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Monday, Aug 26, 2019

Of yellow benches and goals in Nazi Germany

For many evenings I have been hooked on to watching Discovery Channel of TV devoted to narrating the rise and fall of Adolf Hitler's Nazi fascism. Khushwant Singh writes.

columns Updated: Jun 02, 2012 22:48 IST
Khushwant Singh
Khushwant Singh

For many evenings I have been hooked on to watching Discovery Channel of TV devoted to narrating the rise and fall of Adolf Hitler's Nazi fascism. I have no idea from where they got all the film footage but it seemed authentic and no re-enacted to make the serial Adolf Hitler comes alive with all his oratory and fascist salutes with the raised right hand. His admirers do the same shouting Heil Hitler.

My first encounter with the Nazis came in 1935 when I was a member of the Indian Students Hockey team to play against German teams in Weisbaden. There were benches kept in the field for spectators of which one was painted yellow. At half time I went and sat on it. I was asked to sit on another bench as the yellow ones were meant for Jews. I refused to do so and got into an unpleasant argument with our German escorts. I was dropped from the team.

Thereafter I made friends with several young German Jews who had fled from their homeland and joined colleges in England. I spent my summer vacations with them in holiday resorts in northern France. And learnt more about what the Nazis were doing the Jews. It was nauseating. It became worse when Hitler became ruler of the country. Thousands of Jews were murdered in gas chambers. As he extended his rule to Poland and France, more were forced to flee for their lives. The Zionist movement received a boost. Those who felt their only chance of survival was to have a country of their own migrated to Israel. They bought desert lands at cheap prices from Arabs. Within a few years they turned sandy wastes into green forests. When Arabs tried to expel them, they inflicted humiliating defeats on them. It could be said that Hitler was responsible for creating a viable, often aggressive Israel. With generous support of the United States of America Israel became a thorn inside Muslim nations. It is a nuclear power. If any Muslim country, including those who have atom bombs, tried to raise its hand against it, it will regret its decision to do so.

All this is spelt out in graphic detail by the Discovery Channel series. It leaves the viewer in no doubt that Adolft Hitler was the greatest murderer in the history of mankind. He killed many more people than Changez Khan, Hulagu and Abdali put together. It is amazing that so many of our right-wing Hindu leaders, including LK Advani, read his autobiography Mien Kampf (My Life) for inspiration. Although Hitler took the concept of Aryanism and the emblem Swastika from us, he had nothing but contempt for us. Indians as lackeys of the British.

II. Not to Reason Why?
For some reason, not logical, Discovery Channels series on Hitler reminded me of a verse by Habib Jalib:
Qatl kyuon ho gaya hum pey ilzaam hai
Qatl jisney kiya hai vahee muddaee
Vakeelon mein ab ye bahas chhir gayee
Ye jo qaatil ko thhoree see zehmat hue
Ye jo khanjar mein halka sa kham aa gayaa
Iska taavaan kssey liya jaayega?
'Why did you allow yourself to be killed?
Is the charge for which I am billed.
Now layers are arguing amongst themselves:
'This small trouble that the killer had to take
This little dent that his dagger suffered,
Who should be made to compensate?

Though I have unconcealed admiration for Manmohan Singh, I have stuck to my resolve to keep a respectful distance from his since he became Prime Minister of India. I tried to make an acronym of the qualities of which I admire him. According to my reckoning there are three: ability, honesty and humility. They yield the acronym Ahh - which doesn't make any kind of word in any language. So I have mended it and made it Shaabash -well done. There is an instance of Sardar

Logic for you.

i) Spare Tyre: Husband and wife are like two tyres of a vehicle. If one punctures, the vehicle can't move further. Moral: Always keep a spare tyre.

ii) Chewing gum & Begum:

What's the similarity between gum and begum (wife)?? Both are sweet at the beginning and become tasteless, shapeless and chipku in the end….

iii) Friend & wife - difference

You can tell your friend "You are my Best Friend"

But do you have courage to tell to your wife: "You are my Best Wife?"

(contributed by Vipin Buckshey, Delhi)

The views expressed by the author are personal

First Published: Jun 02, 2012 22:42 IST

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