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


New Delhi: Images and pictures have always been the basis for representing the thoughts and opinions of ordinary people, which would otherwise not be voiced. Cartoons act as ice breakers as they are associated with childhood humor, happiness and fun, which unites the audience with the message of communication.

Many cartoonists voiced their opinions, be they political, social or personal, through their sketchy depictions. But among these, the name that immediately comes to mind is none other than that of RK Laxman.

Who is RK Laxman?

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

His works

RK Laxman’s comic ‘You Said’ in the Times of India gave birth to the much adored and relatable ‘Common Man’. RK Laxman’s earliest work was for Rohan newspapers and magazines including Swarajya and Blitz. He drew political cartoons for local newspapers and Swatantra. Laxman also created the popular mascot of the Asian Paints Ltd group in 1954 called ‘Gattu’. His works include sketches for the television adaptation of Malgudi Days.

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

In his biography Tunnel of Time, RK Laxman mentions how he got inspiration from observing the mundane things in life. His art was unusually common in his attention to these details.

Results of RK Laxman

In 1984, he was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts (JLCCA). In 2005, he received the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award. Laxman also received the Padma Bhushan award in 1973, among others.

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

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