The legendary cartoonist Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Laxman (R.K. Laxman) was best known for his creation The Common Man. Born on 24 October 1924, he was widely regarded as India’s greatest cartoonist ever.
Laxman had seven siblings and his father was a teacher at a local school. Being inspired by the cartoons that appeared in renowned magazines like Punch, he started drawing everything that caught his attention.
Laxman graduated from the University of Mysore and began his career with the magazines like Swarajya and Blitz. His elder brother R.K. Narayan was a famous English novelist. He illustrated his elder brother R.K. Narayan’s stories in ‘The Hindu’. He started off as a political cartoonist for ‘The Free Press Journal’, before joining ‘The Times of India’, with which he remained associated for over fifty years. His cartoon strip “You Said It”, which featured ‘The Common Man’, attained the cult status. He created the popular mascot for the Asian Paints Group called Gattu, and also authored several books.
Besides the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan (1971) and the Padma Vibhushan (2002) by the Indian government. He was also awarded a doctorate by the University of Mysore in 2005.
R.K. Laxman suffered multiple strokes after June 2010. He was hospitalised in Pune for a few days on account of urinary infection and chest-related problems, leading to multiple organ failure and ultimately his death on 26 January 2015, at the age of 93.