Hitler and India – The Swastika

Given the gravity of the crimes he committed against humanity in general and against the Jews in particular, Hitler is considered one of the worst evils a human can be. The dictator was responsible for the death of millions of innocent people, just because they did not fit his distorted and evil vision of so called ‘pure race’.

Among Indians, Hitler is often discussed for his affinity or likings of Hinduism. Though there is no direct proof of this from his writings or speeches, the origin of German symbol of Swastika and his belief in supreme Aryan race are some times opined as his bias towards Hindu religion.

In Hinduism, the word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit word svastika meaning any lucky or auspicious object. The swastika is a mark (or a symbol) often made on persons and things to show good luck.

The Indian swastika is considered a sacred symbol among the followers of many Indians religions including Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It has long been a part of the Indian traditions, rituals and is often depicted in the religious or worship settings.

So, did Hitler take the traditional Hindu good-luck symbol of the swastika, rotated it by 45 degree and then used it as the German icon of his Nazi campaign? It was commonly used on the Nazi party’s flag, the badges, the armband and so on. Continue reading “Hitler and India – The Swastika”

Hitler and India – The Aryan Race

“How has the dejection come to you at this juncture? This is not fit for an Aryan. It is disgraceful, and it does not lead one to heaven, O Arjuna.” ~ Lord Krishna in Holy Book ‘Gita’

Hitler, the most hated dictator of modern era was responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people, just because they did not fit his distorted and evil vision of so called ‘pure race’. We all know that Hitler and Nazi Germany wanted to propagate, what is often quoted as, the ‘Aryan race’. The term ‘Aryan Race’ and its meaning are often mistaken or distorted from what it really stands for.

Here are some of the key facts:

  • Aryans are the original speakers of the Indo-European languages. According to the most common definition, Aryans originate from the ancient Indo-Iranians, Indo-European peoples who inhabited parts of what are now Iran, Afghanistan, and India.
  • The word ‘Arya’ is found in Hindu religion and in Sanskrit, and it refers to the upper crust of ancient Indian society, or a noble person.
  • A German scholar has also linked the Indo-Iranian Aryan with the German word ‘Ehre’ meaning “honor”.

However, according to what Hitler and his Nazi regime believed, the Aryan descendants are supposedly a sub-group of the Caucasian (White) race. Hitler wanted to put forward this Aryan race as the ‘master race’ or ‘supreme race’. Continue reading “Hitler and India – The Aryan Race”

Hitler and India – Enemy of the enemy?

Hitler, the evil dictator, one of the most hated rulers of modern history.
Hitler was responsible for the death of millions of innocent people, just because they did not fit his distorted vision of so called ‘pure race’. For some reason, the Indians seem to have a bit different view of Hitler than rest of the world. However, it is not by choice. The fact is that Hitler, a globally hated figure, is not much discussed in Indian class-rooms, or outside-the-class for that matter. The world war history taught in our schools has focused on what India saw or what India gained/lost during that period of instability.

Indians, during 1940s, had bigger things to worry about. The partition of India was the main problem at our hand; we were too busy hating our own neighbors, who had no time for Hitler!

If anything, Hitler has always been a subject of curiosity amongst Indians. Most of the western world hates him with passion. We – the Indians – don’t see this hate or strong dislike of him until we leave India and go overseas.

Hate or no hate, Hitler has become a fascinating figure in India. The limited knowledge of his life amongst our cultures and the way he is portrayed in Indian school books leaves us wanting for more.

1940s – India and German

To understand the relation between India and Hitler, we need to remind ourselves about the world politics in the early 20th century.

In early 1930s Hitler was gaining popularity in Europe and rest of the world was starting to take notice of his fanatic views. Moreover, inside and outside of Europe, German was considered as one of the major world power with one of the most organized and most powerful army in the world. After an alliance with Italy, German practically ruled a large part of Europe.

Around the same time, in 1930s and 1940s, India’s struggle for freedom was starting to gain momentum. While Gandhi and his followers were taking a non-violence route to the ultimate goal of independence, there were others who were considering all means and possibilities, – including violence – to push the British Empire out of the country. Subhash Chandra Bose was one of them.

Subhash Chandra Bose and Hitler

As they say, ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’!
In 1940s, around the same time when England (along with its allies) was fighting German in the World War II, Indian freedom fighters were looking for ways to beat England on the Indian soil. For these Indian fighters, German and Hitler – an enemy of the enemy – was hard to ignore from the possible list of friends.

In 1941, Subhash Chandra Bose, the Indian revolutionary leader, went to German seeking help for Indian freedom fight against British Empire. His main goal was to get Hitler’s help for organizing an Indian army to fight against England – the common enemy. Continue reading “Hitler and India – Enemy of the enemy?”