Indian Soap Opera Invoking Hitler’s Name Airs In The Arab World

  • December 29, 2014

An Indian soap opera that ADL criticized in 2011 for its use of Hitler in its title is now airing in the Arab world on Zee Alwan, a Dubai-based satellite television channel and one of the divisions of India’s mega-media giant Zee Entertainment Enterprises.

Promotional material on Facebook for Aukhti Hitler

Promotional material on Facebook for Aukhti Hitler ("Sister Hitler)

The show Aukhti Hitler (Arabic for “Sister Hitler”), which originally aired with the title “Hitler Didi” in Hindi, has been dubbed into Arabic. It started airing in the Arab world on December 17.

The show title refers to the lead character, a young woman known as a strict disciplinarian who takes a no-nonsense attitude with family members. The show’s plot attempts toexplain the harsh attitude of the main character as a coping mechanism “to face life’s challenges.”

The woman referred to as Hitler is also portrayed as a hardworking person with leadership skills who will not compromise. In the first episode, other characters describe the way she speaks as “Hitler’s laws.”

The show aired originally in 2011 on Zee TV in India. In response to its offensive title, ADL issued a letter at that time asking the network to change the name of the show. The network responded with a letter apologizing for the title and saying that the network was “in the process of renaming the program.”

Currently, Zee Alwan airs the show five times a week to a large Arab audience, and the network is using the same offensive language and imagery to promote the show via its Arabic social media platforms. For example, Zee Alwan TV launched an Arabic Facebook page for the show that includes images of  Hitler’s moustache; the TV network also started an Arabic Twitter hashtag #أختي_هتلر, which translates into “Sister Hitler.”

Zee Alwan is Zee network’s second largest Arabic channel catering to the Middle East. The free-to-air channel features popular Indian programs and other TV shows dubbed in Arabic.

The show plays on a myth in some parts of the Arab world that Hitler was a kindhearted person inside who was forced to be “strict” in the face of challenges.

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