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 memory capsule of sorts with a saffron flower and chinar leaves in their autumn glory. It is to remind you of our silenced fellow citizens, suffering a new level of uncertainty, pain, and humiliation. It also contains tiny colorful hearts and flowers, symbolizing an embracing of diversity.
[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”4″ display=”basic_slideshow”]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 first of two soaps inspired by Kashmir (the second 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.