With the ongoing clampdown in Kashmir, it is so easy to forget that there are allegedly equal citizens of India who, in today’s age, are without basic communications for months, even as the weather slides into an early winter with a harsh cold wave. In a time when access to the Internet is being seen as a fundamental right, there are those we haven’t heard from since their last messages, over three months ago.
This soap is a complicated one, with many layers and secrets. As the soap gets used, new layers will get revealed and the design will keep changing. Design elements in this soap represent various aspects of Kashmir. White snow and scarlet – threads of saffron to splatters of blood, bright pinks and purples and blues and greens swirling in a manner inspired by Kashmiri embroidery, the beautiful orange-red chinar leaves in autumn, browns from the forest, the chakravyuh…. even the stones acknowledging the impotent rage of the stonepelters are here.
The top of the soap gleams with gold swirls and ruby red dots could be blood or gems in the crown of India.
Each layer brings its own beauty to the fore, and you can watch the slideshow to see what is inside this soap. There are also better descriptions and explanations for the design elements.
[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”5″ display=”basic_thumbnail”]Often, when I make political soaps, I gift them as a token of appreciation to people who do work in public interest. I encourage all to use them rather than preserve them, to make that art a part of their lives. There is art you can see, but not touch. My soaps are supposed to be art you engage with, use. And in using, they remind you of the message they bring.
This is the second of two soaps inspired by Kashmir (the first is here). These soaps are complicated. Like Kashmir. They were tedious and difficult to make with many small details. They are a labour of love. Because what about Kashmir is easy that a soap inspired by it would be?
And it won’t be easy to acquire either. The soaps are expensive and none of these will be gifted to anyone – except perhaps a few Kashmiris. Everyone else must pay if they want them. They cover only partial labour costs for myself.
I think you MUST buy them, but shouldn’t use them till our Kashmiri friends are restored their full rights as fellow human beings – to speak, to express their thoughts as freely as anyone else, to move about as they please without danger of never returning home.
Buy the soap and keep waiting for the day you can finally use it.
Note: a friend uses my soaps as a car freshener – they look beautiful, smell fantastic and provoke conversation. Perhaps this is a good soap for something like that, until we no longer need a reminder to prevent us from forgetting about them and moving on with our lives.
This soap is made primarily from coconut oil. Colors used are mica pigments (cosmetic grade). Accents are with soap clay and melt and pour soap. (SLS free). One side of the soap smells like forest and fresh air. The other smells like apples. This soap should really last very long.