Afghan Sis

Smitha Bhandare Kamat
Posted October 24, 2021 from India
Afghanistan 1
Afghanistan 1: Guns people play (1/4)

Cartooning and women in Afghanistan  It’s 15th of August 2021, we are celebrating the Independence Day in India.  As the day evolves  I sink in the warm comfort of my bean bag and switch on the idiot box.  Taliban has taken control of Kabul is the highlight of the day,  every possible channel as also all  forms of media chant the same. Visibly agitated by the developments  I sit there undecided. In the  days to follow the media  shares disturbing  visuals and commentaries depicting existential crisis, despair, death and more.  Being a member of global cartoonists family, many requests pour in for submission of  cartoon especially in the context of women in Afghanistan. For days together I watch, read, hear about the developments in a far off land of Afghanistan. I neither draw nor write. It’s like I have self muted.Too numbed to react or respond I just continue to devour the disturbing happenings. It’s almost a week unpredictably I find myself out of the blue, drawing about women in Afghanistan. In one go I draw a couple of  cartoons and I hastily share it and submit it to various fora.  As I draw, subconsciously, I  experience a faint sense of unease, the Charles Hebdo issue, the murder of French teacher Samuel Paty, and even as I pen this article, the gunning done of a lone wolf who went on a stabbing spree in New Zealand, sends chill down my spine. I’m uncertain as to who may take offence of my work.   But, I’m committed to my fraternity in particular and to humanity at large.  Cartoons play an important and responsible role. It’s not a random, fancy doodle to be brushed aside thoughtlessly. Cartooning, involves a preliminary study of the subject at hand to ensure the final work is unbiased, sans  personal prejudices and reflection of contemporary times  in a  true and just manner. Cartoons  facilitate  re -conceptualisation of events, identifying the absurdity and futility of happenings and if possible working out probable solutions. The power of cartoons certainly cannot be undermined. Cartoons drawn here in the Afghan context, are less about ridiculing and more about  creating awareness and drawing  attention to the complex socio-political developments and the resultant violence and violation particularly highlighting pathetic conditions of women and children. 

Undoubtedly, time and again we find ourselves in troubling and challenging times. Yet, the bottom line is-' it’s peace, freedom and a life of dignity' ,  that we all inherently aspire. A trait that cuts across all geopolitical and other forms of barriers. Cartoon is a mere reminder of  this truth. it’s a double edged sword that needs to be employed cautiously more for healing rather than wounding. I would conclude with the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson       "Peace cannot be achieved through violence; it can only be attained through understanding." (Excerpts from Indiatoons Oct/ Nov 2021)

This story was submitted in response to Healing through Art.

Comments 6

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Tamarack Verrall
Oct 24, 2021
Oct 24, 2021

Dear Smitha,
Political cartooning is a powerful medium, and these drawings of yours show just how true that is. It is no wonder that you were unable to draw right after the world was shocked with the wave of news that our sisters in Afghanistan are under lock, key and threat of death. Despite the shock you have found your way to action, as we all must, never letting go for a moment that this newly enforced imprisonment and punishments must be kept forward in every action we can make, in solidarity with our sisters there. You have healed the wound that held back your creative courage, an inspiration to us all.

Kamakshi Kamat
Nov 28, 2021
Nov 28, 2021

Thank you for your words of encouragement

megsmueller
Oct 25, 2021
Oct 25, 2021

Greetings Smitha. Your art is a helpful tool for so many voiceless women who are suffering under the hand of government and politics. It's a reminder of what was fought for. I also like the balance - playful, yet dignifying. Keep on sharing please.

Much love to you

Kamakshi Kamat
Nov 28, 2021
Nov 28, 2021

Thank you for your words of encouragement

Rahmana Karuna
Oct 28, 2021
Oct 28, 2021

Thank you Smitha for the courage to share your radical artwork with us. the symbolism is strong. bittersweet of finding one's creativity flow, yet for such sad conditions.

Kamakshi Kamat
Nov 28, 2021
Nov 28, 2021

Thank you for your words of encouragement