Overview for Brushing Up the Years: A Cartoonist's History of India 1947-2004
From 1947, throughout the entire history of independent India, R.K. Laxman's cartoons have appeared regularly in The Times of India, commenting on every possible aspect of Indiaâ€™s social and political life. Some years ago, Time magazine called R.K. Laxman 'the country's sharpest cartoonist and political satirist'. For many Indians, however, Laxman is much more. His daily cartoons, with their whimsical, idiosyncratic and downright hilarious depictions of Indian-ness, have become something of a national habit - a way for millions of readers to tackle the perplexing and often frustrating headlines in the morning newspaper. Laxman's Common Man cartoons (where the Common Man, like the quintessential Indian, observes everything that goes on around him - from political wranglings to household squabbles - but never utters a word) are sharp and pointed observations on the rampant corruption, social injustice, financial fiascos and political byplays that have plagued the nation since its inception. His political cartoons, on the other hand, are marvellous caricatures of the personalities and policies of our larger-than-life leaders. Laxman's cartoons represent a uniquely Indian take on life, informed, humorous, philosophical and, above all, mischievous. These, perhaps, are the qualities that have made him India's best-loved cartoonist. Brushing Up the Years: A Cartoonist's History of India 1947 - 2004 is a selection of the very best of Laxman's cartoons, drawn over a career spanning six decades. From India's first general elections to Nehru's Five-Year Plans, from the wars with China and Pakistan to the reign of Indira Gandhi and the Emergency, from Rajiv Gandhi's government, the rise of regional politics and the fall of the Babri Masjid to economic liberalization, the rule of the BJP and the Congress's return to power, these cartoons trace a history of modern India, a history that is perceptive, provocative and humorous. Brushing Up the Years is a unique book that reveals what modern India is all about. It is a collector's item that every Indian will want to possess.
R.K. Laxman (Author)
Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Laxman was born and educated in Mysore. Soon after he graduated from the University of Mysore, he began cartooning for the Free Press Journal, a newspaper in Bombay. Six months later he joined the Times of India as staff cartoonist, a newspaper he has been with for over fifty years. He has written and published numerous short stories, essays and travel articles, some of which are collected here. He has also written three works of fiction, The Hotel Riviera, The Messenger and Servants of India, all published by Penguin Books. Penguin has also published several collections of Laxmanâ€™s cartoons in the series The Best of Laxman and Laugh with Laxman. The Tunnel of Time, Laxmanâ€™s autobiography, is available from Penguin as well. R.K. Laxman was awarded the prestigious Padma Bhushan by the Government of India. The University of Marathwada conferred an honorary Doctor of Literature degree on him. He has won many awards for his cartoons, including Asiaâ€™s top journalism award, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, in 1984.