ORIGINS OF THE SWASTIKA
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© Bharat Gupt 2009
Have you ever wondered from where the Swastika symbol originates and what is its original significance? Among the many signs and symbols that have been known to exist from time immemorial, the Swastika has an extensive history that covers most parts of the globe. The earliest evidence of the appearance of this motif is seen in India and later in Eurasia before it spread to East Asia, China and the American continent. It is has been found in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, always representing sacred power of goodness, except when it began to be used as a symbol of hate by the hands of German Nazis in the 20th century...
Bharat Gupt Associate Professor, CVS, Delhi University. Founder member and Trustee International Forum for India's Heritage. Born in 1946 in Moradabad, a small town in the Uttar Pradesh province of India of mixed Hindu-Muslim population, best known for its engraved art on brassware and a little less for Hindustani music and Urdu poetry. Parents moved in early fifties to Delhi, the new capital of modernity and political intrigue, where I went to school and college and studied English, Hindi, Sanskrit and philosophy, but spent every summer in the district town. Spent a year in the US at the end of Counter-Cultural days and took a Master's degree from Toronto. I learnt to play the sitar and surbahar under the eminent musician Uma Shankar Mishra and studied musicology , yoga sutras and classics under Acarya Brihaspati and Swami Kripalvananda. Trained both in modern European and traditional Indian educational systems, I have worked in classical studies, theatre, music, culture and media studies and researched as Senior Onassis Fellow in Greece on revival of ancient Greek theatre. As a classicist I came to realise that ancient Greek drama and culture as a whole, was given an unduly empirical color by the modern West. Looking at things from my own location I saw that Greek theatre was closer to ancient Indian theatre as an ethical and religious act or hieropraxis. Instead of being seen as Western and Eastern, Greek and Indian theatres should be seen rooted in the Indo-European cultural beliefs, myths and idolatory and the aesthetics of emotional arousal. I have lectured on theatre and music at various Universities in India, North America and Greece. I am on visiting faculty at the National School of Drama, Delhi and the Bhartendu Academy for Dramatic Arts , Lucknow.