London: A book on the life and works of eminent cartoonist R K Laxman was released here today by the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Nalin Surie, who described him as a "national icon and national genius."
"We grew up on R K Laxman. He is a national icon and a national genius. His cartoons are part satire and part commentary on Indian politics," Surie said.
The book titled ‘R K Laxman: The Uncommon Man’ a collection of works from 1948 to 2008, has been written by Dharmendra Bhandari, who earlier taught at the University of Rajasthan in Jaipur.
Describing Laxman as a close friend, Bhandari added that the book begins with a biographical essay on the cartoonist, followed by a look at Laxman the artist.
"From his beloved Ganesha and crows to other subjects in watercolours, pastels and ink, this book reveals a new side to Laxman," he said.
The book is a beautiful presentation of Laxman`s innovative thoughts during various national and international political situations, A P J Abdul Kalam, former President of India, said in his foreword.
"RK`s cartoons bring smile after smile to each and every one of us. They express his capacity to observe, analyse and convey a message in real time to the common man," he said.
"Laxman is a versatile artist whose cartoons are not only highly informative and educative but also constitute a powerful commentary on the contemporary world. His wit and humour bring smiles on the faces of millions of people everyday," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a message.
"RK laxman`s cartoons speak more than a thousand words," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in his message while Home minister P Chidambaram, described R K Laxman as the "ultimate cartoonist".
"With a few strokes of his brush, he created an iconic character, the common Man," Chidambaram said.
Laxman`s `Common Man` ranks along with many celebrated cartoon characters and the only reason that it has not received worldwide recognition is that his cartoons are not
carried in international newspapers.
Bhandari, who was also a former Advisor to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the securities scam in 1992-93, said a retrospective of Laxman`s work will be held at the Nehru Centre here in September this year.
Lord Navnit Dholakia, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, Baroness Sandip Verma, Baroness Usha Prashar, Sir Gulam Noon were among dignitaries present on the occasion at the Bombay Brassiere.