@Creator of 'the Common Man", Birthday and Childhood
R. K. Laxman born at
He was once married to Bharatanatyam dancer and film actress Kumari Kamala but the marriage ended in divorce.
He later remarried another woman, also named Kamala. His second wife wrote books for children.
He suffered a stroke in 2003 which left him paralyzed on his left side. He suffered multiple strokes since 2010 and was keeping in ill health since then. He died in Pune on 26 January 2015 at the age of 93.
He was born as Rasipuram Krishnaswami Laxman on October 24, 1921 in Mysore, India, at the home of a headmaster. He was the youngest of six brothers and also had one sister. The famous writer, R. K Narayan was his elder brother
He loved to draw from a young age and would cover the floors and walls of his house with doodles. He spent a lot of time observing the drawings and illustrations in the magazines and would try to copy them.
As he grew up he started drawing caricatures of his father and teachers, much to the amusement of his siblings and classmates. One of his brothers, Narayan was a budding writer and Laxman used to illustrate the stories his brother wrote.
He was highly impressed by the works of the British cartoonist Sir David Low whose works often appeared in ‘The Hindu’.
He enjoyed an idyllic childhood, playing with his brothers and observing nature. Unfortunately tragedy struck when his father suffered a paralytic stroke and died. However, he received the support of his extended family and could carry on his life.
Even as a student he had started contributing illustrations to newspapers and magazines. After graduation he continued his freelance work and contributed cartoons to ‘Swarajya’.
He also drew illustrations for an animated film based on the mythological character Narada, working as a part of an animated film unit at Gemini Studios in Madras.
He then moved to Bombay to explore newer avenues. There he tried his luck at several newspapers and finally started working for R.K. Karanjia’s weekly publication, ‘Blitz’. This proved to be his first break and he soon became popular as a cartoonist.
In 1946 he joined the ‘Free Press Journal’ as a political cartoonist. It was here that he met fellow cartoonist Bal Thackeray who would eventually become a famous politician in future.
He worked very hard at his job, and often did more than what the salary justified. He toiled for hours each day and produced a political cartoon every other day. However, some differences with his bosses made him leave the publication.
He is best remembered as the creator of the “Common Man”, a balding, bespectacled middle-aged man dressed in a simple dhoti who represented the average Indian. The character was so popular that he was even featured in a commemorative postage stamp released by the Indian Postal Service on the 150th anniversary of the ‘Times of India’ in 1988.