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Indian cartoonist RK Laxman dies

Acclaimed Indian cartoonist RK Laxman, who created the innocuous character the "Common Man" who held up a mirror to the absurdity and silliness of Indian politicians, has died of multiple-organ failure, his doctor said. He was 94.

Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Laxman died last night , said Sameer Jog, of Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in the western Indian city of Pune.

Laxman's almost daily Common Man cartoon was a commentary on Indian society and politics which ran in the Times of India newspaper for more than five decades.

He began his career at a number of small newspapers in Mumbai, India's financial hub, before joining the Times in 1950. Millions of Indians looked forward to his daily cartoon, You Said It, for its pithy commentary on India and its rulers.

Laxman was born in 1924, the youngest of six sons of a school headmaster, in the southern town of Mysore. Before taking up cartooning, he illustrated the novels of his brother, the well-known Indian novelist, RK Narayan.

Today, most mainstream newspapers in India carried front-page obituaries on Laxman, who, with his gentle humour, shone a light on the foibles of India's high and mighty, lampooning the follies of its politicians and sparing no-one across the political spectrum.

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