Gummadi Vithal Rao Gaddar - Early Life, Education, Career, Family & Death

Dr.Santosh Kumar Sain

Gummadi Vittal Rao, renowned by his pseudonym "Gaddar" (1949 – 6 August 2023), held an eminent position as an Indian poet, revolutionary balladeer, activist, and Naxalite. He actively participated in the Naxalite movement until 2010, after which he devoted himself to the cause of Telangana's statehood. On 6 August 2023, Gaddar passed away at Hyderabad Apollo Hospitals after battling a prolonged illness.

Gummadi Vithal Rao Gaddar - Early Life, Education, Career, Family & Death

Gummadi Vittal Rao (गुम्माड़ि विट्टल राव) - A Renowned Indian Poet, Revolutionary Lyricist, and Naxalite

Gummadi Vittal Rao, popularly known as "Gaddar" (गद्दार), was a highly regarded figure in India, distinguished for his roles as a poet, revolutionary Telugu lyricist, and a devoted Naxalite activist from the state of Telangana. His nickname "Gaddar" was a tribute to the pre-independence Ghadar Party, which valiantly opposed British colonial rule in Punjab during the 1910s.

हिंदी में पढ़ने के लिए यहां क्लिक करें-

गुम्मदी विट्ठल राव गद्दार-प्रारम्भिक जीवन, शिक्षा, करियर, परिवार और मृत्यु


NameGummadi Vittal Rao
Renowned NameGaddar
BirthplaceToopran village, Medak district, Hyderabad
Age74 years at the time of death
SonsSureedu and Chandrudu (Chandrudu passed away in 2003 due to illness)
DaughterVennela (Works at MBA Department of Malla Reddy Engineering College)
ProfessionPoet, revolutionary lyricist, social activist, and Naxalite
EducationBachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering
Death6 August 2023
Place of DeathHyderabad Apollo Hospital
Cause of DeathProlonged illness
Political PartyTelangana Praja Front
ResidenceHyderabad, Telangana, India
AwardsNandi Award: Best Lyricist for the song "Ore Ricksha" (1995 - Declined)

Nandi Award: Best Male Playback Singer for "Jai Bolo Telangana" (2011)

Early Life and Education

Gaddar was born in the village of Toopran, situated in the Medak district, to his parents Seshaiah and Lachumamma. Growing up in a family of laborers, he completed his early schooling in Bodhan, Nizamabad district. After finishing his pre-university course (then equivalent to Class 12) at a government junior college in Hyderabad, he pursued a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at RECW.

The Journey Begins - Involvement in the Separate Telangana Movement

In 1969, Vithal Rao (Gaddar's original name) actively joined the movement advocating for a separate Telangana state. He established a Burrakatha troupe named after Mahatma Gandhi, using it as a platform to raise awareness about the Telangana issue. However, over time, he became disillusioned with this path and briefly engaged in presentations on family planning and other social topics for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.

Entry into Popular Culture

Gaddar's talent caught the attention of B. Narasimha Rao, a film director and the founder of the "Art Lovers Association." Impressed by Gaddar's performances, Rao invited him to perform at an event celebrating Bhagat Singh's birth anniversary. This marked the beginning of Gaddar's association with the Kala Premi Manch, where he started attending weekly meetings on Sundays.

Under Rao's guidance, Gaddar wrote his first song, "Apuro Rickshaw" (Stop Rickshaw), which became a huge hit, especially among rickshaw pullers. As he continued attending the meetings regularly, he penned many more songs, leading to the publication of his first songbook titled "Traitor," in homage to the renowned Ghadar Party. Eventually, the name "Gaddar" became synonymous with Vitthal Rao.


Supporting Telangana Statehood and Social Justice

As the Telangana movement resurged, Gaddar once again emerged as a vocal supporter of the cause, advocating for the formation of the Telangana state and the upliftment of marginalized communities, especially Dalits and backward castes. Despite his communist beliefs, he expressed disagreement with some communist parties opposing a separate Telangana state. He firmly stood with those striving for social justice in Telangana, demanding equal political representation for Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes alongside Other Castes and Backward Castes.

Gaddar's song "Amma Telanganama Akali Kekala Ganama" was honored as the state song of Telangana.

Jan Natya Mandali - The Revolutionary Theater Group

In 1972, the Art Lovers Association underwent a transformation and was renamed "Jan Natya Mandali." While spreading the message of revolution in villages, Gaddar also took the banking recruitment exam and secured a position as a clerk in Canara Bank in 1975. However, he resigned from his bank job in 1984 to dedicate himself fully to Jana Natya Mandali's activities. In 1985, following his protest against the killing of several Dalits by upper-caste landlords in Karamchedu village of Prakasam district, the police raided Gaddar's house, leading him to go underground.

Gummadi Vithal Rao Gaddar - Early Life, Education, Career, Family & Death

A Legacy of Courage and Commitment

Throughout his life, Gaddar remained an inspirational figure, fearlessly expressing his beliefs and advocating for social justice and the rights of the underprivileged. His contributions as a poet, revolutionary balladeer, and social activist continue to leave an indelible mark on Telangana's history and culture. On 6 August 2023, Gaddar breathed his last at Apollo Hospital in Hyderabad after a valiant battle with a long-term illness, leaving behind a legacy that will be cherished for generations to come.

Underground: Spreading Revolutionary Ideology through Folk Arts

During his time in exile, Gaddar traversed the dense forests of Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Odisha, using folk arts as a powerful medium to propagate revolutionary ideas. His troupe, Jana Natya Mandali, creatively adapted traditional forms such as Oggu Katha, Veedhi Bhagotham (vernacular ballets combining song, dialogue, and dance), and Yellamma Katha (stories of local deities) to depict the struggles of peasants, laborers, and marginalized sections of society. Recognized as the cultural wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People's War, active in several states, including Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, and Odisha, the troupe effectively communicated the revolutionary message.

