In the 1920s a young political maverick had been imprisoned in the Bavarian prison. He was an Austrian born to a family of farmers. His name, perhaps one of the most famous in human history, was of course Adolf Hitler. Germany’s most infamous leader, Hitler unleashed a wave of global destruction in the most devastating war ever during the Second World War that truly was fought around the globe, from Europe and the Atlantic to the Pacific and East Asia. Hitler has been considered as a lunatic, a diabolical spirit obsessed with the occult and evil in nature. This is not surprising since he directly caused the deaths of around 6 million Jews in the Holocaust not to mention the tens of millions of soldiers and civilians who died because of his dream of the thousand year long Third Reich and the conflicts resulting from it. However, I believe that even though there is little doubt that Hitler was a fanatic and a terrible human, his ideas of fascism do have some merit. Fascism was not only prevalent in Germany at that time but also in Italy and Spain. The basic ideals of Fascism are not evil and it was Hitler that took the extreme measures and killed innumerable people, and not the ideology of Fascism. The word derives from the Latin fascis which literally means a bundle of sticks. It is a symbol of the strength of unity. What Hitler envisaged was the rise of Germany as a global superpower that would bring prosperity and progress for its citizens. He sought to bring back Germany’s glory. The Aryans or white-skinned blonde people were glorified to be a superior race and every other peoples were declared as subhuman. Of course, all this came at the expense of other nations and other peoples like the Jews. But I think that if it had been carried out in a less extreme and destructive that it would have made Germany better off.
Generally speaking, people are proud of who they are and what they have. People want their nation to progress, their countrymen to be rich and powerful. And this is what Hitler wanted too. It seems inconsistent for everyone to be criticising the Nazis and other fascist groups and not talk about similar acts done by others. For example, what about the Americans who sought to wipe an entire race from the face of the planet to establish their own nation? Then the Jews who demanded the Promised Land during the Zionist movement? Every group of people wants to make itself better off and this results from the individual perspective where every person wants himself or herself to be successful, rich or powerful and thus, works hard towards attaining these goals. Patriotism is a fundamental human trait and that stems from chauvinism. Even people who claim that they are not nationalistic at all are actually unaware of it. Personally, I myself was not patriotic but ever since I moved to Singapore and was away from India, I realised that I loved my country. It is this feeling that continuously forces NRIs to return and Harvard and Stanford PhDs to come and teach at the IIT at meagre salaries. Undoubtedly patriotism is good for the country as citizens try to make what they love, better. But then there is the extreme where war is seen as the only way to bring glory and power to one’s nation. There exists an ideological slippery slope but if the line can be drawn before this aggressive stage, fascism can reap benefits for a nation. Just before WW II, Germany’s GDP rose rapidly as proud citizens worked hard and productively. This makes me wonder if a Fascist ideology that is controlled and moderate could actually work for a country like India. Look at our neighbours, China. Meet any Chinese and you will surprised to realise how nationalistic they are, since they would refuse to criticise their country and will be proud of everything and anything Chinese. For India, it is often the reverse scenario where any Indian does not even hesitate to put the blame of his failures or inadequacies on something called the “system” in India. The common man believes that India is rotten with corruption and little can ever be done to make the situation better since “the whole system is in a mess”. This is an attitude that might hold India’s progress. Certainly there is widespread corruption in our country and poverty, illiteracy and overpopulation plague India but how can we palliate the situation if none of us is willing to actually believe that we can do it. I feel that it is time with the seeming rise of India for Indians to be proud of their nation, history and culture. This is the only way a superpower can emerge.
*This piece has been selected as the Winning Entry of the Day for the ‘Viewspaper Express Yourself Writing Competition’*