27 January 2015

Tributes to RK Laxman, the great cartoonist of India


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R K Laxman was a cartoonist, journalist, illustrator and humorist. For decades, he showed the Indian citizen who we are. He holds some of the highest national and media accolade for his exclusive work on the “The Common Man”. R K Laxman’s great sense of humor gave birth to extensive ingenuity in political satire. Men with like him are rare to find.He was best known for his creation The Common Man, for his daily cartoon strip, "You Said It" in The Times of India, which started in 1951.The stamp issued by India Post  celebrates The Times of India, with the iconic cartoonist R.K.Laxman's "Common Man" .

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India Post released a postage stamp on 13 November 2013 on 175 years of The Times of India,  featuring “ Common Man” cartoon made by RK Laxman .

Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Laxman (24 October 1921 – 26 January 2015) was an Indian cartoonist, illustrator, and humorist, started his career as a part-time cartoonist, working mostly for local newspapers and magazines. While a college student, he illustrated his elder brother R K Narayan's stories in The Hindu. His first full-time job was as a political cartoonist was for the The Free Press Journal in Mumbai. Later, he joined The Times of India, and became famous for Common Man character.

The greatest cartoonist  passed away on the evening of January 26, at the Dinanath Mangeshkar hospital in Pune, where he was on life support for the past few days. He was 93.Born in 1921 in Mysore, Laxman had no formal training in cartooning but the work he put out over decades was sheer genius. He began by drawing for local papers, and illustrating the stories of his famous elder brother, novelist R K Narayan, while still at college.

After stints at various publications and even a film studio after his graduation, he came to Mumbai in the 1940s. After a brief spell at the Free Press Journal, he came to the Times group in 1947 and stayed there for the rest of his glittering career.

The recipient of numerous awards, among them the Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Magsaysay Award, Laxman's fan base ran into millions. He never let them down, drawing two cartoons a day, always brilliant, with consummate ease. His Common Man, created in 1957, was the symbol of India's ordinary people, their trials and tribulations, their little joys and sorrows, and the mess they found themselves in thanks to the political class and bureaucracy. But despite the sobering reality of this, there was never any rancour in Laxman's cartoons. His humour was always delightful, and no one could hold a candle to his brushstrokes.He will always be remembered as the greatest cartoonist of all time.

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