Hitler eatery's no shock in India
Thursday, August 24, 2006
MUMBAI, India -- When a restaurant called Hitler's Cross opened four days ago in a Bombay suburb, the city's small Jewish community was outraged, but there were few other objections.
Owner Puneet Sablok insisted then -- and still does -- that the name and theme of his new eatery is only meant to attract attention, with its posters of Adolf Hitler and swastikas.
Swastikas are an ancient Hindu symbol, displayed all over to bring good luck.
"There is no intention to hurt anyone," Sablok said of his spa cious restaurant, which serves pastries, pizza and salad in Navi Mum bai, a northern suburb of Bombay, which is also known as Mumbai.
Holocaust awareness in India is limited, with Hitler is regarded as just another historical figure.
There are just 5,500 Jews in India, and all but 1,000 live in Bom bay.
"It's really made people very upset that a person responsible for the massacre of 6 million Jews can be glorified," Elijah Jacob, one of the community's leaders, told the Associated Press yesterday.
Those objecting to the restaurant plan to ask the local government to force a name change, said Daniel Zonshine, Israel's consul general in Bombay.
"Instead of Hitler's name being an example of extreme evil, this is like giving legitimacy to Hitler. It's not right to advertise his name in public," Zonshine said.
But while India is ordinarily sensitive to causing religious offense -- it recently took action to bar "The Da Vinci Code" movie and cartoon drawings of the prophet Muhammad -- at least one local leader said the name Hitler didn't bother him.
"People are unnecessarily mak ing this into an issue," said Sudhir Jadhav, a local ruling party leader. "We have no plans to protest outside the restaurant or ask him to change the name."
Diners at Hitler's Cross also had no objections.
"Hitler was a bad man, but what's wrong with having food here?" said Ashwini Phadnis, 22, a microbiology student as she ate a piece of chocolate cake.
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 asked. http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyID=2006-08-21T112143Z_01_DEL285484_RTRIDST_0_OUKOE-UK-INDIA-HITLER.XML
Mumbai's "Hitler" eatery angers Indian Jews
Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:21 PM BST
Email This Article | Print This Article | RSS [-] Text [+] By Krittivas Mukherjee
MUMBAI (Reuters) - A new restaurant in India's financial hub, named after Adolf Hitler and promoted with posters showing the German leader and Nazi swastikas, has infuriated the country's small Jewish community.
'Hitler's Cross', which opened last week, serves up a wide range of continental fare and a big helping of controversy, thanks to a name the owners say they chose to stand out among hundreds of Mumbai eateries.
"We wanted to be different. This is one name that will stay in people's minds," owner Punit Shablok told Reuters.
"We are not promoting Hitler. But we want to tell people we are different in the way he was different."
But India's remaining Jews -- most migrated to Israel and the West over the years -- say they are outraged by the gimmick.
"This signifies a severe lack of awareness of the agony of millions of Jews caused by one man," said Jonathan Solomon, chairman of the Indian Jewish Federation, the community's umbrella organisation.
"We are going to stop this deification of Hitler," he said without elaborating.
The small restaurant, its interior done out in the Nazi colours of red, white and black, also has a lounge for smoking the exotic Indian water pipe or "hookah".
Posters line the road leading up to it, featuring a red swastika carved in the name of the eatery. One slogan reads: "From Small Bites to Mega Joys".
A huge portrait of a stern-looking Fuehrer greets visitors at the door. The cross in the restaurant's name refers to the swastika that symbolised the Nazi regime.
"This place is not about wars or crimes, but where people come to relax and enjoy a meal," said restaurant manager Fatima Kabani, adding that they were planning to turn the eatery's name into a brand with more branches in Mumbai.
The swastika has its roots in ancient Indian Hindu tradition and remains a sacred symbol for Hindus. Nazi theorists appropriated it to bolster their central hypothesis of the Aryan origins of the German people. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0
Outrage grows over Hitler eatery
A restaurant with a Hitler theme has angered Jewish groups which say that it trivialises the Holocaust.
The Hitler’s Cross restaurant in Mumbai, which has a poster of the Nazi leader prominently displayed at the entrance and features swastika decorations, opened last week at a party attended by local celebrities.
“Adolf Hitler presided over the mass murder of six million Jews. The Nazi imagery used denigrates the memory of the victims,” said Abraham Fox-man, director of the Anti-Defamation League in New York.
Mumbai’s 5,000-strong Jewish community, has appealed to Puneet Sablok, the owner to change the name, but said that they believed the unusual theme to be the result of ignorance rather than malice. Mr Sablok has refused to change it.
Ashwini Phadnis, 22, a microbiology student who used the restaurant, said: “Hitler was a bad man, but what’s wrong with having food here?” (AFP)