Harold Jaffe’s Dispatches from India – December 1, 2015

Hindus & Jews

After the Warsaw uprising, reporters attempted to interview two of
the Jewish insurgents who survived and were moving to Israel.
The two fighters were so enraged—with a furious cold rage—that
they looked through the reporters without uttering a word.

After the Holocaust, surviving European Jews moving to Israel
underwent what can be called an accelerated Social Darwinism from
a mostly selfless social mindedness to what many of us have
witnessed with distress in Israel.

Sitting in a rare Hindu-owned bar in Varanasi sipping Kingfisher and
looking at flat-screen Bollywood fantasies, I see round-faced Indian
men with mustaches posing as iron-jawed heroes and villains.
I imagine them as children, middle-class, coddled by their parents.

I watch them in real time, often thin with stick-out tummies, round
faces, waggling their heads, gesturing with their hands, but not in
the decisively “masculine” way that southern Italian males gesture
with their hands.

Primarily it is the Punjabi Sikhs who have the stern features of
warriors, tested fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Indian in
principle but also separate, always close to secession.

The hungry, invisible Indian low-castes are gaunt and blackened but
not hardened as African slaves like Nate Turner had to become and,
later, Malcolm X, with his intelligent, enraged, cut features.

Am I suggesting that surviving European Jews had to become
harder to endure?
Yes, though like the surviving Warsaw Ghetto fighters, not like their
European genociders.
Not, that is, at the expense of suffering brother and sister
Another fatal irony of history.

Am I suggesting that Hindus have to become hardened to win a war
No longer.
War in the new millennium is increasingly fought online with deadly
algorithms, and middle-class Indians are expert at electronics.

Previously, states like Israel and India maintained well-equipped,
rigidly organized armies and warred, with variable success, strictly
off-line via a traditional, Euclidian–so to speak–perspective.
That centralized perspective has been put under erasure.
Torqued, ruptured, pulverized.

Now an electronic nerd will often make a better “warrior” than the
fierce survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Think of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.

I wish, though, that the Untouchables and Indian low castes, who
can’t afford high-level technology, were fierce-minded like the
Warsaw Ghetto warriors and insurgent African slaves, instead of
passively devotional, so they could fight old school in real time for
equal status.