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The Story of My Experiments at a Bookstore

Posted by anandrr on December 9, 2008

Mein Kampf and Gandhi sit cheek by jowl at Gangaram's

Mein Kampf and Gandhi sit cheek by jowl at Gangaram's

There aren’t many places in the world where you’d find this incongruous placement of wares. But to most Indians Hitler is just another charismatic military general.


4 Responses to “The Story of My Experiments at a Bookstore”

  1. I knew some guys in high school who’d read only one book and it was ‘Mein Kampf’. It was a popular book for some reason. Any idea why?

  2. anandrr said

    I imagine high-schoolers think they get major cred for reading a book by a villain of history. Also Indians don’t think so poorly of Hitler as the west does. We had one imperialist power telling us that another imperialist war monger was somehow immoral. It seems a bit rich.

  3. Samir said

    That part makes sense. The part that doesn’t make as much sense is the low profile of the Holocaust in our history books. As an important event of the 20th century, the Holocaust should get a lot more attention.

    • anandrr said

      Yeah I’ve wondered about how little we’re exposed to the holocaust in India. Probably because there’s so little “cultural memory” of this event. In the West, there are huge Jewish populations that have helped keep this memory alive.

      Finally, there’s a matter of scale. The British killed far more Indians than Jews were killed in the holocaust. The only difference as I can tell is that one was not a genocide but a drip-drip-drip over many years. Just the Bengal Famine that Amartya Sen claims was not due to food shortage but due to Government incompetence claimed half as many lives as the Holocaust. My grandfather, for one, could never understand why one form of killing was morally superior to the other.

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