Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Iyer Laxman
Childhood of R K Laxman
R K Laxman (Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Iyer Laxman) youngest boy of his father was borne on the 24th October, 1921 in Mysore, Karnataka State. Laxman's father Krishnaswamy Iyer was a head master. Laxman is younger brother to the famous novelist R K Narayan. Before joining school, he was attracted by the cartoons and used to go through such magazines as Strand, Punch, Bystander, Wide World and Tit-Bits etc. Influenced by these he started drawing on the floor, walls and doors of his house. In the school he used to draw the sketches of his teachers. One of the teachers praised some of his sketches and encouraged him. Then he started drawing of object around him like the twigs, leaves, lizard like creatures crawling about, servant cutting fire wood etc. In his locality cricket tam named as the "Rough and Tough and Jolly" cricket team, Laxman was the captain. Since Laxman had flair of drawing, humor his antics used to influence his novelist brother, Narayan and he had written the stories 'Dodu the money maker' and The Regal cricket club' etc on this inspiration. During his school days his father expired but his elder brothers took up the responsibility of his education.
College education of Laxman
After High school Laxman wanted to study arts from the JJ School of Arts, Bombay and tried for admission. His application was rejected by the college on the reason that the kind of talent does not qualify for admission. So he joined the Maharaja's College, Mysore and graduated from there as Bachelor of Arts. Along with the studies in the college he was doing freelance activities and contributed cartoons to Swarajya. An animation film Narada a mythological character was produced from his cartoons on the subject. Laxman used to illustrate his brother's stories in the Hindu paper. He used to draw political cartoons for the local papers. At that time there was a humor magazine Koravanji founded by one Dr M Shivaram and Laxman used to draw for the magazine.
He worked for few months in the Gemini Studios, Madras. Then he got a full time job of a political cartoonist in the new paper Free Press journal, at Bombay where he was a co employee of Bal Thackeray who became later the leader of Shiva Sena. Later he joined the Times of India and was with them for about 50 years. His cartoon on the front page in the prominent place of Times of India under the caption You Sad It with the common man character.
Other works of R K Laxman
Laxman had illustrated several books especially his brother R K Narayan's Malgudy stories. The Malgudy stories were later made as a serial in the TV by Shankar Nag. He had created the mascot by name Gattu for the Asian Paints which was very popular for quite some time. He has also written few books mainly novels and has written his autobiography by name the Tunnel of Time'. Few of his cartons have in the Hindi film Mr & Mrs 55 and Tamil film Kamaraj. For the Film Fare Magazine he has drawn a cartoon series named The Star I Never Met which contain a cartoon of Kamala Laxman with the title The Star I Only Met.
Honours and Awards
Symbiosis International University for its research and studies in media and communications founded a chair called the R K Laxman Chair in honour of him. This is in respect of the research of leadership and policy formation in media and communication.
Besides he got the following awards
The B D Goenka Award by the Indian Express
Durga Ratan Gold Medal by Hindustan Times
Padma Bhushan by Government of India
Padma Vibhushan by Government of India
The 1984 Ramon Magsaysay Award for journalism, Literature and creative arts.
Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism by CNN IBN in 2008.
Personal Life of R K Laxman
He first married a Bharathanatyam dancer Baby alias Kumari Kamala who later was known as Kamala Laxman. The marriage ended in divorce and Laxman married 2nd time a children's book writer whose name is also Kamala. He lives at Mumbai and Pune by turn. Laxman suffered a stroke in 2003 which paralyzed his left side. He recovered partly from the effect but unfortunately again he had an attack on 20-6-2010 while at Pune and was air ambulanced to Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai. He is steady but affected by the attack. He is undergoing speech therapy. Last week his 90th birthday was celebrated at his Pune residence on the 24-10-2011. Since he is affected by last year's stroke he had to be in wheel chair. His distinguished visitors included noted jurist Ram Jethmalani.
R K Laxman is a cartoonist, illustrator, humorist and writer. He is regarded as India's greatest ever cartoonist. His regular cartoons 'You Said It' with the famous common man character in times of India is an internationally famous feature. His 'Common Man' has attained life like stature due to the inimitable cartoons of its creator R K Laxman. He is an illustrious celebrity from Karnataka who is a living legend with multifarious facets.