I just received this automatic mail from Orkut, the Google social network thingy:
Augustus Adolf hitler (email@example.com) has requested to be your friend on orkut.
To confirm or reject this request click […]
Wow. So he still lives, and is in India, eh? According to his profile, he looks for friends, activity partners and business networking.
The two hitler groups on Orkut apparently have 1300 members combined. Ouch.
Man, that’s something that had me stunned a couple of times in India, the veneration or at least frequent praise for Hitler. This Orkut “profile”, prank or not, is not an isolated phenomenon. The first reaction of several Indians I met when hearing that I’m German was something like “Oh, Hitler, great man!”. Usually along with some mention of the Aryan race. Other, more moderate and educated people argued that Hitler at least wasn’t all bad, and that the blame for WWII should be equally distributed due to the injustice of the Versailles treaty. Just for the record, I believe the notion that even the most injust treaty or ruling could justify a world war with 60+ million victims is ridiculous, and that should go without saying, but I digress.
I can’t figure out where this widespread opinion in India comes from. The term Aryan is actually still in use in science, for instance in linguistics, but this has nothing at all to do with the infamous “Aryan Race” concept that was invented in the 19th century and is nowadays known to be invalid, hate-inspiring bogus. Also, the Germans were always rather India-friendly, especially of course during the Third Reich when Britain was a common enemy, but the pragmatic political reasons for this are obvious.
You could say that it’s simply the lack of education of the general Indian public, but shouldn’t then Hitler rather not exist at all in their world view? He seemed to be the first association with Germany for some people, however.
Even Indian politics are not free from Nazi-adoring tendencies. In 2006, there was a public outcry over school books which contained praise, but little criticism with regard to the Führer in the state of Gujarat, known for its right-wing voting behavior.
At least Hitler’s Cross restaurant in Mumbai was just a publicity stunt and has quickly been renamed.