Uber bans ‘Swastika’ Chandra from using its services as it calls her first name ‘offensive’, later apologises

Uber Swastika Chandra
Image Source : REUTERS An Uber logo (L) and Swastika symbol (R)

An Indian-origin Australian woman was banned from using ride-share and food delivery service Uber as her first name “Swastika” was flagged as offensive by the online service aggregator. According to a post by the New York Times, the woman, whose full name is “Swastika Chandra”, was banned by the ride-sharing app. 

Notably, the “swastika” is an ancient symbol that appears in many Indian, Eurasian, African, and American cultures. However, in the West, it is more commonly known as a symbol of the German Nazi Party. The matter escalated after Uber abruptly banned her account in October last year due to it being a “potentially offensive” word. 

“I was putting in an order for food one afternoon and went to the payment stage and this pop-up came up saying, ‘Your first name is in violation and you need to change your name on the app,” NYT quoted her as saying to A Current Affair.

Meanwhile, underscoring the controversy associated with the symbol, Chandra said she was proud of her name and added she would not change it for anyone.  She explained that her first name meant ”good luck” in Sanskrit and it was a common name in Fiji, where she grew up. “They don’t know that the Hindus used it for thousands of years before Hitler used it in the wrong way,” she added.

Meanwhile, media reports claimed that it took five months for Uber to grant an exemption to Chandra. The exemption was made only after The Hindu Council intervened and she got support from the NSW Attorney-General.

Also Read: Karnataka: Ola, Uber, city taxis to now have standardised fares | Check latest rates