MUMBAI: Legendary cartoonist R K Laxman, who is best known for the creation of iconic character Common Man, was cremated on Tuesday in Pune with state honours. He passed away on Monday at the age of 94 after a prolonged illness. His body was kept at Symbiosis Institute, which, as a mark of respect to the cartoonist, had erected a statue of the Common Man in December, 2001.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis paid floral tributes on behalf of the state government and announced that a memorial will be built to perpetuate Laxman’s memory.
“He always had something to say through his cartoons. Though he is no more, the Common Man will always be a guiding force for any political regime,” the Chief Minister said.
Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao described Laxman as the most powerful representative of the common man who articulated viewpoints of the silent millions before the powers. Top political leaders including Union Minister of State for Environment Prakash Javadekar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president Raj Thackeray attended the funeral.
Uddhav called Laxman the last ruler of brush. “He took potshots at many with his brush and spared none,” he said. He recalled how his father, the late Bal Thackeray, had good equations with Laxman, his former colleague at Free Press Journal in the 1950s.
Laxman was admitted to the Dinanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Pune on January 17 following multiple organ failure. He was kept on the ventilator for almost a week. Later, the ventilator was removed after he showed signs of progress.
However, he was again put on the ventilator on Monday but his life could not be saved.
He is survived by writer-wife Kamla, journalist-son Shrinivas and daughter-in-law Usha. Laxman was conferred Padma Vibhushan in 2005. He also received Raman Magsaysay Award in 1984. Even though he had suffered a paralytic stroke the same year which immobilised the left side of body, his passion forced him to draw cartoons regularly.