R K Laxman, the country’s best-known 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.
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.
Laxman is a recipient of numerous awards. Among them are the Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Magsaysay Award. 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.