Revolutionary poet Gaddar passes away

Hyderabad, Aug 6 (UNI): Revolutionary balladeer Gummadi Vittal Rao, popularly known as ‘Gaddar’, passed away in a hospital in the city on Sunday due to illness. He adopted the name Gaddar as a tribute to the pre-independence Gadar party which opposed British colonial rule in Punjab during 1991. He was 75.

Gaddar was a member of the Naxalite movement until 2010 when he joined the Telangana statehood movement.


Gaddar was a revolutionary singer right from his days at the Osmania University Engineering College during the Telangana agitation in 1969-70s. He went underground in the 1980s and founded Jana Natya Mandali, a travelling theatre group. Known for his soulful, melodious folk songs with simple lyrics, Gaddar attracted people, especially youth, towards Maoist ideology.

The group later became the cultural wing of the CPI(ML) People’s War, which merged with the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) in 2004 to form CPI (Maoist). Gaddar had escaped an assassination bid in 1997. Unidentified men had shot him at his residence on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

In the first-ever direct talks between then Andhra Pradesh government and People’s War in 2004, Gaddar along with revolutionary writers and poets Varavara Rao and Kalyan Rao had acted as emissaries for the Maoists.

During his stint with the Maoist party, Gaddar strongly campaigned against electoral politics and called for a boycott of elections.

In 2017, he gave up Maoism and declared himself an Ambedkarite.

He enrolled himself as a voter in 2017 and for the first time in his life he cast his vote in 2018.

Telangana Praja Front (TPF) was launched on October 9, 2010 with Gaddar as President. It was formed as a Telangana separatist organisation, demanding statehood for the Telangana region that was then a part of Andhra Pradesh.

Gaddar resigned as president in May 2012, still insisting that a separate state could not be achieved through electoral means.

Last month, he announced the launch of a new political party, which he called Gaddar Praja Party, and said he would contest the forthcoming elections.

He had earlier supported the Congress, and of late, was associated with evangelist KA Paul’s Praja Shanthi Party.

Soon after Gaddar announced formation of a separate party, Paul said he was suspending Gaddar from PSP.

He got Nandi Award for Best Lyricist for “Malletheega Ku Pandiri Vole” from Orey Rikshaw (turned down) in 1995 and also in 2011 for Best Male Playback Singer for Jai Bolo Telangana.

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