Searching for the Swastika

TechCrunch is getting all worked up about the word Swastika appearing on Google’s Hot Trends. They obviously want to make a lot of noise about it and hint that it’s the return of the Neo-Nazis. But if you notice Google’s related words list – there’s absolutely nothing Nazi or Neo-Nazi or Neonatal-Nazi about it. [via Shefaly]

It annoys me immensely that Europe (especially Mainland Europe) is so averse to the Swastika, that in some countries you can be arrested for just drawing the damn symbol. Some madman decides to take the symbol, slide it around and after that the Swastika is forever a symbol of intolerance and genocide. But TechCrunch seems to feel really smug by writing this

It looks like a successful spamming attempt, but given the number of queries Google handles it looks to be pretty sophisticated – at one point it was the number one query. We’ve pinged Google for a comment.

Update: It’s now been removed or has fallen off the hot trends list.

This is the Swastika. It is an elegant, beautiful symbol. It has nothing to do with murder or racial arrogance or anything else. When Shefaly points this out to TechCrunch, this is their response- “chill the hell out. We all understand that, but a swastika appearing on the top of google search queries in the U.S. isn’t normal.”

techcrunch_swastika.jpg

The tone of TechCrunch bothers me. The only interpretation allowed on an otherwise global medium is the one that US sanctions. The other person who really annoys me? A certain Rajan Zed whose sole aim in life appears to be to boycott The Love Guru. Apparently all us Hindus are really offended by the use of the word Guru as it creates a bawdy image of Hinduism. Well Hinduism is a very bawdy religion. Our Gods and Goddesses get drunk, have kids outside of wedlock and randomly lose control. This sanitized version of Hinduism – sans the Swastika, sans the bawdiness bothers me. Ugh. So this Rajan Zed chap frequently spams a lot of desi inboxes with emails about his greatness and the sheer pain the “Hindu Community” feels.

Hindus world over are deeply concerned about the apparent denigration of their traditions by this movie portrayal of Hindu characters like buffoons and parody of yoga, which is one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy. In Hindu tradition, guru is sacred and associated with the divine and leads disciples from darkness to light; and guru-disciple relationship is at the heart of Hindu tradition, Zed clarified.

I don’t need a spokesperson. Never asked for one. TechCrunch is now telling me what is “normal”, and Zed is telling me that I am a “pained Hindu”.

Update – Google apologizes for allowing inappropriate content to appear!

14 Comments

Filed under Marketplace and All Things Current, Social Software, Technology and Internet, wtf

14 Responses to Searching for the Swastika

  1. Neha: Thanks for this post. I wonder if for my opinions, I will find myself IP blocked from TechCrunch’s website too, just like I am from following TechCrunch’s Tweets. :-)

    I have written about my annoyance with the issue in the past here:

    http://laviequotidienne.wordpress.com/2007/11/13/convenient-interpretations/

    But you have done a very eloquent job.

    Thanks.

  2. It does not seem normal to IP block someone just because you don’t agree with their opinions :(

    I am willing to concede that Techcrunch may have a point in that in the US, the swastika is associated with the Nazis, so it’s unusual to have it on top of Google search queries. Having said that, I don’t like their tone (or the IP blocking) either..

    Whatever happened to civil discourse :(

    As for Mr. Zed, he just wants publicity. I wish you wouldn’t blog about him – that’s exactly what he’d like.

  3. Shefaly: I suppose they don’t like disagreement. :)

    Lekhni: Shefaly’s IP not been blocked – but she isn’t allowed to follow their Twitter updates anymore. I understand that it is a symbol of hatred and intolerance in certain countries – but to be alarmist about it seems very premature. Moreover, the least the guys there could have done is to point out that this symbol has various other connotations. But more than anything else I agree with you that it’s their dismissive tone that is rather annoying. Lots of Hindus live in the US. Lots of people are interested in cultural symbols.

