Krishnaswami of Rasipuram Laxman, better known by his pen name R. K. Laxman, was a prominent Indian cartoonist who produced the comic strip “You Said It,” which featured the “Common Man”—a mute spectator who stood in for the typical Indian. The comic strip followed the everyday struggles, goals, and hopes of the typical Indian. The character has delighted generations of Indians over the past few decades and is quite well-liked by the general population in India. Laxman developed a fascination with drawing at a young age and, even before he could read, he enjoyed perusing magazine and newspaper illustrations. As soon as he could, he started sketching, covering the walls and floors of his home with drawings. He quickly came to the conclusion that drawing was his life’s work and began to pursue a profession as an artist. He submitted an application to the J. J. School of Art in Bombay, but it was denied. His first full-time position as a political cartoonist came about after he started working on freelancing projects for newspapers. He chose not to wallow in disappointment. He didn’t join “The Times of India” until much later when he invented the “Common Man,” a figure that every Indian would come to associate with. He has written numerous short tales, essays, and travel articles in addition to being a cartoonist.
Early Childhood & Life
On October 24, 1921, in the residence of a headmaster in Mysore, India, he was born Rasipuram Krishnaswami Laxman. He has one sister in addition to being the youngest of six brothers. He was the older brother of renowned author R. K. Narayan.
He has always loved to sketch and would doodle all over the walls and floors of his home. He would try to reproduce the graphics and drawings in magazines after spending a lot of time studying them.
To the pleasure of his brothers and classmates, he began to caricature his father and teachers as he grew older. Laxman liked to draw the stories his brother Narayan wrote because he was a budding author.
The British cartoonist Sir David Low, whose works frequently appeared in “The Hindu,” greatly influenced him.
He had a wonderful childhood playing with his brothers and exploring the outdoors. Sadly, tragedy struck when his father passed away after having a paralytic stroke. However, he was helped by his large family and was able to continue living.
After graduating from high school and deciding that he wanted to pursue art, he applied to the J. J. School of Art in Bombay. But the art school turned him down, claiming that he lacked the talent to enroll there as a student.
He next enrolled in the University of Mysore, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree before leaving.
The career of R. K. Laxman
He had been providing illustrations to newspapers and publications while still a student. He continued working for himself after receiving his degree and provided drawings for “Swarajya.”
Working as a member of an animation team at Gemini Studios in Madras, he also created the graphics for an animated movie based on the mythological figure of Narada.
Later, he relocated to Bombay to pursue fresh opportunities. He eventually began working for the weekly publication ‘Blitz’ edited by R.K. Karanjia after trying his luck at numerous publications there. This turned out to be his big break, and he quickly rose to fame as a cartoonist.
In 1946, he started working as a political cartoonist for the “Free Press Journal.” Here, he met Bal Thackeray, a fellow cartoonist who would go on to become a well-known politician.
He put a lot of effort into his work and frequently went above and beyond what the pay called for. Every other day, he would produce a political cartoon after working for hours each day. He did, however, depart the newspaper due to some issues with his superiors.
He was hired by “The Times of India” in 1947 on a salary of Rs. 500—a luxurious figure at the time—and is now a well-known cartoonist. The ‘Illustrated Weekly of India’ a children’s magazine initially used his graphics and comic strips.
Despite having a great understanding of politics, his editors weren’t big fans of his political cartoons. But after one of his drawings was published in the “Evening News of India” and accepted positively by the public, they had second thoughts.
His fame as a cartoonist rapidly increased as his drawings began to appear on The Times of India’s top page. In time, he rose to become the paper’s lead political cartoonist.
He developed the concept for the “Common Man”-centered cartoon strip “You Said It” while he was employed with “The Times of India.” The comic strip was sharp and humorous while also being somber and cynical. The Common Man, who stood in for the quiet majority of Indians, was a silent observer of the events taking place in front of him.
In addition to being a cartoonist, he was a writer as well. ‘The Hotel Riviera’ (1988) and ‘The Messenger’ (1993) are a couple of his books. The Distorted Mirror, a compilation of his short tales, essays, and articles, was released in 2003.
Bigger Works of R. K. Laxman
He is most known for creating the “Common Man,” a middle-aged balding man with glasses who served as a representation of the typical Indian. The character was so well-liked that the Indian Postal Service included him on a commemorative postage stamp to mark the 150th anniversary of the “Times of India” in 1988.
Recognition & Achievements
In 1984, he received The Ramon Magsaysay Award in the JLCCA category for journalism, literature, and the creative arts.
He received the Padma Vibhushan in 2005, which is India’s second-highest civilian honor.
Personal Legacy & Life
The marriage between him and Bharatanatyam dancer and actress Kumari Kamala ended in divorce.
Later on, he wed a second time to a Kamala. His second spouse penned children’s books.
He had a stroke in 2003 that left his left side paraplegic. Since having multiple strokes in 2010, he has continued to be unwell. On January 26, 2015, he passed away in Pune at the age of 93.
RK Laxman Net Worth
RK is one of the richest cartoonists & listed as the most popular Cartoonist. According to our analysis, Wikipedia, Forbes & Business Insider, RK Laxman’s net worth is $5 Million.
Crows were the beloved bird of this well-known cartoonist, who in his spare time made countless pictures of them.