RK Laxman – Gentle, Satirical Charm Without Rancour!

A Sad Day for India

An eventful Republic Day for India came to a sad end with the passing away, on the night of January 26, of the country’s most loved cartoonist R K Laxman (94). The daily smile he unfailingly brought on readers of The Times of India for more than 60 years, with his caricatures lending voice to the Aam Aadmi (common man), will be missed.

rklaxman_3No topical issue that deserved a light-hearted ridicule escaped his attention but his cartoons were gentle with the inherent satirical charm making even those he was targeting laugh at them.

TOI’s Most Prized Asset: It will be NO exaggeration to say that without him, The Times of India may not have been where it is today. His “You Said It” pocket cartoons were the daily’s biggest draw, giving its readers a cheerful start to the day amid all the grim reports within. He was without a doubt the newspaper’s most prized asset.

As cartoonist Sudhir Tailang rightly pointed out on Times Now just now, RK Laxman was the first name that would come to a reader’s mind if asked about the newspaper, and not that of its editor.

The same Times Now discussion had another cartoonist, Sudhir Dar, be even more effusive, calling RK Laxman “the Bharat Ratna of India”.

RKLaxman_Nov282006

Of a Different Mould from Charlie Hebdo: This has been a bad month for cartoonists. Some of France’s best-known cartoonists were killed in a brutal attack on Charlie Hebdo by jihadists earlier this month.

But RK Laxman was of a different mould as there was no rancour whatsoever in his creations. His intent was to give a comical touch to serious developments and make people think, not kill!

With just a tiny space in the newspaper, he was able to convey strong messages to make the political establishment sit up and take note of the essence in his masterly strokes and his wit.

US assignmentsHe had India and Indians in his grasp so he could never run out of ideas where no topic was taboo – from politics to terror, business to cinema, corruption to crime!

RK Laxman leaves behind a legacy that the country will be proud of for ever!

Born in Mysore, he was the younger brother of one of the country’s best writers in English, RK Narayan.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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