    Even if.. let’s say people do google for the Swastika.. why is that wrong by itself. It might be just curiosity! Sigh….

  4. i just saw techcrunch’s tweets.. he seems to be blocking anyone who dares tell him that the Swastika is NOT what he thought it was.. the pity is that he chooses to not give credence to the fact that throughout the world his post makes the same sense to everyone, even then he wants ppl to believe that just because he’s written this post doesnt mean he’s ignorant! Talk of some self belief and then shutting an eye to reality!

    Anyway i dont like his tone, his ignorance and the fact that he wrote in his comments section, that the meaning of that symbol has now CHANGED so we should just get over it! WTF? Should we do something a la IIPM?

  5. Neha:

    Twilight Fairy is right. Now Nixxin has been blocked too. So you are right on the button – he does not like disagreement. The tone of response to comments is also rude and generally dismissive.

    Twilight Fairy:

    Something like the IIPM would be a great idea. I am sick and tired of this revisionism and much as I am not religious, the Swastika to me is a part of my identity, my complex, multi-layered identity. I will support you and ask friends to do so too.

  6. WA

    I was given the most gorgeous swastika pendent by my grandmother for my 18th and the subservient (read stupid) wife that I was I gave it back to her when I moved to the UK :( Maybe I should politely check if she still has it and if I could have it back.

    It wasn’t that long ago that the lad was working on his course work which involved googling for swastika, I wonder how much the young man and his mates have contributed towards these hits.

  7. WA

    Talking about IIPM, whatever happened to them?

  8. I think it is important to get the point across about the swastika, more for the cultural connotation it has vis-a-vis hinduism.

  9. Pingback: Swastika on Google Trends | DesiPundit

  10. Ross

    Before he blocks you, ignore him. Stop following him on twitter, unsubscribe to TechCrunch, and if you’re a fan of techmeme, create a yahoo pipe to filter out TC.

    His (Arrington) 15 minutes have lasted about 14 too long. I had hoped when he was caught editing his own comments, investing in companies that he promoted on his site without disclosure, et al, he’d just fade away into the background and some new loudmouth idiot would replace him. Sadly, the next idiot in line is still there, probably growing impatient.

    I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have people searching for “swastika”, since the wikipedia entry is the first result, and have some folks learn the true meaning of the symbol, than I would people searching for “britney spears” or “paris hilton” (two other highly searched for phrases). At least with swastika they might learn something positive.

  11. Neha:

    Here is another ‘wise’ piece that calls Swastika a ‘strange symbol’.

    http://bloggle.typepad.com/bloggle/2008/07/strange-symbols.html

    What is more, Guy Kawasaki’s company Truemors uses this link so I am letting it be known to him on Twitter. At least as a partly Japanese guy he would know about it.

  12. Pingback: Within / Without » An Inappropriate and Offensive Swastika

  13. good grief, just caught up on all this

  14. strange – just because they(techcrunch i mean) have a different pov, they are trying to shut what shefaly was saying. inane madness!
    swastika has meaning – positive and negative both – if thats the case, atleast the world should admit it.

    I liked it if Google actually removed the link from hot-trends – thats because say if it was hurting sentiments of even a sizeable number of people, it should have been removed considering that. Just because it has been removed shouldnt make Hindus angry – its not out of disrespect/inappropriate-ness/being offensive * lets just see it as a thing that it was bad for some people and lets just respect their sentiments. There is no harm in dong that because it does not shatter off the high regards that we as hindus hold for the symbol.

    Dont we ask for removal of the photographs of gods/goddesses from shoes/bikinis – well, similarly if they asked for removal its ok. We ask the photographs to be removed because its holy to us and to them its just another religious sentiment which they make fun of or take it very lightly. Similarly, we can take the swastika lightly this time and be fine with the request of those who found it offensive. I repeat – I find it perfectly OK just for the reason that now it leaves them happy and DOES NOT make us any sad since our respect for the ymbol did not budge a bit :)