Tuesday, 18 September 2012

'Hitler' shop sends India shockwave

A new store called 'Hitler' raises fears that right-wing ideology could be finding takers in the land of Gandhi.

"Hitler" covers the black store front in large white letters - a red swastika dotting the "i". The name of the new men's clothing store has caused a stir in India's Ahmedabad city. 

Ignorance over Adolf Hitler's dark history, or a tasteless shock-advertising scheme? That's the question being asked after Rajesh Shah named his shop after the Nazi dictator, who took over Germany in the 1930s and then tried to conquer Europe.

The small Jewish community in Ahmedabad in western Gujarat state - numbering less than 500 - is up-in-arms and demanding he change the name. But Shah says to do so would bite into his profits. 

"If the Jewish community wants the name to be changed, they should pay for it. I have spent too much on the logo ... the brand," Shah told Al Jazeera, refusing to divulge how much it would cost.

Unlike most countries in the world, in India it is not uncommon for the name Hitler to represent businesses, movies, TV programmes, and even people's names - a strange reality to outside observers, but one that is accepted without much thought by ordinary Indians. The swastika, meanwhile, was used as a Hindu symbol long before the Nazis adopted it.

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