By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | March 26, 2020

R K Laxman’s Common Man first appeared in 1951, nine years before current Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray could be born.

Did Laxman foresee him when he modelled the now famous Common Man? Seems like; because Laxman was always far ahead of his time: If the recent Yes Bank controversy is anything to go by, this cartoon by the late R K Laxman was years ahead.

If the recent Yes Bank controversy is anything to go by, this cartoon by the late R K Laxman was years ahead.

Personally, I have never been a fan of Shiv Sena, nor of Uddhav Thackeray. But when he stood his ground after the recent Assembly Elections in Maharashtra and formed the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) with NCP and Congress, I began to look at him with admiration. This man had the knack and determination to take on the mighty. It takes immense courage to take on a strong ally like he did.

On Sunday, March 22, 2020, a few minutes after the PM addressed the Nation, in Bhakti Park, Mumbai, where I live, I saw people rushing out to buy essential goods. There were long queues. People panicked. There was no proper communication. But the very next day, the Chief Minister assured all that the State had enough food grain stock to survive the crisis. He also requested the police force to be gentle with genuine buyers during lockdown. “We have not stopped living. We have only changed the lifestyle,” he said.

R K Laxman and his Common Man
I’m certain the late R K Laxman had Uddhav Thackeray in mind: he is the Common Man’s Chief Minister.

He is giving constant updates via social media and is connected with the people of Maharashtra who he is assuring at every turn. Good leadership means emphasising on clear communication; here is where he has come up trumps winning over not only his fans, but his strong critics as well, and also creating a new fan base in the process.

Calm in a crisis situation, clear in his communication, Thackeray is proving the point that leaders increase their effectiveness when they improve their ability to communicate. He is also proving that leaders are the stewards of people and the resources they oversee.

I’m certain the late R K Laxman had Uddhav Thackeray in mind: he is the Common Man’s Chief Minister.

Image Credits: Times of India

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