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Hitler as management guru in India sparks row

By George Joseph in New York
May 24, 2009 19:16 IST
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Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar joined the Jews to oppose the widespread marketing in India of Adolf Hitler's autobiography, Mein Kampf.

An article in London's Daily Telegraph last month reported that sales of Mein Kampf 'are soaring in India where business students regard the genocidal dictator (Hitler) as a management guru' and consider the book to be a 'management guide.'

"Anyone seeking to teach tomorrow's business leaders of India should reject globalisation of hate and racism, not facilitating it," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a leading Jewish NGO at the United Nations.

"Using Mein Kampf as a self-improvement and strategy guide for India's young is an outrage that dishonours six million Jews murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Adolf Hitler's murderous Third Reich. Honouring and promoting Hitler's white racist ideology mocks the values of the world's largest democracy, and flies in the face of India's noble history of protecting minority peoples, Jews among them" he added.

"India has always been a haven to people of all religious identities and has had a legacy of protecting them. We should be happy to promote lessons from the lives of people who have helped unite mankind. There are many available books that would serve as inspirational management guides for India's youth," Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said.

"We request that publishing companies, bookstores and educators across India immediately cease marketing Mein Kampf as a management guide. This book ought only to be studied in the context of the tragedy of the Holocaust," Cooper and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar concluded.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organisations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. The Wiesenthal Centre and the Art Of Living Foundation have collaborated on a multi-faith anti-terrorism conference in Bali, Indonesia and in the presentation of an exhibition on the Nazi Holocaust, Courage To Remember at the Gandhi Cultural Centre in New Delhi and in Bangalore.

An article in Jewish Chronicle published from London said that 'sales of Mein Kampf topped 10,000 in New Delhi alone in the past six months and are expected to rise further. A spokesman for Embassy Books in Mumbai, who publish Mein Kampf, said people are looking at it from a business angle, especially as Hitler had such a strong influence on the world.'

'Students are told to use Mein Kampf and draw parallels with India to learn business strategies. Even for non-students Hitler's books are popular texts and are clearly displayed in most book stores around India.'

'A business student living in Mumbai said that many people in India see Hitler as a good role model for directing a company and cite him as an inspiration in people management,' the article said.

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George Joseph in New York