On 30th November, Prabha Khaitan Foundation organized a session of an author’s afternoon with Vaibhav Purandare. Vaibhav is the senior editor at the Times of India and is the author of many books. He has a passion for public affairs, history, culture, politics and the global and national landscape which is reflected through his many literary works. In conversation with him was film journalist, festival curator, author and national award film recipient Ratnottama Sengupta.
Vaibhav says that Indians have a certain fascination towards Adolf Hitler and it is because of a few reasons. He fought against the British during World War 2, and because the British were ruling India at the time, we assumed that Hitler was in favor of the struggle for political liberation from the British Raj. The second reason is the picture of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose shaking hands with Adolf Hitler in Germany, which is embedded in our national consciousness. Another reason is that since the word Aryan has been derived from the Sanskrit word Arya, people believe that Hitler must have thought of us as Aryans and that we were among the chosen ones, even the Nazi symbol looks like the Swastika which is considered auspicious in India. All these reasons made people believe that Hitler was India’s friend and that he supported India’s struggles.
A few years ago, he picked up a copy of Adolf Hitler’s autobiography, which he says is very badly written and is very tough to follow. The book wasn’t written by Hitler himself but rather was narrated by him to Rudolf Hess, who wrote it. The book that we have right now is an extremely sophisticated version of the book and the person who re wrote the book was killed by Hitler.
While reading the book, Vaibhav came across a passage in the book about India. He was shocked to see what was written about India and what Hitler thought of India. Hitler was very abusive of India and was against the freedom movement of India and also went on to say that India did not deserve freedom. This made him question if that was all there was to see and started looking at German archives, Nazi party archives in Berlin, Munich etc. Vaibhav found out that Hitler wrote and spoke about India quite often, from the start of his career right to the point that he committed suicide. He used the British Raj as an example in Nazi Germany as well and believed the British’s success to be because of their race.
Talking about racism, Vaibhav says that we Indians are racist as well and racism isn’t a quality that’s limited to Nazis. He says that Nazis established the Varna system and reached the heights of meta-physical thinking and wrote classic Sanskrit texts, the Vedas, Upanishads etc. Unfortunately according to their philosophy, they lost their power of meta-physical thinking because they started mixing with the local population. The result was the loss of all their Aryan qualities and the blood was so contaminated that there are no Aryans left in India and who, have contaminated and destroyed Aryanism.
Talking about the origin of Swastika, he says that when the ancient city of Atlantis was submerged into the sea, the Nordic people that were believed live there, and were thought of as superhumans, got so devastated that they decided to move to the roof of the world, which was Tibet. It was in Tibet that they came across Swastika, which was a holy symbol in Tibet. They also adopted the word Aryan as they believed that they settled in Tibet.
He talks about 2 different factions withing the Nazi party, one was led by Hitler and in the name of national. The other faction was led by Gregor Strasser which focused on the word socialist in the name of the party. One of the points of contention was to decide which policy to adopt towards the colonized people who were fighting for independence. Hitler’s opinion was the Germany should not stand in solidarity with any of the other countries and Strasser’s group believed in supporting countries like India, Egypt etc. At one point, this friction comes to head and the Strasser brothers started writing articles in their newspapers in favor of India’s demand for freedom and Hitler got so upset that he summoned the younger Strasser brother to a hotel to have a conversation. This started an argument which lasted for about 7 hours. The argument was inconclusive and because of Hitler’s popularity eventually gained the support of the entire party.