The Story of Indian Art #9: Mario Miranda

On his death anniversary we pay tribute to one of India's greatest cartoonists Mario Miranda!


  • Born on:: 2 May, 1926
  • Born in: Daman
  • Spouse:Habiba Hydari
  • Died On: 11 December, 2011
  • Career: Artist
  • Nationality: Indian

One of India’s great cartoonists died this day (December 11) in 2011. Let’s meet him.

Mário João Carlos do Rosário de Brito Miranda was popularly known as Mario Miranda or Mario de Miranda. He was a cartoonist and painter based in lovely Loutolim, Goa.

Mario Miranda (1926 – 2011)

Mario’s work regularly graced the pages of The Times of India, The Economic Times, and other newspapers in Mumbai. Though, it was his long innings with The Illustrated Weekly of India that he was best known for.

Early years

Mario was born in Daman, then in Portuguese India. After seeing him drawing on the walls of their home, his mother bought him a book to draw. This was Mario’s first diary, in which he drew cartoons that captured vignettes of Goan village life.

He did his schooling at St. Joseph’s Boys’ High School, Bangalore and went on to do a B.A. in History at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. At the behest of his parents, Mario tried to pursue a degree in architecture. But he soon lost interest.

Miranda’s depiction of the town bus during rush hour.

Professional Life

Mario’s first job was in an advertising studio. He worked here for four years, before taking up cartooning full-time. His first break as a cartoonist came via the good offices of The Illustrated Weekly of India. Soon, Mario’s creations – Miss Fonseca and Miss Nimbupani – began appearing in The Times of India, Femina, and The Economic Times as well.

In 1974, Mario was invited to by the United States Information Services to travel to America. There he interact with other cartoonists in the United States and was presented with an opportunity to work with Charles M. Schulz (the creator of Peanuts) and meet Herblock, the editorial cartoonist of The Washington Post.

A crowded market by Mario Miranda

Mario’s cartoons have been exhibited in at least 22 countries, including the United States, Japan, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, France, Yugoslavia, and Portugal. And his murals are present on various buildings in Goa and other parts of India.

Over the years he published several books of his cartoons, including Laugh it Off, Goa with Love, and Germany in Wintertime, to name three.

His illustrations can also be found in books written by eminent writers like Dom Moraes (A Journey to Goa), Manohar Malgaonkar (Inside Goa), Mario Cabral e Sá’s (Legends of Goa), and Uma Anand (Dul-Dul, The Magic Clay Horse, The Adventures of Pilla the Pup, and Lumbdoom, The Long-tailed Langoor).


After retirement, Miranda lived in his ancestral home, at Loutolim, Goa, with his wife, younger son, and their pets. Trivia: The 1985 Shyam Benegal film, Trikaal, featured Mario’s ancestral home. On 11 December 2011, Mario Miranda died of natural causes at his home in Loutolim.

Awards and recognition

  • Padma Shri – 1988
  • Padma Bhushan – 2002
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – All India Cartoonists’s Association, Bangalore
  • Cross of the Order of Isabel the Catholic – Spain’s highest civilian award, conferred by The King of Spain, Juan Carlos, on 11 November 2009
  • Commander of the Order of Prince Henry – Portugal’s National Order of knighthood, conferred by the President of the Republic Aníbal António Cavaco Silva, on 29 December 2009
  • Padma Vibhushan – The second highest civilian award in India, posthumously awarded by the President on 4 April 2012. In 2013

Inspired by Mario

Inspired by the late Mario Miranda and the vibrant, colourful melting pot that is Mumbai, one of our makers, Abhinav Kafare, felt compelled to bring his vision to life in this series of illustrations titled Mumbai Nazariya. The illustrations radiate the heart, soul, and energy of India’s ‘maximum city.’

Now your walls, too, can pulsate with the distinct life and times of Mumbai Nazariya. Come on in and let Abhinav and Engrave show you.

Sampling Mario Miranda

The best place to explore Mario Miranda’s work is here.

Previous Editions:

To read other editions of the series, click here.

Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Asif Shaikh May 26, 2017

    Truly an artist par excellence. For me, his works such as Miss Foncesa and the essence of Goa that he caught with cartoons truly stand out. He is greatly missed and an inspiration to artists like me.


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