India’s Strange Relationship With Hitler

For decades, Mein Kampf has remained a bestseller in India. But that doesn’t necessarily mean what you think.

Michaela Stone Cross

July 30, 2019

India’s Strange Relationship With Hitler

One day, Vasand Pandarin was selling books on the street when a foreigner, a man from Germany, approached him. He saw one volume, and then asked for all additional copies. Then, right on the sidewalk, he tore the books to shreds. 

“He was very angry,” said Pandarin, as he sits on the sidewalk, playing a game on his mobile phone. “The book’s about a leader, an interesting person, but they hate him in his own country.”

The book was Mein Kampf.

Pandarin estimates that he has sold around a thousand copies of the book over the years, to people young and old. In Mumbai this isn’t surprising: all over India, you can see prominently displayed copies of Adolf Hitler’s autobiography. One Delhi bookstore owner has even reported selling 10,000 copies in six months, and considers it a bestseller.

“Europeans would get very upset about this,” said another bookseller, Virat Chandok. “Because they’ll place Gandhi and Mein Kampf in the autobiography section. I remember one Frenchman was very upset.”