While I have a soft corner for Hinduism and Hindu mythology, having been brought up in that background, that does not extend to condoning mindless violence or subterfuge in the name of religion. So when I read that about 10,000 doctors have begun using the Red Swastika as an emblem replacing the Red Cross, that too in the state of Gujarat, I thought here they go again.
So I visited wikipedia to get a sense of what the controversy is all about (Red Cross (symbol), Red Cross). To my surprise, I found out that there are restrictions in place on the use of the red cross and the various symbols related to the Red Cross movement. Specifically, the use of the symbol by doctors, hospitals, medical stores etc is not allowed. In fact, it is a crime in India to use them in such a context (an excellent article on the history behind and misuse of the symbols, by Prof. M Lala Singh).
So, what do these people use then? For doctors, the IMA has its own emblem (The New Emblem for Doctors). The Caduceus, the Rod of Asclepius and their variants) are commonly used by many medical associations, doctors and hospitals worldwide. But no one seems to have picked up a symbol with a religious connotation, however positive that might be, to represent themselves, except of course, Arogya Bharti.
Note: The official website of the Indian Medical Association (
) seems to be unreachable.
April 04, 2008 – Added, updated and corrected post tags.