Somehow, the dignity that this caricature of the Indian common man, a descendant of a particular type of Indian, saved the Indian politician from quite a few whiplashes (certainly not blushes) from the elite due to the 'sophisticated' feel of a 'witty' window that R K Laxman provided of the plight of the poor to many elite Indians,
It is well-known that art, music and musicians, theater and artistes, too, have served as arms of governance and kingdoms and often reflect, in hindsight, the quality, nature and concern towards the populace and R K Laxman served as one such artiste - an artiste that chanced to be 'available' for a certain segment of Indians to serve a certain purpose in the most opportune way - to execute a certain 'technique' that probably later became misconstrued into an 'ideology'.
Maybe, the Congress Party of today can take a hint here and mend its ways ('ideology' is a laughable term, really) that the 'poor' are not some cartoon caricatures to give support to (with 'gareebi ki ladaai hamaari ladai' - 'the fight of the poor is our fight' etc slogans) but humans, who really need help due to years of exploitation and a 'happy-go-lucky' India Inc that 'felt good' in the delightful 'Common Man' and the naivete with which he looked around him that assured them that it was not their fault if they were richer, unless the Congress Party still fools itself with 'tradition', 'dignity', 'honor' etc.
|What could have been the last cartoon of R K Laxman. All he had to do was change the '50' years to '66' and the message would still be original.|
The works of R K Laxman with the Common Man as his chief protagonist, is an eloquence in simplicity that thousands of words could not convey, a powerful dialogue, where the 'hero' is always a silent spectator, the silence that conveyed, with a few sketches, years of governance and a dispassionate but witty commentary on public welfare.
The Common Man, alas, remains unnumbered yet alone, helpless but content, concerned but unmoved, poor yet happy, sad but never weeping, unsuccessful yet accomplished
and now, with the passing away of his creator, remains betrayed yet loyal by and to a great cartoonist - R K Laxman.