbilltucker 15:33, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm an Italian guy from the Bronx with a mouth a mile wide. I have no scruples saying something to him lol. MetsFan76 15:40, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Blech. Using swastikas intending to provoke people into anger = Bad. :( -- User:RyanFreisling @ 15:36, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I wasn't aware you were able to determine other people's intentions. I've heard legends about real psychics, of course... :) Badbilltucker 15:48, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Well I won't claim to be a psychic, but I know agents provocateurs when I see 'em. There's been a lot of contentious contributions here from IZAK as well as his arch-nemesis Metsfan. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 15:50, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
So, who would you say was the insitigating agent provocateur here? I don't know French, I hope I got that right? Badbilltucker 16:14, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't. :) -- User:RyanFreisling @ 16:19, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Actually, IZAK is my arch-nemesis. An arch-nemesis is usually the bad guy in comic books and I'm sweet as a lemon =) MetsFan76 16:27, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Sigh its about time some people stopped parading their ignorance. You can bully us into removing swastika but i'd like to see you try for Jains, its their only symbol. I wish User:Hkelkar was here he is a Hindu-Jewish guy currently serving a 1 year block for POV-warring with Islamists. Amey Aryan DaBrood© 17:00, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
He got a one year block because he was a troll and used socks to evade other blocks he had on his original account. He wasn't a Hindu-Jewish guy btw, just someone interested in Zionism. And are you sure he is no longer editing?

Amazing how a very serious issue -- the appropriateness of using swastikas, any swastikas, on Wikipedia as part of templates about other religions, given the history of the swastika's use by the Nazis and the negative associations that go with that for many millions of civilized people (with memories and knowledge of Nazism, World War II, and The Holocaust) -- and the best most people here can come up with is a "kill the messenger" because you don't like the message response. Sure it's easy to avoid discussing serious challenges (how to put the swastika, not Hindus/Hinduism or Jainists/Jainism, in its place) by scapegoating someone you don't like instead. Let's focus on the subject at hand and not get sidetracked. Just a few more points: Feel free to let the Wikipedian Jainists know that they are pushing an image that many people will automatically be offended by. The swastika is not the predominant symbol of Hinduism, a religion with many symbols, whereas the cross (for Christianity), the crescent (for Islam), and the star of David (for Judaism) are basically the only universal symbols for those religions. Hindus and Jainists deserve a better deal, no sane marketing strategy for a religion can work using the swastika as a logo. The last time a "product" with that logo was used in the world, the world almost went up in flames forever. IZAK 17:39, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

So you are basically implying that we arent civilized? Stop being so obtuse. This is not about "marketing" or anything, Hinduism for one doesnt even encourage conversion. Do you realise that this symbol has been holy for us (Hindus,Buddhists & Jains) for over 2500 years? The fact that one deranged bastard approrpiated it doesnbt take away its symbolism for me. My people Marathas founght and died under the banner of swastika resisting Islamic invasions.

The swastika is not the predominant symbol of Hinduism, a religion with many symbols, Thanks for letting me know. Very illuminating really... Maybe you and Ryan could lecture me on my parent's religion sometime. Amey Aryan DaBrood© 20:01, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

You did know that Jainism is in fact a completely different Dharmic religion than Hinduism, though, didn't you, IZAK? You did check the articles in advance? You know, that's the kind of thing they teach in secondary school. You have been to secondary school, right? Badbilltucker 01:59, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
IZAk, WE'RE NOT FREAKING NAZIS! get it in your head.--D-Boy 20:35, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Evidently, it isn't important that a significant group of people here were "automatically" offended by someone posting a message which is completely and utterly irrelevant to this project. Or the fact that someone might not have even bothered to find out anything substantive before making clearly inflammatory comments here. And the implication that the use of the swastika in the symbol of Jainism for wikipedia is so clearly and patently absurd and actually incomprehensible that I won't bother to respond directly to it. Badbilltucker 22:32, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

I think we should let Jains use the swastika as they have been doing for thousands of years; if a bastard "stole" it and misused it, it does not mean Jains and Hindus have to stop using it. The Swastika has a different meaning for them and it's not the only symbol they have, so it's not that big deal. I'm not offended when I go to the house of a Hindu or a Jain friend and I see a swastika -mainly because it's not THAT common for Hindus and Jains never force you to touch it or kiss it, G'd forbid! --JewBask 21:01, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

