Blog: Vote Stalin? In India, you can

Blog: Vote Stalin? In India, you can
History has it that Stalin and Napoleon were born a hundred years apart but in India, you will find the two working together - at least on paper.

Stalin and Napoleon (no relation to the Soviet dictator or the French emperor) are leaders in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a political party in Tamil Nadu that hogged headlines on Tuesday for withdrawing support to the ruling Congress-led coalition.

M.K. Stalin is the third son of DMK chief Karunanidhi and is his heir apparent. His father named him after Josef Stalin as proof of his communist leanings.

There are mixed feelings in Russia about the dictator who died 60 years ago and is accused of killing millions of civilians.

M.K. Stalin, born the same year the Soviet dictator died, was refused admission to a school because of his name. But this doesn't seem to have diluted his admiration for the Soviet leader.

The 21st-century Stalin's website refers to the Soviet ruler as a "revolutionary" and a "man of steel".

It's not a name that would have raised eyebrows in certain parts of India. During the Cold War, it became fashionable for people to name their children after revolutionaries such as Lenin, Che - and Stalin.

As for D. Napoleon, he was a junior minister in the government, until the DMK announced its pull-out. It wasn't the name the actor-turned-politician was born with. Kumaresan Duraisamy took on the stage name and his wife is today known as Mrs. Napoleon.

Not that these are the only politicians in India who have been named after European dictators. The northeastern state of Meghalaya has Adolf Lu Hitler Marak, who belongs to the Nationalist Congress Party.

After receiving a lot of media attention during state polls in Meghalaya this year, Marak assured voters he is "no dictator".

It helped that he wasn't the only politician with a colourful name in the state; Frankenstein was also in the running.

(Follow Diksha on Twitter @diksha16 )

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

© Thomson Reuters 2013
Story First Published: March 20, 2013 22:01 IST

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