Hitler, Frankenstein Compete in Indian Local Elections

Adolf Hitler is running for election in a north-east Indian state – and will be competing against Frankenstein.

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A security personnel stands guard outside a new restaurant, named after Adolf Hitler and promoted with posters showing the German leader and Nazi swastikas, on the outskirts of Mumbai August 21, 2006.

Adolf Hitler is running for election in a state in northeast India – and he’s going up against Frankenstein.

Adolf Lu Hitler-Marak and Frankenstein Momin are competing against candidates named Process, Highlander, Predecessor and Fairly Bert in the Meghalaya state’s legislative assembly elections this weekend.

The region’s unusual names stem from the state’s close historical links with Britain, explains Agence France-Presse: in colonial times, missionaries and soldiers would visit the hilly state’s capital Shillong, known as the “Scotland of the East,” to escape the overbearing heat of much of the country, and its residents began naming their children with random English words as a nod to that influence.

“Often they don’t know the background of the names. They get attracted to these names for their quest of modernity,” Sanjeeb Kakoty, a history professor at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong, told AFP.

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“Parents may christen their children funny names, but as long as the candidates perform their duties, we have no problem,” a local named Class One told AFP. Previous election winners in Meghalaya have included Churchill and Roosevelt, notes the Daily Telegraph.

Adolf Lu Hitler-Marak does have a moustache, but that’s where the resemblance to his Nazi namesake ends. “Maybe my parents liked the name. But I am not a dictator,” he told AFP.

The name Hitler does not carry quite the same connotations in India as it does elsewhere, notes CBS. There have been a number of cases of Indian businesses making inappropriate references to the genocidal dictator: last year, a clothing store in Ahmedabad, called Hitler, came under pressure from the local Jewish community to change is name. “I was not aware of Hitler being responsible for the killings of six million people before the shop’s inauguration. This time I will choose a non-controversial name,” the shop’s owner told the BBC.

The owners of a Mumbai restaurant named Hitler’s Cross, which had initially displayed a giant poster of the dictator outside, changed the eatery’s name after similar protests, as the BBC reports.

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