Hyderabad: Balladeer Gaddar alias Gummadi Vittal Rao passed away while undergoing treatment at the Apollo Hospitals in Hyderabad on Sunday.
He was a poet, revolutionary balladeer, activist, and a former Naxalite. Gaddar was a member of the Naxalite movement until 2010 when he joined the Telangana statehood movement. Born in 1949, after a stint as a manual worker in a chemical factory, he joined the Art Lovers Association founded by B Narsinga Rao, producer of hit Telugu movies such as Maa Bhoomi, Rangula Kala and Dasi.
Gaddar acted in the first two films. His political affiliation began when he heard about the Srikakulam armed struggle by tribals in north coastal Andhra under the leadership of the Communist Party of India. Gaddar chose folk art to fight against social inequalities. Narsing Rao directed both the movies “Maa Bhoomi and Rangula kala” mirroring images of Telangana movement which later went onto achieve Best Regional Film and latter best documentary Award in India.
Gaddar, founder of the Jana Natya Mandali (the cultural wing of the erstwhile People’s War Group outfit), has been fighting a long-drawn war against the powers-that-be – first the pre-bifurcation Andhra Pradesh government and now the TRS regime in Telangana.
However, his struggle came at a price. Gaddar was shot by five unknown people at his Venkatapuram residence in Secunderabad on April 6, 1997. He was taken to the Government Gandhi Hospital, where four bullets were removed from his body.
Surgeons at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences later tried taking out a fifth bullet that had lodged itself in his spinal cord, but eventually decided against it for fear of medical complications.
Notable Folk Songs of Gaddar include:
* Bandenuka Bandikatti
* Apuro Rickshaw
* Bhadram Koduko
* Jam Jammalabari
* Madana Sundari
*Jai Bolo Telangana