Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Laxman was an Indian cartoonist, illustrator, and humorist. He was best known for his creation The Common Man and for his daily cartoon strip, “You Said It” in The Times of India, which started in 1951.
Laxman was the youngest of seven siblings, and he developed an affinity for drawing at an early age. While at Maharaja’s College in Mysore, he illustrated his elder brother’s stories in The Hindu newspaper. He subsequently turned to political cartoons, which he drew for local newspapers.
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.
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.
Always looking for the contradictions that make life unpredictable and reveling in absurd juxtapositions, Laxman embellishes his canvas with a keen sense of humour and the satirist’s ability to take a whimsical, cock-eyed look at just about anything under the sun.
Calling him the Times of India’s “mascot”, Outlook magazine in a profile said: “[He pours] gentle but relentless derision on all governments, all parties, all figures presumptuous enough to sit in positions of authority. Go through the published volumes of his cartoons and you realise that if Laxman has any affiliation, it’s with his anti-hero protagonist who looks a little bit like all of us.”
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