More on Hitler’s fans in India

An Indian reader posted an intriguing comment on my post about anti-Semitism in contemporary India ("The latest thing in Bombay’s nightlife: Nazi dining!"):

I believe that India hosts highest number Hitler admirers in the world. Most Indians are either unaware of the crimes committed during WWII or they conveniently chose to ignore it. Most young students and even radical elder people have a fascination, admiration of Adolf Hitler. I try to find the pattern of certain sentiments (both anti-muslim and anti-reservation) in India at my blog- it is just an attempt:
http://sujaiblog.blogspot.com/2006/09/adolf-hitler-and-indians.html

His post on the topic is thought provoking. 

I was especially intrigued by his comments on the anti-"reservation" backlash among Brahmans, which reminds me of the phenomenon of White resentment against minorities in the US over their supposed "special treatment" under Affirmative Action. 

Judging by the continuing stranglehold by the three elite castes on the upper echelons of Indian society (e.g., the Indian media), these measures have had a marginal effect on Indian society.   Nonetheless, such legitimate measures taken to redress the legacy of institutionalized prejudice (in this case against Dalits and members of other "scheduled" castes)  are resented (and no doubt greatly exaggerated) by those who have the least cause or moral right to complain about the injustices of the system.

The author also discusses increasing prejudice against India’s Muslim minority, which as the bizarre alliance of Brahmans and Dalits in the Gujarat pogroms of 2002 shows is not limited to those at the top of the pecking order.

  • http://www.modspil.dk Carsten Agger

    While I think that Sujai-jis points are valid, I also think they are not the whole truth and not altogether fair, especially not fair enough for us as Westerners to use as an occasion to be pleased with ourselves. What do I men by that?
    Well, I’ll try to explain: Recently, I saw an interview with Shah Rukh Khan, where Khan was asked if he, as a Muslim, felt any backlash after the Mumbai bombings. He said no, not at all.
    Obviously this was quite predictable and I thought: No, he wouldn’t, would he? Shah Rukh Khan is probably the most popular man in the world and known to be not very orthodox in his way of practising Islam, anyway.
    However, there’s another point: All the communal tension in India, and yet … and yet the most famous and popular man in the country is a Muslim, and nobody finds any real fault in that.
    And yes, there are strong communal tensions, but in most of the country there’s normally not a lot of communal friction – it’s just that it’s a large country. But most of the places, most of the time there’s a lot of peaceful coexistence going on.
    And more than that: If you look at the popular culture, a staple plot in Bollywood films is communal tensions as something which is kindled by corrupt politicians seeking only to line their own pockets (this is seen in films like Krantiveer, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani and to some extent Rang De Basanti).
    Now that notion being a staple of Bollywood films proves nothing APART FROM the fact that if the public is supposed to accept these plots, this must be a rather strong notion already existing in the public that “normally” there’s not a lot of strong communal resentment but such resentment is fabricated by politicians for their own reasons.
    Which is not to say there’s nothing wrong in India and no communal violence and no saffronization, or that independence and partition did not cause rivers of blood to flow.
    But India has also got something else, something which might actually inspire hope rather than despair in the rest of us: Real multiculturalism, real peaceful coexistence and respect for each other’s culture. While there’s every reason to be concerned about India’s possible saffronization, we should also remember that the BJP government was actually ousted, and that in some ways India could also show us which way to go in the future – to handle the truly diverse, peaceful and cultrually societies which we are seeing and hopefully will continue to see more or less everywhere in the world …

  • http://akramsrazor.typepad.com Svend

    Thanks for the insightful feedback, Carsten. I agree with you on most points and certainly on the broader point.
    India has a lot going for it and a lot of exciting and positive things are happening there.
    But there’s no need for me to talk about that since everyone else does constantly. Since that the explicit assumption of most coverage, I feel little need to repeat that here, as I’m more interested in commenting on perspectives or facts that I consider neglected in mainstream coverage.
    At the same time, I think India has some very serious problems as well. Behind the facade of democracy and multiculturalism lie some very serious inequalities (between castes, classes, regions and religions) not to mention some rather reluctant members of family India (e.g., Sikhs in Punjab, Kashiris and Tribals in the northeast). And it also has a rarely noted intensely nationalistic and jingoistic side (were it not for Pakistan’s nuclear program, India would definitely have invaded in recent years; even then, INdian politicians were loudly boasting that they could wipe Pakistan off the map with a nuclear strike).
    Everyone knows Pakistan’s many faults, but I think India consistently gets a free pass. Hence my contrarian take.

  • http://www.modspil.dk Carsten Agger

    And of course you are also right in pointing out India’s many problems.
    However, I don’t feel compelled to take sides in the rivalry between India and Pakistan – many of the problems facing both countries are similar and due to the same socio-economic and historical factors, others are hugely different.
    As for the communal tensions, I posted a short story illustrating this on my own web site some time back, by the Indian film director and writer Khwaja Ahmed Abbas:
    http://www.modspil.dk/litteratur/the_death_of_shaikh_burhanuddin.html
    In my view, this story tells more of the horror and futility of these conflicts that I’m capable of doing myself.

  • http://atlantean.wordpress.com Atlantean

    Svend and Carsten Aggen,
    Please do take a look at my what Sujai calls “elaborate criticism” in reply to his post “Adolf Hitler and Indians.”
    Sujai himself has said it was just a hypothesis. I have challenged it. Would like some discussion on the issue.

  • http://www.modspil.dk Carsten Agger

    Svend, you might consider deleting these last comments – they are more likely pranks than the opinions of anybody.
    regards,
    Carsten

  • http://akramsrazor.typepad.com Svend

    Thanks for the suggestion, Carsten. You’re right and I’ve removed them. They were so long that I kept putting off reading them to figure out what the heck they were trying to say. Whatever their message was, I’m not interested in providing a platform for people who say things like “Heil Hitler”.
    As for the possibility of them being pranks, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were fake. At the same time, India has its kooks and extremists, too (especially within Hindutva circles).

  • http://littlemoney.net littlemoney

    great……..hail to final victory!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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