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article imageNew clothing store in India called 'Hitler,' owner won't change

By Marcus Hondro     Aug 30, 2012 in World
A new men's clothing store in Ahmedabad, the largest city (5.5 million) in the Indian province of Gujarat, is using the name 'Hitler'. Despite protestations from the small Jewish community in the city, the owner isn't changing it.
New York Times writer Malavika Vyawahare, in a space called 'India Ink', spoke over the phone with the shop's co-owner, Rajesh Shah; Shah said he's already "spent too much on branding" to change the name, though he added that if the Jewish community paid for it he might consider a change. He claims he's spent about $2700 on branding.
His viewpoints seems to be that if it doesn't hurt the majority then it's okay. “None of the other people are complaining, only a few Jewish families," Shah said. "I have not hurt any sentiments of the majority Hindu community. If he did something in Germany, is that our concern?”
Hitler's 'Mein Kempf' sells in India
Shah says they choose the name because it is a nickname of his business partner's grandfather who, he says, played the role of Adolf Hitler in a play back in is college days. The grandfather was a very strict person and as a result of the play and his manner of being, the name 'Hitler' became a lifelong nickname.
There is also a swastika sign, on an angle, adorning the front of the store. As Vyawahare points out the symbol has been in use by the Hindu faith for hundreds of years, long before the German Nazi Party used it as their symbol. However, a swastika sign is not commonly used on the front of clothing stores.
There are other stores in India with names associated with Hitler and Nazism, for example a pool hall in Nagpur is called 'Hitler's Den'. While owners say it is about shock value and generating business there may be more to it; as Canada's Globe and Mail reported, Hitler's Nazi manifesto, 'Mein Kampf', has had a dramatic increase in the past few years, selling 10,000 copies during one six month period in 2009 alone.
Mr. Shah says the name is bringing in customers and business is good.
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