Indian Institute of Cartoonist  

R. K. Laxman the veteran cartoonist was felicitated by the chief minister S. M. Krishna for his lifetime achievement in the field of cartooning on Thursday here.

Speaking at a felicitation function organized by the Indian Institute of Cartoonists, in collaboration with the state information department, Mr. Krishna said that R. K. Laxman is known wherever the English language is read and understood. He said “Any person who picks up Times of India in the morning would want to look into Laxman's cartoon first.

Mr. Krishna thanked Mr. Laxman for accepting the award, as he had rejected several such awards in the past.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Laxman advised fathers of young children not to take up cartooning as a profession.

"Searching for new ideas is an endless process. You have to come up with new and innovative idea each day," said the veteran cartoonist who has been in the profession for the past 54 years.

"I isolate myself for at least 6 hours each day. I neither speak nor listen to any one during that time," he said.

Speaking about cartooning, he said that one has to be satisfied with the work he does.

"You work for yourself, not for anybody else. It is more important that you are satisfied with your own work," the cartoonist pointed out.

Speaking about how technology has taken over, he said that he was amazed at the way at which technology had entered the field of cartooning, his cartoons were sent to different places with just a push of a button.

The Asian Age



Noted cartoonist R. K. Laxman today shared his experiences as a cartoonist observing that it was six hours of toil everyday for the last 54 years.

"It is a desperate time till you get idea and I see nobody, hear nobody, and speak to nobody during those hours" he said, adding that at the end of the day, he enjoyed it.

Mr. Laxman was felicitated for his lifetime achievement in the field of cartooning by the Indian Institute of Cartoonists at a function here. Chief Minister S. M. Krishna honoured Laxman in the presence of leading cartoonists from South India including Kerala. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Mr. Laxman said it was a pleasure to create cartoons. "I enjoy it. Without it I would have been lost."

He traced his career as a cartoonist from the time he was young, when he took to drawing. "I used to illustrate my brother's (R. K. Narayana's) short stories from a very young age," he said.

He said he gets away from the pressures of cartooning by drawing the crow, which is his favourite bird. "The crow is an intelligent bird and Indian folklore is full of stories of the crow." Mr. Laxman also expressed his love for drawing the icon of Ganesha which he sees in stones, hills, on banyan trees, seeds and clouds.

Cartooning needs visual sensitivity and observation which is lacking today, because of the onslaught of television and computers he added. Mr. Krishna noted how effectively Laxman depicted sensitive issues in the society in his cartoons and had left his own stamp in society. Earlier former Chief Secretary T. P. Issar said Laxman's 'common man'' represented by the countless millions in the country.

Deccan Herald – 15th February 2002

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Beyond that veneer of humour and masterly wit, eminent cartoonist and creator of the "Common Man" R. K. Laxman have concern for the man on the street, the one threatened by a scourge called terrorism. "Terrorism has become the order of the day," he bemoaned as he drew verbal caricatures of the Indian Society, his life, and his favourite victims, the politicians.

In Bangalore to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award instituted by the Indian Institute of Cartoonists, Mr. Laxman was at his incisive best. "The 'Common Man' has not changed in the last five decades, and will not change, If he does, then he will become a terrorist. He remains the same, and has not spoken a word. Quietly watching the world, he represents the silent majority of India, who have no voice," the creator turned narrator as he spoke at length to presspersons here on Wednesday.

India, according to Mr. Laxman, has a great deal of humour. "You see a beggar laughing, even when he is starving. But other countries have lost this sense of humour. Britain, which started the art of caricature, is today very poor in its humour. Magazines like Punch have folded up."

Mr. Laxman, who once relished caricaturing politicians of the likes of Nehru, Morarji Desai and Indira Gandhi, found no personality in today's politicians. "They all look the same today," he quipped. But there were exceptions, Laloo Prasad Yadav and Jayalalitha.

Getting personal Mr. Laxman turned to his crow the most intelligent bird, in his view. "The crow is the only bird I can watch. Others are plain dull. The crow, research has proved, can even count up to seven.

On the art of cartooning itself. Mr. Laxman knew the limits.

Asked whether the cartoonists have a "Lakshman Rekha," Mr. Laxman was positive. "Yes, you do not make fun of people who are physically handicapped." A good cartoonist he said, was one who observed and spotted the contradictions and paradoxes in human situations.

Back to terrorism, he recalled the terror tactics of some of his readers. "One fellow came with acid to throw at me once. The police were called to defuse it. Some have written to kill me.

Once I was dragged to court because my cartoon offended the sentiments of a community," he went down memory lane.

The Hindu – 14th Februray 2002

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Eminent cartoonist, R. K. Laxman, was on Thursday honoured with a Life Time Achievement Award by the Indian Institute of Cartoonists here.

The award was presented by the Chief Minister S. M. Krishna . Mr. Laxman chose the occasion to focus on his work, the ideation process of his work, the ideation process of his cartoons, the travails of finding matter for that pocket cartoon on the morning newspaper everyday for the last 54 years. “It takes about six hours to formulate an idea. God knows where the idea comes from,” he told a packed audience.