I think part of the issue here regrettably might be the insensitivity and ignorance of persons who choose to raise issues despite having either no knowledge of or concern with the relevant facts. Regrettably, such things are the kind of things wikipedia was created to help eliminate, not promulgate. Badbilltucker 22:03, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Just as regrettable to me are the ongoing attacks (like AMbrood's) upon me - an editor who brings factual citations and conducts her argument with respect and intellectual intensity. I cannot see how people can look at what I have actually said and then proceed to take any of my posts as personal or religious slights. I have been very gracious as I have weathered a lot of unearned abuse in this process, and yet my respect for the Hindu faith remains as strong as ever. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 22:08, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Point taken. My apologies if you feel that I have done so myself, by the way. Badbilltucker 22:09, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't feel that way about your conduct, or really that of anyone else in particular, since I try not to hold onto such feelings (they poison the soul in a medium like this where you can't look your 'opponent' in the eye, see their soul and apprehend your shared humanity). I do wish the dialogue here was about how best to welcome strangers to topics of HInduism, rather than substantiating the value (uncontested by me) of a symbol, bt I understand issues of pride and religious identity and the passions they can arouse. I'm very grateful for your comment nonetheless, and the positive 'lilt' it gives the conversation, however long it lasts before another attack is leveled :) . -- User:RyanFreisling @ 22:15, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

I really have no opinion one way or another on this particular dispute, however I must say that I am appalled by some peoples reaction to Izak's statement. He is not trying to force anything upon anyone, he is merely stating his concern in a respectful way, all people have given him in return are straw men and disrespect. It is especially difficult to assume good faith in the case of Metsfan considering the fact that he shows up at every conflict that even remotely involves Judaism and takes a righteous and condescending contrarian viewpoint.- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg | Talk 22:44, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

I have a right to an opinion so back off. I have made some interesting points in this discussion and yes, some of which were not in "good faith," but for IZAK to come in here and start talking about things he has no idea about, then people are going to react, some are more passionate than others. If you have nothing to say regarding the use of the symbol, then please refrain from any other useless comments. MetsFan76 22:51, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
You pretty much acknowledge my accusation about making bad faith comments and then you tell me to "back off" with my "useless comments", funny.- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg | Talk 00:36, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh I never once said that some of my comments were not constructive. But as a whole, I am attempting to understand the reasoning as to why the symbol cannot be used. Your comments are useless in the sense that they do not add anything to the discussion besides attempting to defend a delusional individual. MetsFan76 01:15, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
I think that the fact that he is choosing to here, in a place which is completely and utterly wrong for this particular complaint, can be seen by others to show that he is himself acting less than completely laudably. I know myself that the Jainism Project banner is actually on the talk pages of the articles using the Jainism sidebar, not the Hinduism Project banner(s). The swastika is also even on the Jainism project banner itself. The fact that he apparently never bothered to look and decided to come here to voice a second complaint, this one completely and utterly irrelevant to this project, for whatever reason, comes far short of showing his own behavior in a good light. Badbilltucker 22:49, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
An overall response: If I have offended anyone here with some of my points and views, then I want to apologize. I respect everyone's opinion as I hope mine are as well. My reasoning for off-color remarks to IZAK was because I was extremely upset that he had the audacity to say that the symbol should be removed. Nobody has the right to tell anyone else what they can and cannot do. The symbol has been revered by Hindus for many years before Hitler corrupted it. However, that does not mean the symbol is corrupt to the Hindus. People need to respect that and if they have a problem with it, then they need to better educate themselves and simply, grow up. MetsFan76 22:58, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Unlike the Aum/Swastika in Hinduism, in Jainism the Swastika is easily the most important symbol in their religion. I will support it being removed if the Judaism template removes its Star of David, Christianity template removes its cross and Islam remove their mosque. GizzaChat © 23:31, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Please tell IZAK to read up on WP:POINT and WP:TROLL.Bakaman 23:51, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Ryan i apologise for those sarcastic remarks directed at you. I must ephasize those remarks were made in a *anger* at IZAK's insensitive insinuations. Sorry once again for losing my temper. Amey Aryan DaBrood© 06:07, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
No worries and your apology is of course accepted. I know how high passions can run when people feel that they or their faith is being attacked. Thank you for your comment and I'm hopeful we can all focus on our goal - increasing understanding between different peoples with respect and mutual compassion. Have a lovely evening, it's bedtime here on the Eastern Seaboard! :) -- User:RyanFreisling @ 06:10, 10 January 2007 (UTC)


