In India, Adolf Hitler is a hero. His name represents leadership and strength. Most people are unaware of their dark past. How can that be?
Lavith gives a thumbs up and grins broadly. Germany: Hitler Country! Great!” The gatekeeper from Udaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan is by no means the only fan of the dead dictator. In India, Adolf Hitler is a star – even today.
German football, German cars – and the German dictator are highly regarded in this part of the world. His name does not stand for evil personified, it stands for quality. His likeness with the grim look and the typical mustache is an effective customer magnet.
A fashion boutique in Ahmedabad, for example, chose Hitler as its brand name, true to style with a small swastika as the dot on the i. The store is doing well and the owners, Manish Chandani and Rajesh Shah, initially refused to rename their company. The State of Israel had officially complained , as had several Jewish groups . Choosing the mass murderer as the namesake for a business is a „perverse abuse of the history of the Holocaust“.
„I had no idea about Hitler“
„Honestly, I had no idea about Hitler,“ says co-founder Shah. His business partner came up with the name idea, it was his grandfather’s nickname. Only later did Shah learn a little about Germany’s dark past, but he decided to keep the name anyway, after all it was „memorable and something different“. In the meantime, however, the two have bowed to the pressure. The shop is now called „Gladiator“, but the swastika on the i-dot has remained. The name does not shock people in India, it lures. There are pubs like Hitler’s Cross in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) – but which has since been renamed after Jewish protests, and Hitler’s Den pool hall in Nagpur. Resourceful businessmen have even decorated ice cream cones with Hitler’s name and likeness. On the boxes of the street vendors,
Mein Kampf has just climbed back from number 21 to number 15 on the bestseller list on India’s Amazon website , not far from the biographies of Steve Jobs and Mahatma Gandhi, and in line with the advisers of American billionaires Warren Buffet and Tesla founders Elon Musk. Because this is Hitler’s manifesto for Indian readers: a management guide.
Hitler as a role model for today’s heads of government
In far-away India, Adolf Hitler is seen primarily as a strong leader. A tough leader who, after the First World War, used an iron hand to transform Germany, which was lying on its knees, into a state that the whole world had to reckon with. One that the weak, corrupt politicians of today should take a piece of, many in the South Asian country believe. Gatekeeper Lavith from Rajasthan has high hopes for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At least he would take action, “like Hitler!”.
Many Indians admire not only the foreign policy, but above all the economic policy of the National Socialists, who – in simple terms – would have brought the country forward from the rubble despite reparations payments, and that in just a decade. Hitler’s leadership qualities seen in this outshine his crimes.
This is not just sheer ignorance. The Indian school books teach Europe’s history in a very limited way, the Holocaust doesn’t really appear. The gruesome details and details of the genocide are lost. Also because the British heavily censored the news from Europe in India in the 1940s.