Published: 26th January 2021
#ThrowBackToday: Remembering the horrific Bhuj earthquake that tore through Gujarat
In today's #TBT, we mourn the loss and injuries of all those people whose lives were put on hold, or stopped altogether, because of this earthquake. Also remembering the cartoonist R K Laxman...
Though January 26 is a day filled with much fanfare and fervour in India, owing to the fact that we celebrate our Republic Day, January 26, 2001 was a particularly sad day for us and our neighbours, Pakistan. An earthquake shook the world of many. It marked 7.7 on the Richter scale and it was dubbed the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, also known as the Bhuj earthquake. It was called the latter because though Bhuj was located 20 km away from the epicentre, it was ravaged. The earthquake took the life of 13,805 people in the Gujrati-speaking state alone. It lasted for a whole of 110 seconds but affected 15 million people. It's not for nothing that it's called the deadliest intra-plate earthquake.
The cartoon Common Man is synonymous with its creator R K Laxman. Such was the reach of this character who sported a signature checkered jacket and dhoti and Gandhi-glasses. This Common Man was a reflection of all Indians and was as hopeful and troubled by the developments in the country as we have always been. But on January 26, 2015 the cartoon's creator passed away. The humorist and writer had won a Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts and even the Padma Vibhushan award for all his work previously.