Hitler, the evil 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’. We – 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 talk of politics and religion; 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; may be a bit mysterious. 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 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 many Indian freedom 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