Sorry, posting has been a bit light while I’m back in the UK. Couldn’t resist writing about this, though. BTW, all my posting will now be based at Current Intelligence, with links provided here. Eventually, there’ll be a separate India channel there, and we’d encourage other budding writers to submit articles and pieces there.
The dangers of a poor education appear to be bearing some fruit in India, where an increasingly popular historical figure is good ol’ Adolf Hitler. We all remember him, right? Disciplinarian, no-nonsense leader of men, saviour of oppressed minorities.
This is the somewhat distressing image of Hitler that seems to have taken root in India. The BBC reported this week about the growth in sales of Mein Kampf, as well as the popularity of memorabilia like keyrings, T-shirts and bandanas. It includes two of the finest quotes I have seen in a news story of all time. The first is the title of this post and comes from a research associate in the city of Pune, who also thinks Hitler is a “legend”. Then there’s a little gem from Amit Tripathi, described as a “scholar” of all things, who in an effort to redefine understatement, argues that “[Hitler’s] ideology of racial purity smacked of racism.” Yes, it’s true. There is a slight tinge of racism buried in there somewhere.
Far more troubling is news that Bollywood is planning a movie entitled Dear Friend Hitler, which is apparently not an ironic title (which is amazing on so many levels). The film will focus on Hitler’s last days and his “love for India and how he indirectly contributed to Indian independence”, both by wearing down the British and by supporting the Indian National Army led by Subhas Chandra Bose. Bose is still something of a hero in the subcontinent, particularly Kolkata, where he began a campaign for independence that would eventually see him meet the Fuhrer in Berlin and arrange to fight alongside the Japanese against the British.