There has been an extremely surprising and disturbing trend that has come into being among a few, thankfully only a few, members of the Indian social media brigade, hailing Adolf Hitler and crediting his ostensible role in the Indian Independence. How they have come to this appalling conclusion, it is difficult to ascertain. To put things into the right perspective, the Indian Independence movements as a whole, involved the blood and sweat of millions of patriots who laid down their lives for a cause they believed to be just (nobody but the staunchest of Empire apologists would tell you otherwise). Saying that a mass murderer, a fascist who celebrated racial superiority and orchestrated one of the worst genocides the world has ever seen, had a hand in the Indian Independence is an insult to the memory of those brave sons and daughters of India who fought bravely to realise the dream of an independent India free from foreign rule.
It might be true, to a significant extent, that Gandhian principles of civil disobedience and non-violent protests, though successful in garnering international outrage against the Empire, alone couldn’t have brought the Empire down on its knees if it weren’t for its already weakened state. The second World War had cost the nation greatly. It simply could not afford to keep an overseas colony, however valuable, bound to it by brute force in the face of strong native military and political resistance. And the naval mutinies by Indian troops emphasised their diminishing authority on Indian soil. Germany, being one of the foremost among the Axis powers which fought against Britain, playing a part in destabilising it, can hardly lay claim to having done anybody any good.
The flimsy argument of these Hitler worshipping youth in celebrating Hitler as the person who led to the weakening of Britain’s hold on India makes as much sense as being grateful that your house was spared because the thief decided to ransack the neighbour’s house. The Great Cause of Self-Rule or Swaraj that was rendered effectual due to decades of sporadic resistances which gained a direction in the nineteenth century simply cannot be considered as an accidental by-product of unintended good on Hitler’s part. Thousands of lives were lost, families were torn apart, and the horror of ethnic cleansing that happened during the Holocaust is something that one simply cannot be dismissive about because it happened far away from where we experienced our own horrors propagated by the British rule.
The rise of a boy from a family of modest means to the Commander of a military force to be reckoned with is a story that would strike chords had that person put his power to good use, but to hail a mass murderer such as Hitler, is a slight to the age-old Indian values of courage, bravery and standing up for the wronged. We, as a nation, have never celebrated joy at the cost of others’ misfortunes and have always lent helping hands to nations in distress. We have only our ancestors to thank for the freedom and rights we enjoy in this democracy and in taking forward this country by quantum leaps while recovering from the ill-effects of Colonialism.