Doctors and the Red Swastika

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.

IMA EmblemSo 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 (http://www.imanational.com) seems to be unreachable.

Edit:
April 04, 2008 – Added, updated and corrected post tags.

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Comments

  • Dr DC Misra  On December 7, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    No doctor is using swastika in place of red cross.This type of abnoxiuos romour mongering by anti social elements is creating problems globally.Please desist.

  • Aristotle The Geek  On December 8, 2008 at 2:47 am

    I don’t think you read my post properly. This Times of India article says they do. Further the use of the red cross by doctors, hospitals and medical stores etc in India is illegal-

    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).

  • Dr Misra  On December 8, 2008 at 9:37 am

    The point was the USE of SWASTIKA by doctors.

  • Aristotle The Geek  On December 8, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    That is the point, yes. But if, as you claim, they are not using the swastika instead of the red cross, what are they using then? I presume its the red cross. And that’s illegal. Since I didn’t think you read the TOI report, I presumed that you didn’t read my whole post, including the reference to the illegality, either. That’s why I simply reinforced the point that a third alternative needs to be found.

  • Dr Misra  On December 8, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Swastika is a symbol meaning,in Sanskrit ‘all well’used by HIndus,Jainism,Budhiism & Mithraism.They use it on auspicious occasions,worship places & homes.It will be seen in temples & other architecture.It has NOTHING to do with Nazi swastika.
    The use of red cross symbol was banned to stop its misuse.The instructions are for doctors to use Aesculpaian staff symbol,drug manufacturers & pharmaceutists -green cross & hospitals a white H with a blue background.TOI report is specific to Pune.
    My objection is to this gentleman’s refrence specific to Gujrat,a fast developing industrial state of India.

  • Aristotle The Geek  On December 8, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    I know the difference between the Hindu Swastika and the Nazi one – they did to the Swastika what they did to Nietzsche’s philosophy, used it to further their agenda.

    The TOI report may be specific to the Pune edition of the paper, and the author might have referred to Gujarat, but how is that relevant if the story is true? I am sure every body is aware of the special status of Gujarat as far as Hindutva is concerned. Bharat Yagnik’s story has been picked up by these two websites-
    * The Indian Journal of Medical Ethics
    * Hindu Janajagruti Samiti

    If you think Yagnik’s story is false, that’s a different matter and its involves the TOI.

  • yet_another_hindu_infidel  On December 8, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    one thing i’ve noticed. an unexpected change with the religions of the east. a sudden u-turn. religions of the east are going back to there roots. there pro-claiming there eastern root faster and louder than ever.

    Let there be no rich white life we bound to respect.
    -de la rocha

  • Aristotle The Geek  On December 8, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    Islam and Christianity were founded in the midst of persecution. Not the case with Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism etc. That probably explains the lack of too many violent tirades in their philosophies.

    So, I don’t think they are going back to their roots, as you say. What is happening is that they are getting more militarized. When Buddhist monks get violent, you can be sure that we are staring down an abyss.

  • yet_another_hindu_infidel  On December 8, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    What is happening is that they are getting more militarized.
    exactly, there was a time when hindu’s and buddhists thought “ayya ram, gaya ram” as one invader after another came and went. but no more.

    you cram your culture down my throat
    say i’m inferior when i find that i choke
    you fill my mind with a false sense of history
    and then you wonder why i have no identity?

    When Buddhist monks get violent, you can be sure that we are staring down an abyss.
    :rofl:
    what happens when introduce a cat into a new land? what happens to the surroundings?

  • Aristotle The Geek  On December 9, 2008 at 4:14 am

    “what happens when introduce a cat into a new land? what happens to the surroundings?”
    I have to plead ignorance – never had a cat, or had anything to do with them. There is one thing I know though. When someone breeds a lot of cats, their house stinks. Had a neighbor once, long time back. Even the memories are vague.

  • yet_another_hindu_infidel  On December 9, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    he he well it’s simple dude. the cat fu@ks up the surroundings. climbs trees and gobbles up the birds babies. it’s not simply cats, but any species introduced into a new land will try to fu@k up the surroundings and later it tries to establish it’s own territory and marks it borders with it’s piss.

    it’s exactly what the invaders did to this country. and it’s exactly what’s going on in kandhamal. but this time the birds have revolted like 1857. it’s a sudden u-turn from there old path’s to the west. there going back to our roots. this time they’ll preach the buddha while keeping a gun in it’s back pack just in case. a lesson learned.

    the militant poet has spoken.

  • Aristotle The Geek  On December 9, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Ah, the territorial instinct.

    The invasions – six-seven centuries have passed, and we are 1.1 billion people here. If this us vs. them continues on the basis of centuries-old affiliations, and the conflict flares up, no civilization will survive.

    Hindu civilization – I wonder what happened to non-violence and freedom. How could we carve up society into huge blocks on the basis of caste, and enforce the distinction through the use of laws and force. Where are the freethinkers of Hinduism? Kautilya’s and Manu’s edicts are as bad as those of Hammurabi’s. No wonder Ambedkar burnt the Manusmriti.

