We have two posts on Calicut Soap Factory: the first one about how the Viceroy of India was being supplied with soaps made in Calicut and another one on Raja Ravi Varma and the soap factory.
While commenting on the second post, our friend and benefactor Jaypee wrote about the founder and managing Director of the Kerala Soaps Institute : MD Mr A K Menon was referred as "soap menon" by people of Calicut.
Ever since, we have been looking for information on this 'soap Menon'. At last, we found him almost hiding behind many illustrious names of the famous Chittoor Ambat family. The following information is from the blog http://manojambat.tripod.com/ambat.htm and we acknowledge our gratitude to the blogger:
|A.K. Menon |
Can Calicut forget the contributions made by this great man? Apart from Kerala Soaps, he was apparently the brain behind the shark liver oil which was once being produced and exported from the KSI. The unit was then known as the Kerala Soaps and Oils. Those who grew up in the early 1950s would remember the tangy taste of the shark liver oil from KSOL which was a compulsory item for the growing kids, called (somewhat crudely in Malayalam) meenenna (fish oil). Subsequently, the company introduced sophistication by making capsules and even a tonic to compete with Alembic's Sharkoferrol. Apart from this, the factory also produced vanaspatis named Vimala and Sudha.
We do hope the new management of Kerala Soaps will honour the contributions of this self-effacing soul who gave so much not only for KSI but for the sandal based soap making which was his invention. They should join hands with companies like Wipro (who make sandal based soap and talc) to commemorate this pioneer who successfully showed that sandal wood oil can be used in soap manufacturing - a technology that Mysore learnt from Calicut.