October 2, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Essay: Stench by Suman Rawal

2 min read

The essay by Suman Rawal focuses on ‘Disgust’ as a mandatory factor, as and when people advocate for justice and fight the everyday inequalities. The sense of disgust, for example, from the stench of the burning dead bodies is the peak point of recognising a certain degree of injustice. 

  It is important to be disgusted

  The stench from the dead bodies and injustices

            Close your eyes for a minute, I want you to visualise a scene from the movie, Schindler’s List, directed by Steven Spielberg. The scene where Oskar Schindler puts a handkerchief on his face, as he gets disgusted by the smoke coming out from the burning dead bodies of the Polish Jews. Moments later he also spots the dead body of the beautiful girl in the red coat, who he had earlier noticed among the many other Jews, walking in fear of the Nazi persecution. The outcome of the liquidation of Kraków ghetto was this huge pile of dead bodies, burning and stinking as Oskar Schindler put his handkerchief on. This was the stench from the late 1930s to mid-1940s which disgusts Schindler, or what can be called the stench of antisemitism. However, the disgust from the stench of dead bodies is transformed into something life-changing, as something which compels him to remove his handkerchief when the corpse of the “girl in the red coat” arrives for the final elimination.

Now, imagine this red coat that the girl wore, in the scene, as the red blood which covers your body when you are dying from antisemitism. Are you disgusted now? Will you be able to transform your disgust into a strong call against the injustices done? Let me add a little bit more to your disgusting experience of antisemitism.

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