It is very disturbing to see in a multi-religiousand highly advanced country like America people are still prepared to inflame religious passions on the issue of Swastika. The fact is Swastika originated in 2000BC and is an auspicious symbol for over 1 Billion Hindus and millions of Jains, Buddhists, Europeans, Chinese and a few others. The rotated distortion of Hindu Swastika, the Nazis have used, is markedly different and the differences are clearly visible to human eye.
Nazi Swastika is drawn with black in a white circle within a red square and it is a symbol of hate. On the other hand, Hindu Swastika is always drawn with red vermillion and can be drawn on any surface including human body, on the head after complete head shave off of a child as per Hindu rituals. It is a symbol of faith and auspiciousness and used for all religious ceremonies, including Hindu weddings, installed/drawn outside & inside homes, Temples and business establishments.
The first questionthat must come to every one’s mind is what kind of a Swastika was drawn outside Peter Jacob’s house? Was it really an exact replica of Nazirotated Swastika drawn with black in a white circle within a red square?If not, why a media frenzy was created that can very well create unrest among the peace loving,well educated,very religious Hindu community especially their young children, to create a permanent fear in their minds about their own religious symbol that represents faith and auspiciousness.
The Hindu community has not forgotten the 2013 incident in a Middlesex county school that punished an 8 year- old for drawing a perfect Hindu Swastika along with a Christmas Tree as part of his assignment to draw something related to Holidays, on the complaint of his Jew Teacher. Before mentally traumatizing the 8 year – old, the teacher, school principle and counselor should have spoken to a Hindu Priest or the parent of the child concerning the matter about which they themselves were completely ignorant, and rather lacked any desire to learn about Hindu Swastika. These educators hurt the religious feelings of the child and also the religious feelings of the entire Hindu community, especiallythe children living in New Jersey and other parts of America.
On top of that, these ignorant Educators lost an opportunity to present the child’s drawing as a show case on “Unity in Diversity”. The child had drawn a perfect Hindu Swastika & Christmas Tree that represents Christianity, together on one sheet. Educators could have shared this with the child’s classmates, rather with every school student of New Jersey and other parts of America by explaining to them the meaning of both symbols. But unfortunately, the child was mentally and emotionally traumatized and humiliated by the ignorant educators of the Middlesex County with a punishment and racial bias counseling.
We are a highly educated and advanced society; by associating the Swastika with the Nazis we only give credit to the monstrosities of the horrible regime. Symbols have been abused throughout history and hence the importance of explaining to people their true origin lies with the present generation especially the media, educator and the religious leaders of different faiths. Imagine the outcry amongst Christians worldwide if an African American teacher would take offense in a Christian child’s drawing of a cross for a school project because the teacher’s ancestors were killed by the Ku Klux Klan. And I highly doubt that any of our schools all over America would approve racial bias punishment &counseling like the one given to the 8-year-old Hindu child.
Recently I attended a trial involving a young Hindu who is being accused of masterminding 5 incidents,mostly involving drawing a Swastika and other graffiti outside Synagogues in December, 2011-January, 2012. In one incident there was an amateurish act of arson also. The Hindu boy, at that time 19-year-old was in New Hampshire, campaigning for Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul when these incidents took place. Still he is being charged with domestic terrorism and other criminal offenses for being the master mind and has been incarcerated in solitary confinement since March 2012. The Rabi produced as witness by the Prosecutor was asked by the defense what was his first reaction when he saw the Swastika on the pathway leading to the Synagogue door. He said his initial reaction was may be, a few crazy kids did it to scare us! From his own notes, according to him, someone told him, “this opportunity (act of vandalism) should be capitalized”. He along with other Rabbis produced as witnesses agreed with defense attorneys that these were mostly acts of vandalism.
14 synagogues with the help of Jewish Federation official and a Bergen county Law enforcement officer got federal grant for enhanced security systems by reporting the act of vandalism as Terrorism. The witness was further asked before this particular act of vandalism, “was there any other incident of similar nature, the answer was “NO”. Any terrorist cell or group or individual connected with them claimed responsibility for the incident, the answer was “NO”. Did he receive any threatening phone calls or e-mails or lettersbefore this incident or after this incident by a terrorist group or a cell or a person connected with them, again the answer was “NO”. Any other similar incident after this incident in Dec. 2011? the answer was”NO”. Still 14 Synagoguestook federal grants from Homeland Security to enhance their security systems by reporting vandalism as terrorism. The application form for these kinds of grantsclearly states that grants can be availed if there has been an act of terrorism or serious threat of terrorism or valid perception of terrorism.
