Iconic cartoonist RK Laxman, the creator of the Common Man series, is no more. The 94-year-old cartoonist died in a Pune hospital, where he was admitted. His condition had worsened following which he was put on a ventilator. Laxman had other underlying medical conditions like diabetes and hypertension and had suffered a stroke some years ago.
Laxman was famous for his 'You Said It' pocket cartoon in The Times of India featuring the much-loved 'common man'. Born in Mysore, Laxman had a headmaster father and was the youngest of six sons. His elder brother is the famous novelist R K Narayan. Laxman was fascinated by the illustrations in The Strand Magazine, Punch, Bystander, Wide World and Tit-Bits, even before he could read a word. Very soon, he was drawing on his own, on the floors, walls and doors of his house and making the caricatures of his teachers in school. Praised by a teacher for his drawing, he began to think of himself as an artist in the making. Laxman'ss autobiography is titled The Tunnel of Time.
Another early influence on him was the cartoons of the renowned British cartoonist, Sir David Low in The Hindu. After high school, Laxman applied to the J J School of Art in Bombay to focuse on drawing and painting, but the dean of the school told him that he lacked talent to qualify for enrollment and was refused admission. He finally graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Mysore. In the meantime, he continued his freelance artistic activities and contributed cartoons to Swarajya. RIP.