Created in 1957, legendary cartoonist and satirist RK Laxman's much-loved character the 'Common Man' became an astute and wry observer of Indian society and politics. Now, the Common Man's legacy is set to continue in the form of a new series called the 'Common Woman', conceptualised by his 21-year-old granddaughter Rimanika Laxman.
The new character was announced by Laxman's family on the occasion of the World Cartoonist Day on 5 May, over two years after his death in 2015. The 'Common Woman' will be presented as The Common Man's granddaughter, but with one striking difference.
"She has grown up watching her grandfather, who was empathetic, observant and vulnerable. She now steps in to voice her opinion and resolve issues, seek solutions for the betterment of the people," a statement issued by RK IPR Management, the late cartoonist's estate, stated.
The character will debut in hoardings in Mumbai, and the estate is currently in talks with several major newspapers to publish it as a regular cartoon series from next month onward. While the cartoon will be conceived by Rimanika, it will be illustrated by Laxman's long-time associate cartoonist Vikas Phadnis. "His strokes and humour are quite close to my father-in-law's work," Usha Laxman, the cartoonist's daughter-in-law, told HuffPost India.
The concept for the 'Common Woman' took shape during RK Laxman's lifetime. "In 2005, when he was asked who will carry on his legacy during an interview, he said that I have done by job. Now my granddaughter will take it up." Usha Laxman said. "As a woman, she wants to tap on issues related to women. If the Common Man was observing these issues, the Common Woman will voice her opinion and try to see how these issues can be resolved."