Hitler, Frankenstein Among Choices on Indian Ballot

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 22 2013 10:56 AM

India Faces Ultimate Lesser-of-Two-Evils Choice: Vote Hitler? Or Vote Frankenstein?

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In this file photo taken on January 29, 2013, former miner Sharan Rai, 17, (L) walks towards young men still working in the mines in Mulang village in the Indian northeastern state of Meghalaya.

Photo by Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

The Associated Press has a fun story this morning out of Meghalaya, a tiny state in northeast India where the ballot for this weekend's state elections offers some eye-catching names among the 345 candidates running for state assembly. The ballot has something for everyone: lovers of the stage and screen can pick between Frankenstein Momin, Billykid Sangma and Romeo Rani. Those who favor U.S. history can opt for Kenedy Marak, Kennedy Cornelius Khyriem or Jhim Carter Sangma. And if none of those catch your fancy, there's always Hitler:

This 54-year-old father of three has won three elections to the state assembly with little controversy over being named after the Nazi dictator. His father had worked with the British army, but apparently developed enough of a fascination with Great Britain's archenemy to name his son Adolf Hitler — though he also gave him the middle name Lu, Hitler said.
"I am aware at one point of time Adolf Hitler was the most hated person on Earth for the genocide of the Jews. But my father added 'Lu' in between, naming me Adolf Lu Hitler, and that's why I am different," Hitler told The Associated Press from the small village of Mansingre, 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Gauhati, the capital of the nearby state of Assam.
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The AP explains that such unusual names are rather commonplace in Meghalaya, although the report doesn't really explain why, except by noting that locals have a "special fascination for interesting and sometimes controversial names." Full story here. For something a little more meaty on India and democracy, check out Ann Applebaum's examination of whether the country’s political institutions are up to the task of defeating corruption.

[Note on the headline: Yes, I am aware that Frankenstein was the creator's name, not the monster's.]

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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