The image above ("Deep in prayer at the Chamundeshwari Temple, Mysore, India"), by
Steph Peatfield of Londo, is an entry in the Telegraph's Big Picture travel photography competition. When I saw the photo, I was reminded of this photograph of actress Clara Bow -
- that I blogged three years ago (discussed here), and this one from 2010 of a folk quilt in a Colorado museum:
(read the details here), and finally this Halloween outfit from 1918:
The word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit word "svastika", meaning any lucky or auspicious object, and in particular a mark made on persons and things to denote good luck. It is composed of su- meaning "good, well" and asti "to be" svasti thus means "well-being." The suffix -ka either forms a diminutive or intensifies the verbal meaning, and svastika might thus be translated literally as "that which is associated with well-being," corresponding to "lucky charm" or "thing that is auspicious." The word in this sense is first used in the Harivamsa. As noted by Monier-Williams in his Sanskrit-English dictionary, according to Alexander Cunningham, its shape represents a monogram formed by interlacing of the letters of the auspicious words su-astí (svasti) written in Ashokan characters.Lots more info at the Wikipedia entry linked above.
Addendum: Reader adeus notes that the swastika is in current usage by some units of the Finnish Air Force: