'Swastika' attracts Indian's neighbours' ire in New Zealand

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Wellington, May 14 : An Indian who painted a 'Swastika' on his rooftop in New Zealand as a good omen has attracted his neighbours' ire because of its resemblance to the symbol of the Nazis.

The only difference between the two is that while 'Swastika' stands straight, the Nazis' symbol appears to be its version rotated at 45 degrees.

A World War-II veteran who was captured by Germans and held prisoner for three years is reminded of his torment every time he looks out the window of his house, and sees the 'Swastika' on Indian Ambrish Gupta's rooftop, says a report in stuff.co.nz.

Gupta's neighbour, who did not want to be named, said that the symbol painted late last year is "distasteful". "If I could get rid of it I would. It's not necessary, it's actually stupid. It's insulting to the neighbours," the report quoted the war veteran as saying.

Similarly, another neighbour whose house gives her a direct view of Gupta's roof said that she too doesn't particularly like it. "When it first went up, I thought it was an insult," said the neighbour who also didn't want to be identified.

Lindsay Johnston, a resident of Sandringham, said he was "horrified when he first noticed the painting in April. "I find it very offensive," he said, appearing worried that it will be visible to traffic when the new motorway is built through the area. "People will be driving along wondering what kind of a country this is," he said.

Johnston said he approached several authorities of the city but none could offer a solution about it.

On the other hand, Gupta maintains that when he painted the symbol, he didn't mean to offend anyone. He simply did it as a sign of his religious devotion. Oblivious of the fact that the Westerners attach another meaning to the symbol, Gupta said, "if I had known, I probably wouldn't have done it."

Gupta said now that he was aware the painting was upsetting some people, he would have it changed to look more like the Hindu symbol and less like the Nazi version. It already has dots in between the arms and there will be extra pieces added, he said and added: "It will be a little bit different. I hope with a bit of change it will not disturb people."

In the Hindu religion, the Swastika symbolizes Lord Ganesha, and Gupta painted it on his roof as a symbol of protection for his family and house.

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