    I was searching for the fable about the camel and the bedouin, and found this instead. It narrates the fable, but also talks of the madness that religion really is.

  • Dr M  On December 9, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    It is best to stop when four letter words & foul language is used.

  • yet_another_hindu_infidel  On December 9, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    If this us vs. them continues on the basis of centuries-old affiliations, and the conflict flares up, no civilization will survive.
    very good but don’t we require all the parties in crime to be on the receiving/giving end for this utopian idea to work?

    there was nobody killed during the babri masjid incident yet the media labels it as one of the most terrible acts in history. but the bomb blasts that followed killed hundreds. how do you tally this?

    there are several such incidents and so the militarization of hinduism is imminent. the only way to stop this from happening is to go censoring history each and every five years. even in history, a certain religion has gone and tried to censor history.

    i don’t know how things will turn out but one thing is certain – history will forever haunt islam.

    I wonder what happened to non-violence and freedom.
    gandhian philosophy’s are dead stupid. at least in front of western/abrahamic subjections. it simply means, that a person should continue suffering and wait for his oppressor to sympathize and discontinue. what a bunch of whore-sh!t.

    do you expect a group to “not react”, when the other group blows bombs in it’s neighborhood?
    like the said. all the parties in crime are required to be on the receiving/giving end to co-exist successfully.

  • Aristotle The Geek  On December 9, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    Doctor,
    I have not used any foul language, and if y.a.h.i’s comments hurt your sensibilities – though I know from experience, and you will agree after reading the comments, that his use of 4-letter words are not abusive in nature – you are welcome to continue the debate with me. Its up to you now.

  • yet_another_hindu_infidel  On December 10, 2008 at 12:25 am

    @Dr M
    there’s nothing sexual or disrespectful about my use of the four letter word. nor was i referring to anything sexual – physical or mental. the word is just plain grammar, often used to express “irritation” or “anger”.

    i will not comment on your presence in the world wide web but i can assure you, i meant no abuse.

  • Aristotle The Geek  On December 10, 2008 at 1:13 am

    y.a.h.i.,
    “very good but don’t we require all the parties in crime to be on the receiving/giving end for this utopian idea to work?”
    The solution to the problem does not lie in mobs torching each others’ properties, but in “true” secularism and something called the “rule of law” which can only be provided by a republic, not a democracy.

    India misunderstood secularism, and the entire blame for it goes to the Congress party; their policy of minority appeasement made people look at secularism with disgust. Everything from subsidies for the Hajj, to banning Rushdie’s book, to Rajiv Gandhi’s notorious circumvention of the Shah Bano judgment – pure pandering. India is one of the few countries in the world where a substantial number of Muslims live under a democracy – Indonesia and Turkey are the only ‘good’ examples. But instead of keeping the State equidistant from all religions, the Congress allowed religion to determine politics. Is it any surprise that people go berserk just because they don’t agree with something someone said or did?

    Another problem is that our constitution is not worth the paper it is written on because it neither protects the right to free speech, nor property, nor life. The government can do anything it wants to whomsoever it wants whenever it wants and the Supreme Court will throw up its hands. If a State wants peace, it should warn people that nonsense will not be tolerated. But in a State where nonsense is State policy, nothing can be done.

    “there was nobody killed during the babri masjid incident yet the media labels it as one of the most terrible acts in history.”
    The terrible-ness lies in the symbolism. What the destruction of the Bamian Buddhas was to Afghanistan, the demolition of the Babri Masjid was to India.

    Before Babri, you would have communal riots, but they were not an all-India phenomenon. But after Babri, there was a feeling among some Muslims that India cannot be trusted. You must know that both the Congress and the BJP were responsible for letting it happen – from Rajiv Gandhi to Advani to Kalyan Singh to Narasimha Rao. When both parties that supposedly had faith in the constitution of India including the “secular” part (inserted by Indira Gandhi) looked on as a ‘structure’ was brought down, whom can you trust? If the opposite incident had happened (in the present day and age – forget what Babur or Aurangzeb did centuries ago) and a group of Muslim ‘kar sevaks’ went ahead and demolished a huge Hindu temple complex, what would the reaction have been?

    Babri was a turning point as far as Islamic terror in India is concerned – Gujarat simply fanned the flames – because it was only post Babri that the mayhem started – Bombay ’93 etc etc.

    “i don’t know how things will turn out but one thing is certain – history will forever haunt islam.”
    Maybe. But you are mistaken if you think Islam is the only religion that spread through the sword – because you forget Christianity. Both religions emerged from Judaism, and both have skeletons in their closet. Christianity has probably moved on, but Islam still refuses to leave the Middle Ages as far as ideology is concerned. I fail to understand why Hinduism wants to go backwards in time to join it instead of moving forward.

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