Its early morning at this side of the pond! Amey Aryan DaBrood© 07:25, 10 January 2007 (UTC)


Obviously a number of editors here do not know me well enough. I am not making any sweeping suggestions nor am I judging the merits or demerits of the swastika's meaning for Hinduism or Jainism. What I am saying, is that after I received a message on my talk page [56] that utilizes a swastika in its template ({{Hindu Links}}) I became very concerned and requested further comments and discussions if it is right that on WIKIPEDIA the swastika should be used as such a prominent symbol in official templates by editors. Sure, let there be articles about all kinds of swastikas and what they mean for anyone. No-one wants to deprive Hinduism of anything, but because Wikipedia is an amalgam of editors from many walks of life one cannot ignore what the swastika means and symbolizes to victims of the Nazis (not the result of just "one madman" as some people here keep on saying -- since tens of millions of Nazis wore the swastika as they did that madman's diabolical will) during World War II and The Holocaust in particular. To voice these objections is not to "troll" or anything as stupid as that, I have lots of other editing tasks to occupy me on Wikipedia I assure you. But as an editor concerned with topics that concern many areas of Jews and Judaism I feel fully justified in raising all the concerns that I have done so far, without apology. It is a pity that some users here have stooped to personal insults which in turn has encouraged others to act likewise. But no lynch-mob mentality will resolve the core dilemma before us here at this time. Again, I repeat, my purpose has nothing to do with criticising Hinduism or any religion as such, my only intent is to protest the use of a controversial and highly-emotive (negative) symbol in official templates that create the false image that the swastika is the only symbol for that religion when in fact it is not. Nothing more and nothing less. I will not respond to childish name-calling, cynical put-downs, or to personal insults from anyone, but I will be more than happy to debate the points and stick to the discussion which at least some people here have taken seriously, and I thank them for keeping a cool head. Finally, may I say, that this is obviously only a talk page, nothing more and nothing less. I do not intend to get involved in any major editing here, nor will I nominate these templates for deletion. The changes need to come from within, and if some editors want to give the swastika, any swastika, pride of place all over the place via placing them in Hinduism and Jainism templates, people out there in the world will take note and my bet is that it will continue to attract negative attention and will continue to court controversy. I think I have spent enough time on this debate. Thank you all. IZAK 07:45, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

I take it your clearly inflammatory and inherently objectionable and ill-informed language like "it came straight out of Hiler's deep freeze" is something you consider reasaonable conversation? :) Badbilltucker 14:06, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
If this was the only possible image to represent jainism really then I wouldn't have any problem of it but I don't think it's true. It seems most websites about jainism don't have this symbol at all. [57] [58] , just my observation. so it's possibly not necessary in a Jainism template if it's not in the main official websites. It also doens't appear on book covers, but this seems the most common image and could possibly be used instead ? [59] Amoruso 07:46, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Please discuss this on the Jainism page. Do not discuss it here. (Ghostexorcist 07:58, 10 January 2007 (UTC))

Feeding Trolls with bleeding hearts - STOP IT ALREADY!

What are you all still here for?
Any useful encyclopedic discussion has long since left the building, took the 5 o'clock bus home and is now taking a long relaxing nap (thats an extended metaphor for you). So now, people are concerned about Hinduism because Swastikas "attract the wrong sort of people". So now for the next act in this despicable show, we are setting up crosshairs on Jainism to keep the Trolls amused? There is no point anymore to discuss scholarly interpretations and historical analysis of the Swastika - this so called "discussion" has long ago rotted away to rubbish.

