Now read `R K Laxman - The Uncommon Man`

Updated: Aug 05, 2009, 10:34 AM IST

Mumbai: If newspapers are the sentinels of democracy, cartoonists are the torch-bearers of freedom of speech and expression, Maharashtra Governor SC Jamir said Tuesday while releasing the biography of RK Laxman, revered by all for his creation - The Common Man.

The 300-page biography - "R K Laxman - The Uncommon Man" - has been penned by Rajasthan professor Dharmendra Bhandari, a close family friend of over 25 years of the Laxmans.

Jamir said even the greatest of dictators, let alone democratic governments, feared the invisible political cartoonist and his/her satirical strokes that mould public opinion and enabled the ordinary people understand the most complex issues in a simple manner.

Calling him the "David Low of India", Jamir said Laxman through his simple strokes can explain in one frame what a thousand written words could not.

The governor, dwelling on the decreasing importance of cartoons in the modern media, urged the media that they be restored to their original prominence in newspapers and magazines.

Jamir said with the advent of media technology, it is time for the cartoonists to explore newer ways to showcase their work and reach out to the youthful audiences.

In this context, he expressed the need for setting up a grand gallery in Mumbai to permanently display the creations of great cartoonists like Laxman for public viewing.

Author Bhandari told IANS: "Apart from his works from 1948 till 2008, a career of 60 years, I have given some unknown facets about the great cartoonist."

Bhandari said it took him a year to pen the tribute to the ailing 85-year-old cartoonist who is still visible in The Times of India daily.

Present on the occasion were the governor`s wife Alemla Jamir, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, chairperson of Harmony Art Foundation Tina Ambani, Laxman and his wife Kamala and other prominent dignitaries and invitees from the city.