Best of Bharat: The legacy of R K Laxman, one of the finest cartoonists in Indian history

New Delhi: Pictures and pictorials have always formed the platform for the portrayal of thoughts and opinions of general people, which otherwise, cannot get a voice. Cartoons act as icebreakers given the childhood association with humor, happiness, and fun, which in turn unites the audience with the message of the communication.

Many cartoonists have voiced their opinions-be political, social or personal, through their sketchy representation. But among all of them, the name which bluntly hits our mind is none other than RK Laxman’s.

Who is R K Laxman?

Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Laxman was the youngest child in this family. Born in Mysore in the year 1921, he started his career as a part-time cartoonist, working mostly for local newspapers and magazines. His first full-time job was as a political cartoonist for The Free Press Journal in Mumbai.

His works

R K Laxman’s comic strip, “You said it” in Times of India gave birth to the much adored and relatable ‘Common Man’. R.K Laxman’s earliest work was for newspapers Rohan and magazines including Swarajya and Blitz. He drew political cartoons for the local newspapers and for the Swatantra. Laxman also created a popular mascot for the Asian Paints Ltd group called “Gattu” in 1954. His creations also include the sketches drawn for the television adaptation of Malgudi Days.

R K Laxman’s work on rising petrol and diesel prices (Twitter)

In his biography, The Tunnel of Time, R.K. Laxman mentions how he used to derive inspiration by observing the mundane things of life. His art was uncommonly common, through his attention to these details.

R K Laxman’s Achievements

He was honored with The Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1984 in the category Journalism, Literature, and the Creative Communication Arts (JLCCA). In 2005 he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honour. Laxman was also awarded with Padma Bhushan in the year 1973, among others.

The legendary political cartoonist died in Pune on 26 January 2015 at the age of 93.


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