Balladeer Gaddar passes away – The Hindu BusinessLine




Revolutionary balladeer Gaddar (Gummadi Vithal), 74, has passed away after a brief illness, leaving behind a rich legacy of songs that inspired generations of youth in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Gaddar, who was recently admitted to Apollo Spectra Hospital for bypass surgery and was discharged on August 3, developed “complications caused by lung and urinary problems”, the hospital said in a communication.

Vithal quit his bank job in the late 1970s to take a plunge into the revolutionary movement, which was beginning to take root in Telangana after the formation of CPI-ML (People’s War). Hailing from a poor Dalit family, Vithal assumed the name Gaddar after becoming a member of Jana Natya Mandali (JNM), which subscribes to Marxist-Leninist ideology. He, along with a team of singers, toured extensively in the then Andhra Pradesh and several States, singing songs, highlighting the problems of the downtrodden and oppressed.

Simple yet powerful lyrics

Gaddar, who was referred to as the Battleship of People, penned hundreds of songs. His songs would strike a chord with the villagers as he penned them extempore, drawing inspiration from local folk traditions, quickly highlighting local issues, and explaining to the people how they were being exploited. He actively took part in the Telangana movement and penned some popular numbers, lending his voice in support of the movement.

His songs were so popular in the 1980s and 1990s that one could hear them wherever one went in undivided Andhra Pradesh. He suffered bullet injuries when unidentified gunmen attacked him in April 1997. Though he survived the attack, he had to carry one bullet in his spinal cord until his death.

When the then Andhra Pradesh Government initiated talks with the CPI (Maoist) in 2005, he was named one of the three emissaries by the Maoists.

In the later part of his life, he toed the line of electoral politics, moving away from an ideology that always opposed and boycotted elections.

His body has been placed at the Lal Bahadur Stadium, and final rites are scheduled for Monday. He is survived by his wife Vimala, one daughter Vennela, and one son Suryam. His younger son, Chandram, passed away.

The Telangana Assembly passed a resolution mourning Gaddar. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy lauded the contributions of Gaddar and paid him tributes in two different statements.


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