An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Hitler's Cross and the Hypocrisy of Indian Politics!

A lot of what goes on in the world has a strange and different reverbration in India.. I think we in India view the world polity at times with a sense of detachment.. as I am sure many do! This incident underscores a major point – that only loud voices and vote banks everywhere get themselves heard and someone to take note of their hurt. While India was quick to ban Da Vinci code on the protest of the Church and also have its politicians’ heart beat for the Muslim community over the cartoon controversy.. it doesn’t hurt anyone if Jews’ pride and mind is messed with! If it wasnt for the militant Hindus, the same treatment, strangely is meted out to the Hindus as well.. by Hindus themselves!! Foreign hand in Indian polity has an upper hand!

Also, do note that the guy quoted in the end does not differentiate between Saddam, Hitler and George Bush! Now that is an interesting commentary on the perceptions around the world of the US leader.

When Hitler’s Cross restaurant opened four days ago in a Bombay suburb, local politicians and movie industry types were on hand to celebrate beneath the posters of the Nazi leader and swastikas.

Customers leave after visiting ‘Hitler’s Cross’ a restaurant at Kharghar, New Bombay, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Bombay, India, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2006. Hitler’s Cross, a four-day old restaurant has riled the small Jewish community in India’s financial capital, but its owner has no plans to make amends. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)

The owner insisted then – and still does – that the name and theme of his new eatery is only meant to attract attention, even if it has outraged Bombay’s Jewish community.

“It’s really made people very upset that a person responsible for the massacre of 6 million Jews can be glorified,” Elijah Jacob, one of the community’s leaders, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

But owner Puneet Sablok has refused to back down, and apart from Bombay’s 4,500 Jews, there’s been little controversy in India, where Holocaust awareness is limited, Hitler is regarded as just another historical figure and swastikas are an ancient Hindu symbol, displayed all over to bring luck. There are just 5,500 Jews in all of India.

But while India is ordinarily sensitive to causing religious offense – recently taking action to bar “The Da Vinci Code” movie and cartoon drawings of the prophet Muhammad – at least one local leader said the name Hitler didn’t bother him.

“People are unnecessarily making this into an issue,” said Sudhir Jadhav, a local ruling party leader. “We have no plans to protest outside the restaurant or ask him to change the name.”

Diners were also quite happy eating in Hitler’s Cross.

“Hitler was a bad man, but what’s wrong with having food here?” said Ashwini Phadnis, 22, a microbiology student as she tucked away a piece of chocolate cake.

Engineering student Anand Dhillon sat with friends, sipping soft drinks. “I think the name is quite interesting. Tomorrow if someone keeps a name like Saddam Mutton Shop or George Bush Footwear, there’s nothing wrong with that, is there?” he shrugged.

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