Why India will not be Hitler's Germany


'In this country of 1.2 billion, there may be a few Indians who might dislike Muslims and wish them ill. But the vast majority of Indians remain secular, no matter how grave Hindu-Muslim tensions,' says Amberish Kathewad Diwanji.

“在这个拥有12亿人口的国家里,也许有少数印度人不喜欢穆斯林,并希望他们得病。然而,无论印度教教徒和穆斯林的关系多么紧张,大多数印度人仍然是世俗的。”Amberish Kathewad Diwanji说。

Any political analyst or historian watching events unfold in India today might be very tempted to draw an eerie parallel: Weimar Germany, circa 1933, and Congress India, circa 2013. Separated by over 80 years and thousands of miles, the similarities appear worrisome.


Then in Germany, as now in India, there was a single leader seen as the panacea for all the country's ills: Adolf Hitler in Germany, Narendra Modi in India.

In both cases, they were outsiders to the mainstream -- Hitler was from Austria; Modi is a backward class person in a party historically dominated by the upper castes -- who pushed for majorityism politics, both were/are backed by strong right-wing nationalist parties that had/have anti-minority agendas.

Besides these evident political events, there are other even more important economic events where one can draw parallels. Hitler's rise to power was linked to the global depression of the 1930s. That depression actually began in 1929, when the US markets crashed, leading to runaway inflation in Germany, which was still paying reparations for World War I.




In fact, inflation was so steep that at one point people did not count money, but weighed the notes that were to be paid for regular commodities.

Then, demographers have often noted that a sudden surge in the population of the young in a country where they cannot find gainful employment is a recipe for disaster. In the 1920s and 1930s, Germany had a youth bulge, but many of the young men were unemployed, thanks to the debts Germany was forced to pay, which limited investments in new jobs.

In their anger and frustration, the youth readily believed Hitler when he blamed all of Germany's ills on the Jews.




India is lurching towards a similar situation. In India, every year, some 10 million to 12 million youngsters join the workforce (this is the government's figure; according to some private analysts, it is more than double that).


Even going by the government figure, India has to create 10 million jobs a year, and over the next five years, 50 million new jobs.

In the current economic downturn, so many jobs are not being added to the economy. Tragically, even when India was booming in the last decade, jobs were not being added the way they should have been.

There is no doubt that if the present government is unable to create more jobs, and quickly, the country will be witness to hordes of young men roaming the streets.




In 1974-1975, when food prices rose dramatically following OPEC's decision to hike the price of crude, riots had broken out across India. People chose to believe in anyone but the government, be it George Fernandes (then a trade union leader) or Jayaprakash Narayan (the Gandhian activist).

This time, with neither a Socialist nor a Gandhian on the horizon, people are increasingly seeing their saviour in Narendra Modi. This might explain the rousing reception he gets wherever he goes, and the frenzy-like greeting of those gathered to see him.



Yet, more than the similarities between the India of 2013 and the Germany of 1933, the differences between the two countries might ensure that India won't go down the same path.


The first dissimilarity is the sheer size and diversity of India. Even if Modi and the BJP were to win (and there is as yet absolutely no surety of this), it will at best be a coalition government.

Coalition partners are unlikely to tolerate a party going berserk against the minorities. Mamata Banerjee or Naveen Patnaik may back the BJP, but will insist on secular policies.


联盟伙伴不大可能容忍一个政党疯狂反对少数族群。玛玛塔·班纳吉(Mamata Banerjee)或巴奈克(Naveen Patnaik)也许会支持人民党,但会坚持世俗政策。

Second, and more important, unlike Germany in the 1930s where the opposition was literally wiped out, this is unlikely to happen in India after the next election.

Despite all its scams, Rahul Gandhi may still push the Congress party to emerge as the single largest party. At worst, it will be the second largest party in the country. Thus, even if it goes out of power, the Congress will remain a potent force that will keep the BJP in check.



Third, and perhaps most important, are the people of India.

There is no denying that in this country of 1.2 billion there may be a few Indians who might dislike Muslims and wish them ill. But the vast majority of Indians remain secular, no matter how grave Hindu-Muslim tensions.

Indians are by and large a secular lot. This is what has kept India secular and remains the best bet for the future, no matter how grim the economic situation






India will become




Comparing Jews and Muslims????

by rk singh

is like comparing apples to rotten oranges. Jews contributed to German economy and science in a huge way (before Hitler went mad). Most Nobel laureates from Germany were Jews. Muslims are yet to give a single contribution to our country.


Re: Comparing Jews and Muslims????

by Sivan Pillai

Muslims contribute negatively. They don't practice family planning and increase their population, which strains the national resources. By terrorists and disruptive activities they disturb the peaceful life in the country.


hitler was bad

by doc

because he tried to destroy the jews one of the most sophisticated civilizations. whereas our enemies are most barbaric of the men humanity ever produced, and they have already managed to kill millions of us. so we desperately need a real final solution with these enemies.


Re: Re: Another Paid Article by Rediff !!

by Sivan Pillai

Modi is coming to power, and appeasement of Muslims will end. Muslims will start behaving properly, and all of us will live happily in this country.


Don't underestimate our politicians

by Diwakar Sandur

Nice article, articulatying something that has been worrying me.

Not sure about the author's conclusion though. Indians may be a secular lot, but I think our politicians have an enormous capacity to divide society for votes. I am not sure that India won't go the way of pre-WWII Germany.



Poor immature writing

by Pen diamond

Writer has no idea as to why people want Modi. They are fed up with corruption and need a strong and a good leader.



Most important is that Muslims are not Jews who can be easily herded into gas camps. They will fight back and seek help from the Muslim world and get it. 2014 will also see the US pullout and Taliban back there. So Modi may just bring a lot of bad luck or India.