Shillong: Hitler, the
name of a garment store in Ahmedabad, the largest city of Gujarat,
had to be changed after its owners were hit by protests. But what
if a person is the namesake of the Nazi dictator?
Adolf Lu Hitler Rangsa Marak, the Nationalist Congress Party
legislator from India's norteastern state of Meghalaya, believes
that a name doesn't represent the true characteristics of a person
and sees no need to change his name.
"I am no dictator and neither am I the namesake of Adolf Hitler,"
said Marak, explaining that his name was incomplete without his
surname - Rangsa Marak.
"No one in Rangsakona (his assembly constituency) has ever
questioned me about my name," he told IANS.
"Parents often name their children after great leaders but
sometimes due to ignorance they get fascinated by those
personalities," S. N. Lamare, a professor of history at the North
Eastern Hill University here said.
The legislator too admitted that he was an infant when his father
fondly named him Adolf Lu Hitler followed by the surname.
"I have never asked my father why he chose this name for me," said
Marak, known more popularly as Hitler and Lulu.
Recently, a small garment shop in Ahmedabad was forced to drop its
name (Hitler) after protest by the Jewish and local community and
even people outside India.
The Jewish community was particularly upset as the German dictator
inflicted untold misery and violence on the Jews during World War
II when millions were massacred in concentration camps. The name
Hitler became synonymous with mass murder the world over.
In India, however, the general notion associated with the name
Hitler is someone who is a very strict person, as cited by the
shop owner in Ahmedabad who said that his partner's grandfather
who was a strict disciplinarian was the inspiration behind his
On a similar note, a TV soap which is running on air is named
"Hitler Didi" after the protagonist, who is depicted as a strict
and no-nonsense disciplinarian.
In India, there have been no issues with the soap's name but in
the US it is titled "General Didi."
Although Marak in the past faced some difficulties while
travelling abroad, he never faced any problem while travelling in
"Once when I was travelling from Amsterdam as the forest and
environment minister, I was questioned at the Amsterdam airport
about my name (on the passport) and officials even cross-checked
with authorities to confirm my Indian citizenship," Marak said.
"Indians are more sensible. We don't believe a name represents a
person's true character. A person with the name Hitler can be a
good person," Apurba K. Baruah, a political scientist at the North
Eastern Hill University, told IANS.
"Similarly, a person who may have the name of a god can be a bad
person. The name has got nothing to do with it," Baruah said.
(Raymond Kharmujai can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)