NEW DELHI | Acclaimed Indian cartoonist R. K. Laxman, creator of the innocuous character the Common Man, who held up a mirror to the absurdity and silliness of Indian politicians, has died of multiple-organ failure, his doctor said. He was 94.
Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Laxman died Monday evening, said Sameer Jog of Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in the western Indian city of Pune.
Laxman’s almost daily Common Man cartoon was a commentary on Indian society and politics that ran in the Times of India newspaper for more than five decades.
He began his career at a number of small newspapers in Mumbai, India’s financial hub, before joining the Times in 1950. Millions of Indians looked forward to his daily “You Said It” cartoon for its pithy observations.
Laxman was born in 1924, the youngest of six sons of a school headmaster, in the southern town of Mysore. Before taking up cartooning, Laxman illustrated the novels of his brother, the well-known Indian novelist, R.K. Narayan.
The Common Man, a meek spectator to the shenanigans of Indian lawmakers and corrupt bureaucrats, was so popular that it spawned a television sitcom that completed 200 episodes.
On Tuesday, most mainstream newspapers in India carried front-page obituaries on Laxman, who with his gentle humor shone a light on the foibles of India’s high and mighty, lampooning the follies of its politicians and sparing no one across the political spectrum.
“India will miss you RK Laxman. We are grateful to you for adding the much needed humor in our lives and always bringing smiles on our faces,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.