Legend of Gaddar: Revolutionary Songs and Mass Appeal

Gaddar's revolutionary songs captivated the masses, making him a legendary figure. Over the last two decades, hundreds of thousands of printed copies and thousands of cassettes of his songs have been distributed and sold, fueling the revolutionary spirit among the people.

Iconic Attire: Symbolism and Evolution

Gaddar's attire became as iconic as his songs. Initially, he and his troupe performed wearing lungis, but they later realized that this costume was not suitable when women also became part of the audience. Subsequently, they switched to gochis (dhotis) and donned gongalis (thick blankets made of rough wool) across their chests. As they ventured into the jungles, Gaddar and his comrades adorned themselves with anklets and carried loaded rifles on their right shoulders, along with a dolu (drum) on their left. Though the loaded rifle has been replaced by a lathi (wooden stick) in his right hand, Gaddar's distinctive attire remains a symbol of his identity.

Emergence from Exile: A Celebrated Return

After four-and-a-half years of hiding, Gaddar resurfaced when the Congress government, led by Dr. Marri Chenna Reddy, adopted a more lenient approach towards the Naxalites. On February 18, 1990, he met the media, and just two days later, Jana Natya Mandali celebrated its 19th anniversary at Nizam College Grounds in Hyderabad. The event attracted an astonishing 200,000 spectators eager to witness Gaddar's powerful performances.


Standing Strong in Times of Turbulence

In the past 15 years since his reemergence, Gaddar has witnessed six chief ministers with fluctuating attitudes towards the Naxalite movement. During this period, he launched numerous campaigns to protest against state repression in rural areas and the killings of Naxalites in what he condemns as 'fake encounters.' Unyielding in his principles, Gaddar firmly believes that the Naxalite issue can only be resolved by addressing the deep-rooted socio-economic disparities prevalent in rural India, rejecting the notion of 'state terror' as a solution.

Assassination Attempt: A Brush with Death

Gaddar faced a near-fatal assassination attempt on April 6, 1997, when assailants fired three bullets at him. Though doctors removed two bullets, one remained untouched due to medical complications. The balladeer suspects that the attack was orchestrated by the police, but this life-threatening incident did not waver his commitment to championing the cause of the downtrodden.

Peace Emissary: Exploring Dialogues

In 2001, the Telugu Desam government agreed to hold peace negotiations with Naxalites, and Gaddar, along with writer Varavara Rao, was appointed as an emissary to initiate talks. Despite the initial progress, the talks were later abandoned. The Congress party, after coming to power in 2004, initiated another round of talks, and this time, Gaddar, Varavara Rao, and novelist Kalyana Rao represented the Naxalite party. Despite various discussions and rounds of dialogues, the resolution remained elusive, with the Naxalite parties eventually splitting into the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Janashakti.

Gaddar's life journey remains a testament to his unwavering commitment to revolution and the upliftment of the marginalized. As he continues to be a voice for the oppressed and an inspiration to many, his contributions to society's transformation will forever hold significance.

Fruitless Negotiations and Withdrawal from Peace Talks

After the initial round of talks, the negotiating parties planned to hold subsequent rounds to pursue a potential resolution. However, the process hit a roadblock in January 2005 when several Naxalites were killed in encounter killings. In response, the Naxalite parties decided to withdraw from the peace talks on January 16, 2005. Despite some attempts to revive the process, the peace negotiations officially came to an end on April 4, 2005, when Varavara Rao and other emissaries withdrew from their positions. Moreover, on August 18, 2005, the government imposed a ban on the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the Revolutionary Writer's Association (Virasam), and other people's organizations.

Arrests and Allegations

Within 24 hours of imposing the ban on Virasam, Varavara Rao and Kalyana Rao were arrested on August 19, 2005, under the AP Public Security Act. Although the police claim to have evidence against Gaddar, they did not arrest him at that time. The authorities accuse Gaddar of inciting violence and promoting the Naxalite ideology of achieving power through armed means.

Gaddar's Unique Appeal: A Renowned Figure Across Regions

Unlike many other left-wing revolutionary writers and poets, Gaddar's influence extends beyond rural areas, making him equally well-known in urban Andhra Pradesh. He frequently appears on television screens, actively participating in protest programs and engaging in spirited debates. His songs resonate with people from various backgrounds, transcending the barriers of region, religion, dialect, caste, and social status.

Gaddar's Pioneering Role in Linking the Masses and Literary Texts

Prominent academic Dr. Kancha Ilaiah lauds Gaddar for being the first Telangana intellectual to establish a profound connection between the productive masses and literary texts. Through his work, Gaddar created a significant link between the masses and educational institutions, making literature more accessible and relevant to the common people.

Venturing into Politics: Founding Telangana Praja Front

On October 3, 2010, Gaddar took a step into the realm of politics by establishing the Telangana Praja Front. This momentous event was formally announced during a broad-based convention on October 9, marking a significant shift in his journey as a public figure.

Family and Personal Life

Gaddar's personal life is marked by his enduring relationship with his wife, Vimala. The couple has two sons, Sureedu and Chandrudu. Tragically, Chandrudu passed away from illness in 2003, leaving a void in the family. Additionally, Gaddar has a daughter, Vennela, who currently works at the MBA Department of Malla Reddy Engineering College. Meanwhile, Gaddar's son is employed at NIFT, showcasing the diverse paths taken by the members of his family. Despite the challenges life has thrown at him, Gaddar's commitment to his art, ideals, and the welfare of the people remains unwavering.


Post a Comment


Post a Comment (0)