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IN People ON 27 Jan, 2015
My Sketch pen is not a sword, it's my friend
Eminent cartoonist left us on the evening of 26 January, 2015. R.K Laxman leaves for every common man to the mercy of the bemused world. But his legacy will live forever.
He was a silent bystander, who would only draw. He drew to express the plea of every common Indian man.
His satirical illustrations and his contribution in bringing smiles to every face, we will always cherish.
Long Live The Common Man
RIP R.K Laxman.
Not many know that R.K Laxman and R.K Narayan are two sparkling Indian gems who belong to the same family. R.K Laxman was born in 1921 as the youngest of his five brothers to a headmaster father and a house maker mother in Mysore. While he was in college, he would also draw illustrations for R.K Narayan's articles for The Hindu.
He was married to Bharatnatyam dancer and actress, Kamla. Unfortunately, the relationship did not last long. Later, he married his only soulmate who also Mrs. Kamla Laxman. She stood by her side forever. Mrs. Kamla Laxman opened up to The Hindu, after RK Laxman's discharge from the hospital in 2010. "He would have loved to sketch and tell so many stories, he would have so many characters to paint now," she said. After R.K Laxman had come back from the hospital, his one side was under the attack of paralysis. He was unable to draw or speak. While the scams of the commonwealth games were making the news, only Laxman was silent. She says that he was tired of hearing all the bad news. "We are waiting for the good news," she adds with a heavy sigh. To read her interview with the Hindu, click on the link below.
When R.K Laxman came to decide that "Arts" is what he wants to do the rest of his life, he applied to Sir JJ School Of Arts, Mumbai. But he was was refused admission. The letter he received from the dean of the college said,"the kind of talent to qualify for enrollment in our institution as a student." Failures are a part of everyone's life. It is just a matter of time and hard work, believe me your stars will come the right kind of alignment. He then graduated from the University of Mysore.
There is perhaps a vein in every Indian kid, where only the love-for-cricket blood flows. R.K Laxman was no exception to it. He was the team captain of his local team. His team was called 'The Rough Tough and Jolly'.
Sir David Low, was a self-taught political cartoonist, who lived in UK for many years. R.K Laxman was inspired a lot by his work in the field. Many debate on the fact thatR.K Laxman's majority of the cartoons were funny because of that one little statement that he wrote below. Otherwise, they would be just ordinary illustrations. While David Low's cartoons would speak for themselves. Evident enough, this was not true.
When kids won't even speak, he began reading and whooping on the illustrations of the Strand Magazine, Bystander, Wide World and Tit-Bits.
For more than 60 years, he worked with the Times Of India. The daily cartoon strip called, 'You Said It' started in the year 1951. Till yesterday R.K Laxman was, Times Of India's highest paid employee.
Above is R.K Laxman's self-portrait, sketching the Common Man. It was time when workload on R.K Laxman was increasing day by day. In order to meet deadlines, the background characters from his cartoons were vanishing. So he came up with the idea of The Common Man. The man who will represent the aspirations, dreams and pleas of every Indian.
On the 150th anniversary of the Times Of India, a commemorative postal stamp featuring the common man was released in the year 1988. A huge 10 feet statue of the Common Man stands upright in Symbiosis Institute, Pune.
R.K Laxman worked in The Free Press Journal at the start of his career while he was also muddling his way through to became the greatest Indian Legend. At the same time, Balasaheb Thackeray also worked there for a brief period as a cartoonist. They were colleagues. Their friendship is an exemplary example of two powerful people who chose to be there for each other. October 12, 2012 India celebrated R.K Laxman's 91st birthday. Balasaheb Thackeray sent his warm greetings to his friend. Back in 2010 when R.K Laxman was taken to the hospital, pertaining to his chronic illness, Bal Thackeray came to visit him. These pictures speak for themselves here. Their friendship was for a Lifetime.
ISRO paid its heartfelt tribute to the great cartoonist Mr. R.K. Laxman by posting his last cartoon that he sent them, on the historical success of Mission Mars. His last work called, "common man reaching Mars", was posted on ISRO's Facebook and Twitter pages. We owe so much to this great man.