Normally it is said that a picture is equivalent to thousand words.
Nothing can beat the simple, characteristic and satiric cartoons of RK Laxman. The recent Penguin Publication 'Brushing up the Years', featuring the important events of India as 'A cartoonist's history of India 1947 to the Present' is something special, unique and engaging.
Laxman's deft brush strokes had not left any of the major events untouched. It is no easy task for the publishers to cull out only the best from nearly 30,000 cartoons at the same time trace the history of the Independent India. Laxman's intelligence, observation and sharp criticism based on the reality are the enjoyable facets of these selected cartoons.
The political upheavals, the uncertainty of the governments, the changing social scenarios and maverick politicians shine through the witty and profundity caricatures of Laxman. The famous ubiquitous common man of Laxman is of course there almost in all of them without a word but with the bewildered look.
The downright Indianness of the illustrations and many times the unabashed utterances of the people around make the message more poignant whether it is the crucial political event or just the man in rags exchanges a word with his fellow man.
The nearly 300 pages and around 300 illustrations make the reader glued to the book and wonder at the artist's comprehension of the 60 long years of India's political and social debacles and developments. Most of them stand out by their sheer relevance and comment of the event.
Undoubtedly, the book is a collector's edition.