August 23, 2006
Hitler's CrossEven though it's sensitive to religious offense, India doesn't seem to have a problem with the controversially named restaurant Hitler's Cross. There are only 5,500 Jews in this country of more than a billion, where most aren't familiar with the Holocaust and see Hitler as just another historical figure. Swastikas are also common in India, where it's been an ancient sacred symbol long before it was misappropriated by the Third Reich.
One young man defended it this way (emphasis mine):
Engineering student Anand Dhillon sat with friends, sipping soft drinks. "I think the name is quite interesting. Tomorrow if someone keeps a name like Saddam Mutton Shop or George Bush Footwear, there's nothing wrong with that, is there?" he shrugged.That could mean two things: either the average guy on the street in India really doesn't know who Hitler was or they see an equivalence between him and Saddam and Bush, which is just another confirmation of the depths Dubya has fallen in the eyes of the world.
I think it's insensitive and in high bad taste to open an eatery and call it "Hitler's Cross". Never mind actually eating there. That's like patronizing "Pol Pot's Noodle Shop" or "General Tojo's Sushi"; not my idea of good eats.
But forcing the local government to order a name change isn't a good idea, either. That won't inform people as to why it's offensive; only an educational campaign could do that.
The owner relents and decided to change the restaurant's name.
Image: AP/Gautam Singh.
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