India

Times of India cartoonist RK Laxman cremated

Security officers carry the body of acclaimed Indian cartoonist R. K. Laxman past a statue of the ‘Common Man’, in Pune, India, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. Image copyright AP
Image caption Security officers carry the body of RK Laxman past a statue of the "Common Man" in Pune

The funeral of legendary Indian cartoonist RK Laxman has been held in the western city of Pune.

The government of the western state of Maharashtra has announced a memorial for the cartoonist, who was cremated with state honours.

Laxman died in hospital of multiple-organ failure, aged 94, on Monday.

He was renowned for chronicling Indian daily life and politics. His daily cartoon appeared in The Times of India for more than 50 years.

He was best known for his iconic "Common Man" character, an eight-foot-tall bronze statue of which was unveiled in Pune in December 2001.

"Laxman was not just a cartoonist. What he said through his cartoons will inspire future governments. Though he is no more, the Common Man he created will live forever," Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, while announcing the memorial for the cartoonist.

Top political leaders and media personalities attended the cremation.

Laxman's daily cartoon in Times of India was known for lampooning political leaders, sparing no-one.

One of those caricatured by Laxman, former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, surprised the cartoonist by ringing him up, not to complain, but to request a signed copy of the cartoon to frame.

In 2005, the government honoured Laxman with the Indian civilian award Padma Vibhushan.

The youngest of six sons, Laxman began drawing as a boy but was turned down to study at Bombay's prestigious Sir JJ School of Art because, it said, he lacked talent.

He began working as a cartoonist in the 1940s, working for The Times of India from 1947 just as the country gained independence from Britain.

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