State textbooks in Gujarat glorify Nazism, according to the Times of India.
Welcome to high school education in Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, where authors of social studies textbooks published by the Gujarat State Board of School Textbooks have found faults with the freedom movement and glorified Fascism and Nazism.
While a Class VIII student is taught ‘negative aspects’ of Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement, the Class X social studies textbook has chapters on ‘Hitler, the Supremo’ and ‘Internal Achievements of Nazism’.
The Class X book presents a frighteningly uncritical picture of Fascism and Nazism. The strong national pride that both these phenomena generated, the efficiency in the bureaucracy and the administration and other ‘achievements’ are detailed, but pogroms against Jews and atrocities against trade unionists, migrant labourers, and any section of people who did not fit into Mussolini or Hitler’s definition of rightful citizen don’t find any mention.
The headline on the article is
In Modi’s Gujarat, Hitler is a textbook hero
Modi could be the next Prime Minister of India. It’s alarming.
The question is, how many Indians support Modi’s fascist policy?
It’s difficult to be optimistic about any society that maintains that repugnant abomination, the Hindu Caste system.
Ophelia Benson says
A lot. I don’t know the exact proportions, but the BJP is popular (though it lost the last election).
Ophelia, I’ve encountered this phenomenon in Asia before, and I’m going to have a crack at explaining it.
If you ask a Brit for the dates of World War II, they will most probably reply “September 1939 to May 1945”, when in fact, those are the dates of the war in Europe. If you ask an American the same thing, they will reply “December 1941 to September 1945”, which in fact are the dates of the war in the Pacific. To the Chinese, however, WWII started with the Japanese occupation of Manchuria in September 1931, and still hasn’t ended because the Japanese still haven’t paid proper and sufficient reparations. Concomitant with this, all Westerners know all about the evils of Nazism because that’s the focus of our school history textbooks, and the subject of countless movies and TV shows. In contrast, however, Asian school books concentrate on the war in the Pacific, with the Japanese as the Big Bad, and Nazism relegated to a footnote, if it is ever mentioned at all. The only thing they know about Hitler is that he used the ura manji as his logo, so just like when Dubya met Putin and declared something along the lines of “I knew I could trust him when I saw he wore a crucifix and that meant he was a fellow Christian”, they know nothing of Hitler, but a man who used a Buddhist peace symbol can’t be all bad, can he? A few years ago a restaurant opened in India that was called “Hitler’s Cross” for this very reason. If you want Indians to recoil in horror from Nazism, you first have to teach it to them. I suspect that Modi is operating out of ignorance rather than malice here.
Your defence of Modi and his government is not at all convincing, the authors of the textbooks obviously must have done their research on the history of Nazism, it doesn’t seem plausible to claim that somehow they didn’t notice that millions of Jews, Roma and Slavs were exterminated by the Nazis. In fact, according to that Times of India report, there was a passing reference to the annihilation of 6 million Jews which apparently, was simply regrettable, no mention, as usual, of Hitler’s more numerous other victims, the Slavs.
The authors of the textbooks are racists.
It is astounding that so few commenters are aware of the fact that extreme hindu groups have always drawn inspiration from European fascists like Mussolini and Hitler. Google the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) please!
Kimpatsu, what you write about East Asia is largely true but India’s extremists are well aware of what they are doing.
RJW, the caste system is illegal but sadly, so many indians – hindus, muslims, christians, sikhs all included- are in thrall to it that I find it really hard to be optimistic about India myself, and I am a person of indian descent.
Your comments are interesting, some Indians are ready to criticise discrimination directed against them, but appear blind to the grotesque injustices of the Caste system–it’s “natural” or somehow sanctified by religion.
So, far authoritarian China, despite many injustices, appears to be making more progress towards raising the living standards of the mass of the population than “The World’s largest Democracy”, that’s an invidious comparison.