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Help spread the truth about Telangana region of India. Since 1956, when Andhra and Telangana merged, Telangana has gotten the short end of the stick in terms of natural resources, funding and representation in government. Though two major rivers have their sources in Telangana, irrigation projects divert the precious water to other areas. The feelings have often spilled over into violence, and in 1969, 400 people died in Telangana-related violence.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Brief Intro: Gaddar (Gummadi Vittal Rao) a revolutionary Telugu balladeer


 The living legend of the Indian revolutionary movement, Gaddar was born in a poor dalit family in Toopran village of the Medak district adjoining Hyderabad. His parents Seshaiah and Lachumamma worked as labourers to earn a living. After passing the 12th standard from a government junior college in Hyderabad, Gaddar joined the Osmania University Engineering College to pursue a Bachelors degree in engineering, but was forced to drop out after the first year to earn a living.

He worked in a chemical factory before joining the Arts Lovers' Association, which was renamed Jana Natya Mandali (JNM) in 1972. Gaddar has been actively pursuing the demand for a separate Telangana from the very inception of his political and cultural activism, starting from 1969. The Srikakulam Armed Struggle in Northern coastal Andhra fought by the adivasis inspired as well as drawn him towards revolutionary politics and culture. Even though he got a clerical job in a bank in 1975, Gaddar left it in 1984 to work as a full time activist of JNM. He was forced to go underground in 1985 after protesting against the killing of several dalits by upper caste landlords in Prakasham district.

In exile, Gaddar roamed through the forests of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, spreading the revolutionary ideology through folk arts. Gaddar and his troupe adapted folk forms such as Oggu Katha, Veedhi Bhagotham (vernacular ballets using a combination of song, dialogue and dance) and Yellamma Katha (the story of the local deity) to revolutionary themes depicting the travails of peasants, labourers and as well as other exploited sections. With his revolutionary songs catching the imagination of the masses, Gaddar became a legendary figure among the toiling people. Hundreds of thousands of printed copies and thousands of cassettes and CDs of his songs have been distributed and sold over the last two decades.

After four-and-a-half years of exile, Gaddar emerged from hiding. On February 18, 1990, Gaddar met the media. Two days later, the Mandali celebrated its 19th anniversary at the sprawling Nizam College Grounds in Hyderabad. A staggering 200,000 people came to watch Gaddar perform.

In the last 15 years since he surfaced from his underground life, Gaddar has contributed to keep the separate Telangana movement alive. During this period, he has launched campaigns to protest against State repression in the countryside and brutal killings by the police in the name of 'encounters.'

He along with Varavara Rao and Kalyan Rao was the emissary for the failed peace talks between the Naxalites and the Andhra Pradesh government. On April 6, 1997 there was an assassination bid on Gaddar. While two of the three bullets the assailants fired into him, two were removed. One was left untouched because of medical complications. The near-fatal attack, which the balladeer believes was engineered by the police, has not deterred Gaddar from being a champion of the downtrodden.

Some more Articles on Gaddar:

Gaddar Songs


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