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100 years of RK Laxman4 min read

October 18, 2020 3 min read

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100 years of RK Laxman4 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Long before illustrations and cartoons went digital, there were showcased in newspapers and magazines. And if you’re interested in the art of cartooning, the one name you must know is RK Laxman’s. Laxman, who received a Padma Vibhushan – the second-highest civilian award in India – in 2015 for his contributions to the world of art and journalism, died in 2015 after a long and illustrious career.

RK Laxman in front of his iconic character The Common Man. Pic: Britanicca

Now, till October 24, the iconic cartoonist’s work can be relived through an online tribute to him in what would’ve been his 100th year! The Indian Institute of Cartoonists in Bengaluru is uploading a selection of Laxman’s works every day onto its social media handles for viewers to see.

You can catch the show on Catch the show on Twitter @CartoonistsInd, on Facebook at (facebook.com/IIC4u) and on Instagram (venkatesh.narendra). But before that, let’s learn a little more about the legend.

‘Man behind The Common Man’

Born in Mysuru, Karnataka, on October 24, Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Laxman is best known for his creation ‘The Common Man’, a character he created to represent the average Indian. The Common Man appeared in his daily comic strip ‘You Said It’, which appeared in the newspaper The Times of India starting all the way back in 1951!

The cover of Malgudi Days, a book written by RK Narayan and illustrated
by RK Laxman. Pic: Pinterest

Laxman started his career as a part-time cartoonist for local magazines and newspaper, and also illustrated stories for his oldest brother RK Narayan, the famous writer who wrote Malgudi Days, Swamy and Friends, and other wonderful tales that are must-reads! What pushed him to fame was The Common Man, a character he continued to draw for fifty years! The Common Man did not say anything in the strips – he would observe what was happening around him and represent the troubles and triumphs of Indians.

“I drew objects that caught my eye outside the window of my room – the dry twigs, leaves and lizard-like creatures crawling about, the servant chopping firewood and, of course, and number of crows in various postures on the rooftops of the buildings opposite”

— R. K. Laxman

Here are some of his most famous cartoons: