Hitler's popularity…points to…less tangible factors. For one, despite discarding socialism and autarky two decades ago, India remains largely inward looking. Homegrown movie stars and sportsmen dominate celebrity culture. Whether in politics or economics, Indians tend to benchmark their country against its own past rather than against its Asian neighbors or the West. Insensitivity to the emotions Hitler evokes in New York or London shows a country too busy having a conversation with itself to pay much attention to what others think.
Many urban Indians also long for order. The Hitler fan sees him, simple-mindedly, as a strongman capable of producing order out of chaos. In a country where the smallest act…can be fraught with uncertainty, and where democracy serves up an unending stream of crooks and dynasts, it's easy to see the allure of the dictator who delivers.