  • Trolls have shown up taking potshots at the Swastikas and "the man with the deck brush tache". Hey its easy and fun to bash Nazis... No matter what the context...
  • Hinduism, other Eastern religions and their holy symbols are caught up and held up in great disrespect in the manner in which they are discussed.
  • Trolls are taking random potshots at Hinduism and other religions disguised as debate and because they can
  • Bleeding hearts have taken upon themselves (in their condescending paternalistic, Western ethnocentric way) to go out of their way to appease trolls and make excuses for Hinduism, Jainism and other religions when none are needed or asked for.
  • Real racists/bigots have shown up for the show and having a good laugh - there is nothing subtle about a lot of the above comments anymore.

Its gone far beyond amusing. True Wikipedian Trolls are a cleverer and more subtle species. They hide themselves behind the guise of assumption of good faith. They do just enough to fall under the radar of WP:POINT and WP:TROLL. They throw out jibes, insults and bigoted remarks and disingenuously feign good intentions (ref those supposed bleeding hearts also). Take a good look at WP:TROLL#Types_of_trolling, heed the cautionary, AND FOR GOODNESS SAKE, DO NOT KEEP FEEDING THE TROLLS!. --Eqdoktor 08:51, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Eqdoktor: There are no trolls here. Who are you calling trolls? Name them, go on you coward! It's a couple of Wikipedians discussing something of importance. Sad that you can't see the good of the discussion and must throw up these smokecreens. It is you that now takes the "moral high ground" (that simply is not there) with these wild accusations. When you say things like "Hey its easy and fun to bash Nazis... No matter what the context..." one wonders what that means? Maybe I don't want to know... IZAK 09:17, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps they aren't trolls per se. However, IZAK, by making that complaint here, in what is clearly the completely wrong place, is himself displaying the lack of cultural sensitivity and awareness that seems to be the reason he is giving for removing the image. Badbilltucker 14:45, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) IZAK and co. aren't trolls as such. They were merely making a point. Yes sometimes with sentences such as Why don't Hindus reject the evil Swastikathey went over the top but Wikipedians assume good faith. Wikipedia follows Neutral Point of View, which means we will try not to offend the 14 million Jews and the billion or so Hindus. Most users have agreed the removing the Swastika completely is an insult to Hindus while keeping it exactly the way it was will be offesive towards the Jews. That is why we find a middle path and that is why the discussion goes on. GizzaChat © 09:22, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Thank you Gizza: I took a look at the Wikipedia:WikiProject Jainism page and lo and behold no swastika, just this good symbol (by the way, it's also used by many Sephardi Jewish Kabbalists -- The first sign of any commonality that I have seen thus far in any way): Jainism Logo IZAK 09:33, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't believe this

