A Google Doodle paying homage to famed cartoonist RK Laxman was posted to its landing page on October 24, marking his 94th birth anniversary. The sketch is a black and white one, befitting the beloved creator’s rise to fame through print media. He is also being honored by the setting up a of dedicated website inaugurated by Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis.
In addition to the Google Doodle and online portal, in a twist of irony RK Laxman would have been sure to appreciate, Sir JJ School of Art will be erecting a memorial on its campus to commemorate his genius. This is the same institute that rejected the legend in the 1930s because his drawings did not meet the expected standards.
The company has developed nearly 2000 doodles to celebrate famous days and people till date, including several covering Indian personalities. This particular Google Doodle which pays tribute to the ingenious Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Laxman on his birth anniversary, was visible to users from India only.
The black and white doodle depicted below was designed by Olivia Huynh, who wanted to make sure she captured RK Laxman’s distinctive hairstyle and grin. It depicts his art studio, with his work desk adorning the left side of the drawing and a pile of newspapers and canvases displayed on the right.
The central portion portrays Laxman sitting behind a canvas. He’s seen sketching out an illustration of the Common Man, his best known creation. The character is posing with a newspaper, a subtle callback to its beginning in the daily cartoon strip ‘You Said It’, which was published in the Times of India. Clicking on the doodle leads to a Google search page with information about the artist and his work.
Google sent out a statement explaining why they chose to honor Laxman, saying the Common Man silently exposed society’s inequalities and double standards. Other than his comic, Laxman was also famous for his sketches in the massively popular TV show Malgudi Days, written by his brother RK Narayan.
Laxman was born on 24 October 1921 and started his career as a small-time artist employed by various newspapers and magazines, before moving on to work as a full-time political cartoonist for the Free Press Journal. He has been bestowed with many national and international awards like the Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Ramon Magsaysay Award.
RK Laxman sadly passed away on January 26 2015 from multi-organ failure. His last sketch was tweeted by the Indian space agency a day after his demise. It was a special drawing intended to congratulate the successful Mars mission launch by ISRO. The first and last images are the Google Doodles which did not make it to the search giant’s landing page.