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Ghulam Muhammed, meet the Hitlers of Mumbai!

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in response to reader comment: What about Nazification of Hindutva?

Submitted by Rakshas 10 Anan (India), Sep 3, 2006 at 02:02

Meet the 'Hitlers' of Mumbai bylanes, by Archana Sharma

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1951314.cms

[3 Sep, 2006 0011hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK]

MUMBAI: The swastika may have been taken off a Navi Mumbai restaurant but the name responsible for the Holocaust lives on in and around the city, thanks to beliefs that link Azamgarh with Turkey and the Indian independence with the Fuehrer that Jews have reason to hate.

Go to Tanvar Nagar in Mumbra and ask for Hitlerbhai and you will be safely seen off at the man's door at Huma Complex. His passport says his name is Badr-e-Alam Noor-Ul-Hoodah but, for everyone who knows him, he is Hitler.

This Hitler came to Mumbai from Uttar Pradesh's Azamgarh, where it's not uncommon to hear someone yell out "Hitlerwa". So did the other Hitlers that TOI chanced to meet in Mumbai.

The second Hitler we came across was in the bylanes of Mohammad Ali Road. Fakhr-E-Alam (that's what his "official" name is) runs a bakery and is surprised at the interest his nickname draws. He offers nonchalantly: "It must be azaadi ka chakkar."

He remembers being called Hitler by his parents and everyone else since as long as he can remember. His "real" name is only used for official purposes, says the 53-year-old.

Badr, however, knows why he was named after the Fuehrer. His grandfather was a politically active pradhan of Azamgarh's Mundiyar village.

"I believe it was partly because of Adolf Hitler that India managed to get independence from Britain. He weakened Bartania (UK) and the English were forced to withdraw from India," the 55-year-old real-estate investor says.

Badr recounts an incident when a cashier from his thelage bank, who had overpaid him, spent the entire day searching for him.

"He approached the neighbourhood boys with my name on the passbook. The boys, who were helping him, lost their patience when they realised it was me. If only he had asked for Hitler, he would have been brought to me in minutes," laughs Badr.

Nasser Jamal Shaikh of Colaba, another Hitler from the same place in UP, says nobody should raise an eyebrow if someone is called Hitler. "Hitler was an enemy's enemy (because Germany was the UK's enemy) and, therefore, was seen as a friend by many. Many Urdu poets actually praised him," he said.

Noted lyricist Hasan Kamaal (of Nikaah fame) explained another reason for Hitler's popularity in the community; Turkey, then Islamic capital of the world, was part of the Germany-led Axis and many Muslims, therefore, revered Hitler, he said.

"Azamgarh was a very politically active district. The garamdal (extremists) influenced people heavily. Subhash Chandra Bose was pro-Japan and pro-Germany and he had a huge following in that district," Kamaal added. "Muslims named their kids after Saddam Hussain after the Gulf War because they believed he gave the US a tough time. This Hitler phenomenon was something similar; very few realised the extent of Holocaust."

Bhiwandi powerloom owner Imran Ahmed's brother was called Mister. In time, Ahmed came to be called Hitler as it "rhymed with Mister".

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