I have only one thing to say on this: Please, please learn to distinguish between Wikipedia content disputes and Wikipedia talk/user/meta/icons/bells-and-whistles shiny template stuff. I am all for defending the swatika's place as a notable and bona fide Hindu symbol in article namespace, per WP:ENC, WP:NOT, etc. The rules for talk/user-templates are completely different. They are purely functional. They are not encyclopedic. They do not need any images at all. All decisions on these should be purely pragmatic. If people complain about their size, colour or image adorments, strip them down to the minumum. It is pointless to have a lengthy discussion about anything that is not content related. The default solution for user/talk issues is, if in doubt, strip it and move on. The main namespace Hindu templates should obviously not be affected by any sort of "evil symbol" concerns. The talk namespace stuff should be stripped to a minimum as soon as somebody complains. Apart from this, I fully concur with Eqdoktor, there is nothing to discuss here, you should all just drop it and work on articles, Thank you, dab (𒁳) 13:59, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Would you be so good as to tell us where these rules for templates are to be found? Badbilltucker 14:40, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree with your POV on this issue, and I share your view of the superfluous role of images, etc. on user/talk templates. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 15:03, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
I actually more or less agree myself. They are not necessary, but the banners have as one of their primary functions being "eye-grabbers" for the project in question. Also, unfortunately, many individuals simply won't use one which they don't consider aesthetically pleasing to them, which rules out a lot of those without images. So, while not in any way necessary, they do fulfill a function in that they help the template do one of its jobs, getting the attention of the person looking at the page. Badbilltucker 15:15, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
When an 'eye-grabber' is also a possible 'heart-stopper' (and it's superfluous to boot) I think a good host wouldn't use it for a welcome. As demonstrated above, some people are not aware of the impact that symbols associated with Nazism have for Europeans, North Americans and Africans - so it may be hard for them to understand the pain such an image can cause. As I mentioned above, I wouldn't want to receive such an image and as users have no control whether a welcome template is placed on their page, the use of a swastika in such an instance seems to me to be unnecessary and therefore a generally bad idea. Again, this is not to diminish the importance of the swastika or the Aum to Hindus. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 15:27, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
I do have to think that you may have used a bit of exaggeration there. Heart-stobber? Really. And, for what it's worth, I'm in St. Louis, Missouri, which is definitely in North America. While I acknowledge that some people, by dint of their own upbringing, may have developed objections to particular symbols, and I can myself acknowledge that the swastika could be removed from the welcome template, I could also argue that the Star of David be removed from the Template:WikiProject Judaism, the cross be removed from the Template:ChristianityWikiProject, and, for that matter, that all the flags be removed from the banners of the various national projects. Would you agree to these proposals as well? Badbilltucker 15:35, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
'Really'? Really. It is no exaggeration... the symbol is banned in Germany for that very reason (not that I agree with 'banning' a symbol). I will resist viewing your effort to quate it to the Cross or the Star of David (neither of which have been co-opted by 20th century nations for genocidal war resulting in the imprisonment and extermination of millions upon millions) and your attempt to diminish its impact upon me as disrespect. Just last night you were expressing a desire not to insult with your views, but dismissals of others' views like that as 'exaggeration' are indeed capable of causing insult. However, I'm more thick-skinned than that. :) -- User:RyanFreisling @ 15:42, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I believe it is not at this point an exaggeration, but is today a factual, and probably knowing, misstatement. I believe the symbol was banned in Germany initially on that basis years ago. The reason it is still banned is because Germans, including those of German ancestry, like me, are tired of people thinking of Germany in those terms. By the way, I spend two years in Germany studying, so on that basis I think I am better qualified to deal with this subject than you, unless you can point to similar credentials yourself. It is also the reason, more recently, the German Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has banned any WWII movies from getting their best picture award. I mention that only to show the continuing distaste for the swastika in Germany. And I did point out to you above the inherent fallacies as I perceive them in your own arguments. Please do not continue to try to duck those points by simply rephrasing your own comments. Badbilltucker 15:52, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
More combativeness. 'more qualified than you'? Highly unproductive. 'Inherent fallacies'? 'ducking points'? Which, exactly, besides repeatedly equating the swastika illogically to the Cross and the Star of David (and in so doing ignoring the Aum completely)? Seriously, saying I'm knowingly misstating my views is the personification of bad faith. I'm not, and I have not demonstrated any such behavior. I'll remind you of WP policy and the very contents of the heading of this page - be polite, avoid personal attacks, assume good faith, be welcoming... in one post you've violated all of them. I continue to make my points respectfully and you continue to attack, seemingly wishing to position yourself as a 'higher authority'. You don't know my personal history and I don't feel the need to provide qualifications to you in order to avoid your bad faith attacks. please avoid such attacks and bad faith. We are here to determine the content of a welcome template - the last item on the heading says 'be welcoming' - and willing insistence on the superfluous use of a symbol known to offend many in a deep way is hardly being polite and welcoming. -- User:RyanFreisling @ 15:58, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
And presumably you would call your own conduct polite. If I was wrong in assuming you knew more about the reasons why the swastika is still banned in Germany, my apologies. Also, I did assume good faith and that is why I pointed out to you in the above section that the people who are only responding emotionally are almost exclusively those who learned to hate the swastika from their elders, not those who are themselves direct victims of the Nazis. Again, as I pointed out above in the last post in the thread Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Hinduism/Hinduism and perceptions of Nazism, there have been genocidal wars, even later than WWII, involving Christianity, specifically in Yugoslavia. Also, any individuals who had direct reason to hate the swastika are at least in their sixties, and few if any of those people use the computers to access locations such as these. I notice you still haven't responded to those, by the way. Instead, you restated your earlier, I believe I can now say, fallacious statement, in a slightly different form. I would welcome a direct response to those points, by the way. Badbilltucker 16:10, 10 January 2007 (UTC)