The Crotchet’s Corner

My perspective about all things inconsequential

You said it …

When he applied to the JJ School of Arts, Bombay, hoping to embark on a career based on his major interests of drawing and painting, he was rejected (according to the Dean) on the grounds that his drawings lacked, “the kind of talent to qualify for enrollment in our institution as a student”.

This student – RK Laxman – was to go on to become one of India’s most well known cartoonists.

Laxman’s comic strip “You Said It” graced the front page of The Times of India for over fifty years, and was one part of the front page that was almost always viewed first when the newspaper was opened each morning. It featured Laxman’s creation – the Common Man, who silently and resignedly observed his country being forced to endure indignities inflicted by scheming politicians, greedy bureaucrats and assorted other characters. The Common Man represented the hopes, aspirations, and spirit of the average Indian. He watched how people survived each day as they traversed the complexities of life.

Laxman’s incisiveness, sharp wit and skills as a satirist ensured that he spared no one.

There used to be two small boxes on the front page of the paper – one was Laxman’s cartoon, and the other was the “Late News” box. I recall Laxman, in an interview, describe how he used to occasionally struggle for ideas for the next day’s cartoon, and used to have the paper’s editor pass by late in the evening, as it came close to sending the next day’s edition to the press, to say that there were two spaces yet unfilled.

And, when the readers opened their newspapers the next morning, there was only one empty space – the “Late News” box.

The Common Man would be there, as he had been for decades.



September 13, 2011 - Posted by | About this and that, Human Behavior, Politics | , , ,

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