Telangana folk singer Gaddar passes away
Popular balladeer and former Maoist party ideologue Gummadi Vithal Rao, alias Gaddar, passed away following a brief illness at a private hospital in Hyderabad on Sunday afternoon, a hospital bulletin said.
He was 77. He is survived by his wife Vimala and two sons – Surya and Chandra– and a daughter Vennela.
“Gaddar was suffering from severe heart disease and was admitted to the hospital on July 20. He underwent bypass surgery on August 3 and recovered from it. However, he was a past patient of lung and urinary infections, which along with age-related problems aggravated on Sunday. He breathed his last at 3pm,” a bulletin from Apollo Spectra Hospitals said.
Born in 1946 at Toopran in Kamareddy district (erstwhile Medak) in Telangana, Gaddar had worked for some time in Canara Bank in 1975, before taking to “revolutionary politics”. He was the founder of Jana Natya Mandali, the cultural outfit of the People’s War Group of Naxalites, which later transformed into the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
He was a balladeer and he used to write revolutionary songs, compose them and sing them on stages. His songs inspired many youngsters to take to Maoism. He played a major role in bringing national focus to the massacre of Dalits at Karamchedu in 1987.
On April 6, 1997, Gaddar survived a firing by unknown persons at his residence at Bhoodevi Nagar in Hyderabad. He later alleged that the assailants were police. He underwent surgery for the same, but a bullet still remained near his spine.
With the resurgence of the Telangana movement, Gaddar supported the cause of a separate Telangana state. In 2010, he disassociated with the Maoist party and in 2017, he announced that he had completely severed his ties with the Maoists.
Gaddar, who had always advocated against electoral politics, enrolled himself as a voter in 2018 and exercised his franchise in the assembly elections held that year.
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. He recently met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi following the latter’s disqualification from the Lok Sabha membership.
Gaddar’s songs were used in several Telugu films and became popular hits. He also penned songs in Hindi and Gond language.
Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, Telangana Congress president A Revanth Reddy and several other leaders and poets expressed their condolences over Gaddar’s death