Peter Jacob is an educated and mature person. Rather than creating a media frenzy aboutSwastika with a view to creating confusion and fear in the minds of Hindu kids, he could have handled this incident differently. When Peter was growing up as an Orthodox Christian in Kerala State of India his parentsmust have explained to him the importance of Swastika as an article of faith and auspiciousness to Hindus and that the Hindu Swastika was different from the Nazi Swastika. I don’t think Peter is trying to revive his sagging Congressional campaign in Dist. 7 with absolutely “Zero” chance of winning against the 64-year-old 4 term incumbent Republican Leonard Lance; a politically corrupt career politician since 1991, by creating the media frenzy about Swastika.
Since 1914 Dist. 7 Congressional seat has always been in the Republican column, barring 1975 to 1981 when it was held by a Democrat Andrew Maguire from Ridgewood. In Nov. 1980 he was defeated by a fellow resident Marge Roukema, a Republican. After that only time a serious challenge has ever been given by a Democrat was in 2006 by very popular Assembly Deputy Speaker Linda Stender, acareer politician since 1988. The 2 term incumbent Republican Mike Ferguson won his 3rd term by less than 3000 votes. In 2008, Stender was defeated by current Republican Congressman Lance by a wide margin of almost 30,000 votes. In 2010 Lance defeated Democrat Ed Potosnak by 33,000 votes by re-establishing the Republican style winning of this district by double digit margins of 10-18%. In 2012 he defeated Democrat Upendra Chivukula by a record margin of 55,605 votes and in 2014, defeated Democrat Janice Kovach by 36,000 votes.
Re-districting that should be used to create more competitive Districts is used as a scam run by both parties since 1981 to ensure the winning of the incumbents belonging to both parties for another 10 years. They swap areas to make each other’s constituency more Democrat or Republicanand safe. This is also called “Incumbent Protection Plan” in which Republicans and Democrats both join together to make sure no incumbent loses his/her seat. In 2011 re-districting the Democrats and Republicans agreed to a deal that virtually protected all the incumbents barring one for the sacrificed district to cut down the number of districts to 12 from 13. In other words, they settled for 6-6 split for the future Congress till 2022,rather than creating more competitive districts.
Looking at all the relevant facts related to “Incumbent Protection Plan” run by unionized Republican and Democrat; Peter Jacob does not fit in this plan to unseat Republican incumbent Lance in Dist. 7. Then for Peter it is his first election and he hardly knows how the State of New Jersey is run by unionized career politicians posing as Republican and Democrat. May be he is living in a fantasy world and has closed his ears and eyes on the issue of “Incumbent Protection Plan.” Then I do not find any record of Peter that he has ever used his vocal cords to raise the issues of political corruption, racism and injustice to minorities in New Jersey. He has never spoken against political corruption or demandedthat NJ needs structural changes. That is, to cut down the number of local governments with a big battalion of elected officials and an army of politically appointed officials and term limits for all public offices. Now he has become the victim of political corruption by his own party. For that he will be committing a political suicide on Nov 8, 2016 believing that minorities can only advance and prosper under Democrat ruled state or municipality or county or country.
There is a silver lining for Peter that he is not the first Indian-American to commit a political suicide in Dist. 7. Before him another Indian-American Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula committed a political suicide funded by his own community in Dist. 7 in 2012. For Peter his youth and outsider label is there to defeat Lance in the general election but the timing and Republican composition of the district 7 are not in his favor. Even the Swastika frenzy is not going to help him to win the Dist. 7 Congressional seat.
P.S. This writer has a reputation since 1997 of fighting against all kinds of crimes, misinformation, political & general corruption and issues affecting the Indian-American community. Personally, I do not support, under any circumstances, any kind of criminal activity, communalism, disrespect to any religion and vandalism of any one’s property, especially the Houses of Worship. I very strongly support punishments for crimes committed by any one.
(The author is a Community activist&Secretary, Indian Americans For Trump 2016)
The home of an Indian-American social-worker running for the US Congress in New Jersey was recently vandalized and painted with large swastikas by some unidentified miscreants
“These racists came back to my home and spray painted large swastikas (on) our walls,” said Peter Jacob, 30, who is running for the US House of Representative from 7th Congressional District in New Jersey which is known to be a strong Republican bastion.
Indian American community has reacted strongly and divergently. Here is one perspective.
The views expressed by the author are his own and, in no way, reflect the views of the publication.