Upstate New York Community Chooses to Keep ‘Swastika’ Name
An upstate New York hamlet with an unfortunate name has decided that it will remain Swastika, New York.
CNN reported on Wednesday that the local municipal board had voted unanimously not to change the name, as it had been adopted in the 1800s at a time when the swastika was viewed as a positive symbol.
Jon Douglass — supervisor for the Town of Black Brook, which has jurisdiction over Swastika — noted that the word was derived from “svastika” in Sanskrit, meaning “good fortune.”
“We regret that individuals from out of the area, that lack the knowledge of the history of our community, become offended when they see the name,” he said.
Douglass added, “To the members of our community, that the board represents, it is the name that their ancestors chose.”
Some other communities called Swastika, however, have recently chosen to rename themselves, such as a Colorado town that switched its appellation from Swastika Acres to Old Cherry Hills last year.
For most of history, the swastika symbol has been seen as a depiction of the four winds and the four elements, and has had strong spiritual connotations in several religions, especially Hinduism and Buddhism.
In the early 20th century, however, it began to be used in various forms by far-right parties, and was made infamous when it became the symbol of the Nazis in Germany.