India’s Hitler Diary

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL December 9, 2012

Hitler has a following in India, reports Bloomberg Businessweek. I’m not sure why they sound surprised. I remember a January afternoon in Delhi’s Connaught Place in 2009, walking by the pavement booksellers and finding multiple copies of Mein Kampf proudly displayed. I remember going back to work (that was when I was editor of The Sunday Times of India) and asking Saira, my colleague, if she would research the phenomenon and write a story on it for next week’s issue. I remember saying, “someone publishes Mein Kampf because a lot of people must buy it .”

Spot on, admitted almost every publisher she spoke to. Apparently, Mein Kampf is so popular in India that it is reprinted every quarter! It’s something of a record and probably owes a lot to the fact that many young Indians regard it as the ultimate textbook on “strategy management”.

Westerners, especially Europeans, may look askance on Indians’, ahem, more nuanced appreciation of Hitler. But the truth is that Holocaust denial is illegal only in some countries and Nazi symbols per se are banned only in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania. Here, in the US, the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech would allow any one to own or read Mein Kampf. In any case, it’s worth noting that Mein Kampf’s copyright, which is held by the German state of Bavaria, runs out in 2015. What then? The mind boggles.

Mein Kampf is so popular in India that some publishers reprint it every quarter