Wednesday, August 23, 2006


While in Mysore I wrote a post about P's misconceptions regarding Adolph Hitler (he wanted to be like Hitler, because he had come from the bottom of society and made a name for himself). Since then, P. received an earful from me and some less strident info from Jammu, who made him watch Schindler's List. Turns out he had no idea about the death camps and called it the best movie he'd ever seen.

Apparently during WWII some Indian independence leaders were hoping the Germans would kick so much English ass they'd be forced to quit India. I think they also hoped to enlist their direct aid.

On my second trip to Mysore I took a snap of chalk-white Hitler brand sneakers abandoned in the gangway en route to Aunty's. It didn't turn out.

And of course there are Swastikas everywhere in India, where it remains a sacred symbol.

Now there's this Reuters story about Hitler's Cross restaurant in Bombay; apparently it's causing quite the furor:

India’s Hitler-themed restaurant draws fire

Name will ‘stay in people’s minds,’ says Mumbai restaurateur

Aug 21, 2006
MUMBAI, India - A new restaurant in India’s financial hub, named after Adolf Hitler and promoted with posters showing the German leader and Nazi swastikas, has infuriated the country’s small Jewish community.

Hitler’s Cross, which opened last week, serves up a wide range of continental fare and a big helping of controversy, thanks to a name the owners say they chose to stand out among hundreds of Mumbai eateries.

“We wanted to be different. This is one name that will stay in people’s minds,” owner Punit Shablok told Reuters.

“We are not promoting Hitler. But we want to tell people we are different in the way he was different.”

But India’s remaining Jews — most migrated to Israel and the West over the years — say they are outraged by the gimmick...

For pictures click here. Go here for a full article.


*Taipei had the Prison restaurant with Concentration Camp murals, and Korea had the infamous 1939 Hitler Bar. Venice, CA has has Mao's Kitchen -- which specializes in cheap, tasty Chinese food. No word yet on any Franco, Hirohito, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet or Idi Amin-themed eateries.


  1. Anonymous12:38 PM

    It is quite interesting to study Indian history, especially around Indian Independence.

    Many nationalists had different agenda to acheive their goal. As the cliche goes, my enemy's enemy is my friend. Hitler did appeal to many right wing nationalists. So did Subash chandra bose for the japanese.

    But I doubt any of those leaders (but for Bose, ofcourse)are revered as non-violent ones. In contemporary world, we see such awful association for "evil regimes" on the same premise "my enemy's enemy is my friend"

    Atleast in my opinion, as much as I despise Hitler, I think I see where the right wing nationalists were coming from.

    For me, it is not different from countries that supported Pinochet, the Saudis, and Venezuala, the list is endless.

    Most pious hindus would lose their sleep if they know that most of west identifies their holy symbol (swastika) as evil!!

  2. Anonymous12:43 PM

    Having just returned from India's Mumbai town I don't find it hard at all to believe there is a "Hitler restaurant". I have a serious question. Did the gov. of India have a forced castration program at any time within the last century? I am trying to verify something that my spouse and family, (Indian) can't verify either way.

  3. Anonymous12:48 PM

    Are the swastikas seen all over India those of the "original ancient Sanskrit design" (i.e. left angled) or of the Nazi design, commonly thought to be the "inverted swastika" (i.e. right angled)?

  4. From what I understand -- yes, forced sterilization OF THE POOR happened during The Emergency under the direction of Indira Gandhi's son. Apparently Rohan Mistry (A Fine Balance)'s fiction has much truth in it. From Wikipedia via
    "Forced vasectomy and even castration of thousands of men and women under the infamous family planning initiative. Indira's son, Sanjay Gandhi, was blamed for this abusive and forcible treatment of people."

    And there's more here:
    'Most important, though, was fear of the government's sterilization program, the chief sponsor of which was Sonjay. The program "had reached such proportions," Mehta says, "that on a certain day the authorities informed all government school teachers that if they wished to collect their pay, each of them would have to produce four slum dwellers for sterilization; on another day a similar edict went out to the policemen.”'

    The way I understand it, a clockwise Swastika is sacred, the other direction = Nazi. But then again, I've seen counterclockwise Swastikas in India so who knows...

  5. Anonymous6:00 PM

    "The way I understand it, a clockwise Swastika is sacred, the other direction = Nazi. But then again, I've seen counterclockwise Swastikas in India so who knows..."

    Why should anyone justify their thousands of years of beliefs for one tyrannical leader? clockwise or anti-clockwise, who cares?

    Swastika is an evil symbol in one part of the world and it is a holy symbol in another part of the world. Why can't we just live with it? Cow is sacred in India and a staple diet elsewhere.

  6. Under fire, Indian eatery drops Hitler from name.

    MUMBAI (Reuters) - A restaurant in India's financial hub has agreed to change its name from "Hitler's Cross" following strong protests by the country's tiny Jewish community and pressure from Israel.

    "Hitler's Cross," which opened a week ago using posters of the Fuehrer and Nazi swastikas for publicity, initially refused to change its name, but relented Thursday and covered its signboards with white cloth.

    The restaurant's name and its marketing gimmick had infuriated India's Jewish population, which had said it would fight any attempts at "rehabilitating Hitler."

    Germany and Israel joined the protests with the Israeli consul-general in Mumbai writing to city authorities urging them to take steps to get the restaurant's name changed.

    "We acknowledge that the name adopted by us for our restaurant was most inappropriate," Satish Sabhlok, one of the owners of the multi-cuisine restaurant, said in a statement.

    "Our intention was not to glorify Hitler or his atrocities or ideology in any way and we regret the anguish caused by the use of this name."

    The owners were yet to decide on a new name, he added.

    The Indian Jewish Federation, the community's umbrella organization, said it was relieved.

    "The incident exposes the lack of understanding of the present generation about the atrocities of the past and the need to educate them about crimes against humanity," federation chairman Jonathan Solomon said.