Eminent cartoonist Mario de Miranda, 85, died in sleep at his ancestral home at Loutolim in south Goa in the early hours of Sunday. He is survived by wife Habiba and sons Rahul and Rishad.
The body will be cremated at Margao at 11 a.m. on Monday.
Besides being a popular cartoonist, Mario, as he was affectionately known, defined the way in which Goa was perceived by the outside world. His early cartoons reflected Goan village life.
He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2002 and the Padma Shri in 1988. The Goa government honoured him with its State Cultural Award in 2008 and the ‘State Reward' for receiving the Padma Bhushan.
Besides cartooning, Mr. Miranda has done murals on various buildings in Goa and other parts of the country, taking to painting, as he did, in the later years of life.
Mr. Miranda has several books to his credit, including Laugh it Off, Goa with Love, and Germany in Wintertime. Besides his own books, Mr. Miranda has illustrated the books of Dom Moraes (A Journey to Goa), Manohar Malgaonkar (Inside Goa) and Mario Cabral e Sa's (Legends of Goa). He has also illustrated many children's books and designed several.
In 2008, the Goa-based architect, Gerard da Cunha, made an impressive compilation of his artistic output, from the works of his formative years in Goa to his well-known Mumbai cartoons and the finely detailed and nuanced sketches of cities around the world made in recent years, sourcing more than 8,000 pieces from collectors and the artist's friends for three years.
“It's unfortunate that Mario's reputation as a cartoonist has denied him recognition as a great artist. Hopefully, this book will finally put him where he belongs,” Mr. da Cunha, who moved the archive to his private museum at north Goa's Porvorim for permanent display, had said at the release of his book.
“With Mario Miranda's passing, I have lost a dear friend, Goa its best ambassador, the art world a gifted artist, and India a national treasure,” said fashion designer Wendell Rodricks. “I am so sad and devastated. May his legacy endure for all cartoonists as an inspiration and ideal.”
Writer Maria Aurora Couto, who knew Mr. Miranda for almost 60 years, said: “It is a great personal loss” as well as “a great loss for the country.”
Recalling the great relationship her late husband Alban Couto, Sanskrit scholar Jose Periera and Mario Miranda shared from 1950 onwards, she said they deeply loved Goa and its unique identity, but had a cosmopolitan vision and wanted Goa to join the Indian mainstream intellectually and culturally.
In 1951, when Mulk Raj Anand edited the magazine Marg, Mario, Alban and Pereira came together and brought out a special issue focussing on Goa's art and culture, she said. “Mario was a quintessential Goan first, but with a broad cosmopolitan outlook and vision of pan-India. One who deeply believed in the thought of Nehruvian secularism that strengthened our roots. That is why, it is a great loss.”
He always discussed and integrated in his art all that was beautiful about Goa. He was humane and gentle, Ms. Couto said. “He was such an iconic figure, who, through his innumerable murals, actually took Goa to India and brought India to Goans.”
Governor K. Sankaranarayanan described Mr. Miranda as a “Goan artist of international repute.” “In his demise, our country has lost a great cartoonist. He was undoubtedly a genius whose contribution to the world of art will always be remembered.”
In his message, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat said he was deeply shocked by his demise. Mr. Miranda was one of the greatest artists of the century. In all his works, he portrayed the Goan character to the world. He had several exhibitions in all five continents, which highlighted the Indian culture, especially the Goan ethos.