Mario Miranda, a chronicler of his times
cartoonists, Mario de Miranda appeared to be a serious, shy,
no-nonsense but soft-spoken person to a first-time acquaintance,
but gradually warmed up. Born in 1926, Mario displayed a »
Loutolim (Goa): The
bronzed, sinewy toddy tapper will never slither down a coconut
palm with ease. Nor will the buxom, cleavage showing, big hipped
fisherwoman hunch over her fish basket with slapstick charm.
Master illustrator Mario Miranda, who created them both, died in
his sleep in his Goan village Sunday after a prolonged illness at
the age of 85.
The artist breathed his last at his 300-year-old ancestral home in
the quiet village of Loutolim, 35 km from capital Panaji. He is
survived by his wife Habiba and sons Rahul and Rishad.
"He had been ailing for long and he passed away peacefully in his
sleep," Habiba told IANS.
Minutes after the villagers learned of his death, the bells of the
local church pealed in honour of the deceased soul as is the
custom in rural Goa.
His mortal remains will be cremated as per his wishes after a mass
Monday morning, and not buried according to Catholic tradition,
family sources said.
Mario Joao Carlos do Rosario de Britto Miranda was the man who
first creatively transported the languid imagery of Goa, its
people, its quaint market places, roof top homes and crowded
taverns to the world.
He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1988 and the Padma Bhushan in
2002 - two of India's highest civilian honours - for his exemplary
Condoling his death, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat told IANS that
the artist's death was a setback to Goa.
"Miranda was one of the greatest artists the century ever
produced. In all his artistic work, he had always portrayed Goan
character to the world. He held several exhibitions in almost all
continents wherein he displayed his talents and laid emphasis on
Indian culture and particularly Goan ethos."
Mario, who was born in Daman in 1926, studied at the St Xavier's
college, Mumbai. After flirting with the Indian Administrative
Service (IAS) preparations and dabbling in architectural studies,
he finally acknowledged his calling by placing his pencil stub on
Mario's first big break came in the form of the Illustrated Weekly
of India, a once popular magazine, before sketching for other
publications including The Afternoon, Current, Femina and 'MAD',
one of the most popular satirical illustrated magazines in the
Vivek Menezes, an art aficionado based in Goa who has been
following Mario Miranda's work as a child, recalls his first tryst
with the cartoonist's work.
"He knew my parents well from the 60s. My own lifetime has been
marked by indelible associations with his art. I vividly recall
his delightful children's illustrations for a book of rhymes that
was literally one of the first books I read," Vivek recalls.
While Mario's cartoons and characters like Miss Nimboo Pani,
Bundaldass are what made him popular, it was his illustrations of
people, landscapes and places which catapulted him to the league
of creative geniuses.
Mario's pictoral renditions of his travelogues across the major
cities of the world stand out as masterly impressions even today.
Ashwin Tombat, former editor of the newspaper Herald, said that
while Mario Miranda as a political cartoonist in a newspaper was
"all right", his illustrations were superb.
"His illustrations which were impeccable. And his travelogues and
the beautiful impressions of the cities he travelled made him
legendary," he said.
Mario's trademark sketches of the Goan lifestyles, especially
proponents of traditional occupations like the toddy tapper, the
fisherwoman and personal lifestyles of suited gentlemen and
parasol-toting genteel ladies are legendary for their reflection
of reality and fine nuances of everyday life in Goa.
"No more wiry toddy tappers in full regalia climbing coconuts
(coconut trees) nor fat fisherfolk," says Josh Arya Pereira, a
Mario Miranda fan, reacting to the maestro's death.
According to Vivek Menezes, Mario was the greatest ambassadors for
Goa, its art and culture who left behind the "best, widest and
most unforgettable body of images ever created of the state and
He said "I don't think we lost Mario. His work is like a banyan
tree, and will remain standing for generations even if the main
trunk has been lost. His legacy is intact. History will not forget
Mario de Miranda."