Hitler in Mumbai – the strange case of Subhas Chandra Bose

I always tell people that Indians do not ‘get’ Adolf Hitler. In fact, as an example of what I want to do on this site – help Westerners to understand India – Hitler is a good place to start.

I was in Mumbai airport, passing through the dingy and down-at-heel domestic terminal this time, not the sleek and art-ified international one, when I spotted a proud stack of Hitler’s Mein Kampf for sale in the rather good little bookshop there. To say the least, this is not something that would go down well in London or Berlin (although apparently the Germans are reprinting the book for the first time since World War II).

For Indians, though, the prominent swastika on the cover – and on the cover of Nazism itself, if you like – speaks spiritually of the cycle of life and harmony and piety. They don’t see the symbol reversed and transformed into Hitler’s sinister black spider. But the big thing to remember is that Hitler is something of a hero in India. Not, I stress, because the Indians are at all inclined to be fascist; in fact I cannot think of any nation less inclined. Rather, it is because the Indians see Hitler as having stood up to the dictator Churchill.

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A word about photos and videos on this site

Putting this site together has been quite an education. I have now figured out enough of the software to be able to use it, and I was looking forward to making the joint look nice by adding some photos and videos. I tracked down some lovely images of India on Flickr and on YouTube found some films I helped to make for the BBC. The Flickr photos were from people who had uploaded and listed them with a Creative Commons (CC) re-use licence: you are supposed to be able to insert them on your site under certain conditions (don’t alter them or use them for commercial purposes and so on). All was well until I began to double-check on the licence and copyright situation – and then my blood ran cold.

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A twenty-year project: Andaman and Nicobar Islands #1

 

In a couple of decades India will be one of the two largest economies in the world, and Bharatiyata! aims to be here for those entire twenty years as India takes its place as world leader. With our very first post, and as a foundation project, we are embarking on our long journey by setting a challenge: that by the time 2036 comes around, the incredible beauty of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands will have been enhanced by the development of the largest resorts, deep-water harbours and free trade entrepots in the world, dwarfing Dubai and surpassing the beaches of Thailand, even outclassing Hong Kong and Singapore as vibrant free-trade utopias. That quest begins right here and now.

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