The Common Man

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"The Common Man" by R K Laxman at Symbiosis Institute, Pune.

The Common Man is a cartoon character created by Indian author and cartoonist R. K. Laxman. For over a half of a century, the Common Man has represented the hopes, aspirations, troubles and perhaps even foibles of the average Indian, through a daily comic strip, "You Said It" in The Times of India. The comic was started in 1951.[1]

When Laxman began to draw cartoons in The Times of India, he attempted to represent different states and cultures in India. In the rush to meet deadlines, he began to draw fewer and fewer background characters, until finally he found only one remaining - the now-familiar Common Man. The Common Man generally acts as a silent witness to all the action in the comic. According to anthropologist Ritu Gairola Khanduri, "Clad in a dhoti and a plaid jacket, the puzzled Common Man is no dupe: his sharp observations miss no detail of the political circus."[2]

Other depictions[edit]

  • The Common Man featured in a commemorative postage stamp released by the Indian Postal Service on the 150th anniversary of the Times of India in 1988. It became one of the most recognised feature on The Times of India the largest-circulation English language daily broadsheet newspaper in the world.
  • The Common Man was the mascot for the low budget airline Air Deccan.[3]
  • Salman Rushdie, who grew up in Bombay on a daily fare of Laxman's pocket cartoons, mentions the Common Man in two of his books — his 1995 novel The Moor's Last Sigh and his 2012 autobiography, Joseph Anton.[4]

Statues of the Common Man[edit]

  • An 8 feet high [5] bronze statue of "The Common Man" has been erected at the Symbiosis Institute, Pune in front of its Vishwabhavan building.The Common Man has a wisp of white hair that is perpetually standing, leaving him with a bewildered look.[6]
  • A statue of the Common man, created by the sculptor Suresh Sakpal, was installed in 2007 along the sea face on Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan road, Worli seaface, Mumbai.[7][8][9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Laxman, r.K (1998). The tunnel of time : An autobiography. India: Penguin books. ISBN 9780140272482. 
  2. ^ Khanduri, Ritu Gairola (2012). "Picturing India: Nation, Development and the Common Man.". Visual Anthropology. 25 (1): 303–323. doi:10.1080/08949468.2012.688416. 
  3. ^ Bhatia, Ritika (2015-01-27). "R K Laxman bows out but lives in the Common Man". Business Standard News. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  4. ^ Rushdie and the Common Man
  5. ^ "The Common Man". Symbiosis Institute Pune. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Statue of common man unveiled". The Tribune. 18 December 2001. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Common man along sea face". Mumbai Paused. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  8. ^ naik, Yogesh (15 May 2012). "Common man retires hurt". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "Putting the common man back in place". Ahmedabad Mirror. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Kadam, Vikas. "Mirror - A short video on the common man statue". You tube. Retrieved 18 December 2013.