M.I.A. has defended her obscene gesture during a performance at the U.S. Super Bowl, insisting that 'flicking the bird' is simply a meditation technique dating back 5,000 years.

There was outrage at the 2012 American football showpiece when she raised her finger during her slot with Madonna as part of the sporting event's half-time entertainment.

She has since been hit with a lawsuit by National Football League (NFL) bosses, who are demanding $1.5 million (?1 million) for breach of contract, prompting her to accuse them of "corporation d**k-shaking" and brand the legal action "ridiculous".

Now she has defended her behaviour once again, insisting raising a middle finger is an ancient practice and has only been considered an obscene gesture since it was adopted by Western nations.

In an column for NME magazine, M.I.A. writes, "Matangi Mudra is a meditation pose for a Hindu Goddess, which dates back 5,000 years. It involves raising your middle fingers. I raised my middle finger at the Super Bowl and I'm having to go through a court case. If you don't like the pose then you'll have to rewrite (ancient Sanskrit texts) the Vedas. What are they going to do? Burn them? "I've been researching Matangi and Hinduism for my new record.

What's really interesting about working on this s**t is that so much of the iconography and symbolism is positive, yet when it gets to the West it's totally misconstrued and f**ked up and negative.

I want to reclaim it back to being a positive thing...

"Another example is the swastika. It's a positive symbol, but when it came to the West it took on a negative meaning... I don't know why the West turns these things into negatives and then feeds them to its own people. What is the use of taking all these positive concepts from the old-school Eastern philosophies only to turn them negative?"

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