Friday, June 14, 2024

Gaddar no more

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Renowned revolutionary poet and folk singer Balladeer Gaddar, (74), passed away on Sunday at 3 pm at the Apollo Hospital. He was not well for some days and breathed his last on Sunday while undergoing treatment.

Gaddar’s son Suryam formally announced his father’s death. Doctors announced two days ago (August 3rd) that Gaddar’s surgery was successful. But he died due to multiple organ failure, the doctors said.

Senior Congress leader V. Hanumantha Rao and Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan visited Gaddar a few days before he underwent surgery.

Gaddar’s real name was Gummadi Vithal Rao. He was born in a Dalit family in the Thupran village of Medak district in 1949. His Mother’s name was Lacchamma and his father’s name Seshaiah.

Gaddar completed education in his village and in a neighbouring village and did engineering at Osmania University.Gaddar actively participated in the 1969 Telangana movement and campaigned for it across the state using the Telugu art form ‘Burrakatha.’ Film director B. Narasingrao who saw his performance gave him an opportunity to perform on Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary.

After that Gaddar used to present his shows on Sundays. In 1971, Gaddar wrote his first song ‘Aapara Rickshaw’ encouraged by B. Narasingrao. His first album was titled ‘Gaddar’ and it became his name.

Gaddar acted as Yadagiri in the film ‘Maa Bhoomi.’ Gaddar’s song ‘Bandenaka Bandi Katti’ became very popular among Telugus. Gaddar quit his bank job in 1984 and became a full-time folk singer. He also launched a movement against the Karamchedu murders.

Gaddar joined Jana Natyamandali, a front organisation of the Maoists, and went to the people with his Oggu Katha, Burrakatha and Yellamma Katha. Gaddar conducted performances not only in the Telugu states but also in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar and other states.

Many youths joined the Naxalite movement captivated by Gaddar’s songs. He used to wear Gochi and Gongadi. Gaddar used to sing songs about the hardships of the poor, the Dalits and other oppressed groups. Gaddar’s cassettes and CDs got sold in large numbers.

Gaddar was attacked on April 6, 1997, and was shot. Doctors removed some bullets but one bullet remained in his body. Doctors could not remove it as surgery would have endangered his life. Gaddar lived with the bullet till his death.

Gaddar, who went underground several times due to links with the Naxal Peoples War Group, distanced himself from Maoists later due to ideological issues.

Gaddar participated actively in the second phase of the Telangana movement. His song ‘Ammaa Telanganamaa…Akali Kekala Gaanamaa’ echoed in every village. He also danced to his own song ‘Podusthunna poddu meedha Nadusthunna Kaalamaa’ in the film ‘Jai Bholo Telangana.’

Gaddar refused the Nandi Award for his song ‘Nee Paadam Meedha Puttu Machanai Chellemma’ in the film ‘Adavilo Anna.’

Gaddar’s recent song ‘Banisalara Lendira’ is going viral on social media and is getting a tremendous response from netizens. This song was not only written by Gaddar but was also sung in a heart-touching manner. Popular film music director MM Keeravani gave the music for this song. The song was choreographed by Suchitra Chandra Bose.

Gaddar recently launched the ‘Gaddar Praja Party’ and announced that he is going to contest against Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

Recently, Gaddar actively participated in CLP leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka’s padayatra and attended Congress meetings in which Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi participated.

Gaddar’s family kept his body at the LB Stadium for the public to pay his respects. Congress leaders Manikrao Thakre, V. Hanumantha Rao, Revanth Reddy, Seethakka and many others paid their tributes to Gaddar at the hospital.

Meanwhile, CPI leader Narayana asked the government to give Gaddar state honours at his funeral.

Political leaders, film actors, leaders of people’s organisations and many others including Rahul Gandhi, Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna, N. Chandrababu Naidu, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, G. Kishan Reddy, Telangana Ministers and others condoled Gaddar.

Telangana, AP CMs pay tributes to Gaddar

The CMs of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana condoled revolutionary balladeer Gaddar. Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao said that he was shocked to learn about the passing away of Gaddar, who through his songs took the Telangana sentiment to every village during the Telangana movement. KCR said that Gaddar who ignited consciousness among the public for their own state through his songs and dance will remain in the hearts of people. He said in his condolence message that Gaddar had dedicated his life to the people.With his death, Telangana has lost a great people’s poet.

KCR recalled the cultural struggle of Gaddar for Telangana and his association with Gaddar. He said that Gaddar began his cultural career as an ordinary Burrakatha artiste and later mixed revolutionary politics in it and finally reached the top with his cultural battle for achieving the Telangana state.

KCR said that Gaddar’s services to folk art and people’s movements can never be forgotten. The void left by his demise can never be filled, he added.

Telangana Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundrarajan said she was deeply shocked to know about the passing away of balladeer Gaddar. “His contributions and sacrifices for the cause of Telangana statehood will be remembered forever,” she said and conveyed her heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy also condoled Gaddar. He said Gaddar was a great man who as a public singer inspired the poor with his songs and launched a movement for their rights. Losing such a great man is a great loss to society. My deepest condolences to Gaddar’s family and I pray to God to give rest to his soul, he said.

Union Minister for Tourism and Culture G. Kishan Reddy said he was deeply saddened to know that revolutionary singer Gaddar had passed away. He played a vital role in raising public awareness during the Telangana movement.

AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi said Gaddar’s demise is a great loss for Telangana’s downtrodden. “He was a bold voice for the poor. He had met my late father Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi on a few occasions. His ballads inspired a revolutionary spirit among the masses. There can never be another Gaddar,” he wrote on X.

Congress Telangana in-charge Manikrao Thakare and state Congress President Revanth Reddy also condoled Gaddar. They consoled the balladeer’s wife and other family members.

The Congress leaders said that his significant contributions as an activist and balladeer towards the cause of Telangana will remain forever in our minds.

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