It is everywhere, this ancient sign of Hindu and Buddhist law. â€œSwastiâ€ is Sanskrit for well-being, and the angular, clockwise-spinning arms are an auspicious sign of peace, luck, and protection on doorways, signs, gates, and the front of vehicles.
Thousands of years before Hitler took it and spun it in the other direction, the swastika was one of the 65 marks of Buddhahood found in the imprint of the Buddhaâ€™s foot. My Western sensitivities were on edge the first few times I saw it in India, but it quickly became part of my surroundings â€“ along with so many â€œOmâ€ signs, Shiva tridents, and other marks of spirituality.
And then thereâ€™s this last photo, which makes odd bedfellows out of a swastika and an assumingly decorative and unintentional Star of David, seen on a private house in nearby Binalguri.