“From 8.30 in the morning till you get that one idea, it is a desperate moment. You search the television, the newspapers, to see where you are.” Mr. Laxman, the creator of the “Common Man” was revealing his little secret of creation.

He thanked his parents for what he was today. They did not come in my way. They were extremely understanding. And I made use of the opportunities that came my way. I used to illustrate my brother’s short stories,” he said.

Back to his old obsession of the crow, Mr. Laxman was once more all praise for the bird’s intelligence. “At a very young age, I started looking at them. I would paint them, exhibit, some even sold for Rs. 10,000/- a crow.”

To his favourite list, he added the Ganesha icon too. “I see Ganesha in all sorts of hard things. When I look at a mountain or a stone, a little imagination gives me the picture,” he said.

Mr. Krishna said Mr. Laxman had left his own stamp in society. One could find very few people like him who had worked in the same newspaper for 50 years, he noted.

Mr. Krishna was surprised that the veteran cartoonist accepted the award. “He must have been in a weak moment,” he put it jocularly, referring to Mr. Laxman's aversion to honours

The Hindu – 14th Februray 2002

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His admirer sent him Rs 3 by Money Order whenever he liked his cartoons. The cartoonist was thrilled. He said this in his biography, “The Tunnel of Time.”

“Our Politicians are so bad that If I was not a cartoonist, I would have committed suicide,” R. K. Laxman said, in another context.

The same caricaturist who finds his job “a pain from 8.30 am till time I get an idea” thanks to politicians. He called Laloo Prasad, “Fodder of India”. “My visit to Europe was an utter failure. I must go there again,” declares a happy Minister, in one of his pocket-cartoons.

The Indian Institute of Cartoonists felicitated Dr. R. K. Laxman on Thursday, with a life-time achievement. The formal Chief Minister, broke his rules for once, and added a humourous touch to his speech.

He thanked the creator of Common man, for accepting the award. “He does not usually accept awards. I guess he accepted it in one of his weak moments.” He said.

“No image was ever erected for a critic, but it has been for Laxman,” said humourist A. R. Mitra. A bronze image of the Common Man, Laxman's celebrated character has been put up at the Symbiosis International Institute.

Laxman however, did not even spare the organizers. “This microphone is too poor.” There is each in the hall. I did not understand what the others said. That saves me. I am sure speak too,” he said. His advice to the future generation. ‘Do not encourage your children to become cartoonists. Cartooning is a pain.

Laxman attributes everything to destiny. All eager to retire, he says, “I have applied for retirement. They have not agreed. Modern technology has come in the way.”

Crows and Ganesha fascinate him. ‘I went to Washington's scientific institute, which declared that the crow was the most intelligent bird.” He spoke of his love for Lord Ganesha and said he found Ganesha in “all things.” He went on to sketch Ganesha for the audience.

Express News Service – 14th February 2002

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A foreign dignitary on his way back from India found a minister following him up the stairs of the plane. “When I invited you to visit my country, I did not expect you to accept the invitation so soon,” is the pithy quip the minister got. No one could have typified Indian politicians better than cartoonist R. K. Laxman.

Yet Laxman, who graduated from Maharaja's College in Mysore, had this to say to the youth; “My advice to youngsters and their parents particularly, is not to encourage them to become cartoonist “Hardly what you would expect him to say. But his passion for cartooning could not be contained as he immediately spoke of the pleasure of having created a cartoon at the end of a grueling day “It's a challenge to yourself not a job you can laugh through.”

"The agony, pain and ecstacy" of crating a cartoon lives on in him. And at the end of the day, what drives him on to the morrow? “I owe it to the work of cartooning that I must do it.”

"I didn't plan any of these things. It happened. It's destiny," was how he summed up his entry into the world of cartooning.

A proud congregation gave the Mysorean a standing ovation when the Indian Institute of Cartoonists presented him its Lifetime Achievement Award Chief Minister S.M. Krishna felicitated Laxman and thanked him for accepting the award and the invitation to visit Bangalore.

Humourist A. R. Mitra credited Laxman with writing poetry with his lines. “When a verbal balloon gets bloated, it should be touched with the needle of truth, and that's what Laxman has been doing.”

Interspersed with extracts from his autography The Tunnel of Time, it was a time of memories for the many of his “Vintage,” as former Chief Secretary T. P. Issar put it. Friends and cartoonist recalled Laxman's memorable creations like “Fodder of the nation” (Laloo Yadav). Another was the cartoon of a politician who tells journalists after a visit abroad. “My visit was a failure. I will have to go there again.”

Laxman has even received Rs. 3 from an admirer for every cartoon he thoughts as ‘worthy'. People have simple ways of appreciating his effort. But at the end of the day, it was difficult for everyone to capture in words the ‘Man of Lines'.


“I wish I had more time for writing” rues Laxman. The man from Mysore will visit his hometown to see Chamundi Hills, take pictures and go to his school to look for his name he had engraved on the desk.

Bangaloreans heard and saw Laxman talking passionately about his first love crows, "I get away from every thing by drawing crows." He loves its colour voice and activity, "Without Knowing, I started liking the crow."

“Observing today is zero thanks to the computer,” he regretted. Then he described how one could see his second love, the icon of Ganesha, everywhere if only they observed.

Times News Network

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