Thursday, January 04, 2007

Pune to get a dose of leftist revolutionary ideology with Gaddar

Pune to get a dose of leftist revolutionary ideology with Gaddar
To mobilise ‘anti-establishment rage,’ Telugu balladeer and Naxal activist to perform at Shaniwarwada on January 7

Prasannakumar Keskar

Gaddar - The revolutionary balladeer

Pune, January 01: SUGAR-RICH western Maharashtra will be in for a shock of sorts on January 7 as Gaddar, a revolutionary Telugu balladeer and Naxal activist from Andhra Pradesh, will perform at the Shaniwarwada. Known for his fiery performances, the stated aim of bringing the activist’s troupe to the city is to mobilise the ‘anti establishment rage’ amongst the masses over the Khairlanji killings, the quota controversy and acquisition of land for Special Economy Zones (SEZs) anti-labour policies and farmers’ suicides.

The Abhivyakti Swatantrya Bachao Samiti, a platform created by over a dozen leftist organisations a couple of months ago, has organised show, which is probably the first time that leftist organisations are organising a public programme in the region. The show will be free of cost and open to all.

Gaddar will arrive in the city from Hyderabad just hours before the show along with an associate, while the other members of his troupe will travel to Pune from Mumbai. However, the tour will not be a hasty one for the performer also plans to stay in the city for at least a day after the show.

Better known for his Telugu songs, Gaddar will perform in the city in Hindi.

Convener of the samiti, Sanjay Dabhade said that though Gaddar is little-known in western Maharashtra, his show is expected to draw huge crowds from the city and rural outskirts.

And with various dalit parties like Republican Party of India and organisations like Narmada Bachao Andolan and SEZ Virodhi Kriti Samiti associated with the Abhivyakti Bachao Swatantrya Samiti, the organisers reaching out to the slum dwellers may not be a difficult task.

But ensuring that the word is spread around, the samiti has printed over 10,000 hand bill and plans to put up posters and banners, besides using vehicles with loudspeakers to promote the show.

“Gaddar’s show is meant to be a public cultural protest against suppression of the masses by the State. It is also meant to give vent to the unrest amongst the masses,’’ Dabhade said.

(Gadar on stage , lakhs of people turn up whenever he performs anywhere in
Andhra Pradesh)

About Gaddar

* Gummadi Vittal Rao came to be know as Gaddar as a tribute to the pre-independence revolutionist Gadar party. Born in 1949 in Medak district, Gaddar comes from a poor dalit family. He dropped out of Osmania University after his first year of engineering to earn a living and in 1969, joined the struggle for a separate Telangana state and formed a burrakatha (a kind of folk art) troupe.

* In early 1970s, Gaddar got associated with ‘Art Lovers Association’, formed by Narsing Rao, who was linked to the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist). In the mid 1980s, Gaddar started voicing his protest against the killing of several Dalits by upper caste landlords in Prakasam district and went underground after the police raided his house.

* During exile, he started spreading the revolutionary ideology through folk arts, adapting folk forms such as Oggu Katha, Veedhi Bhagotham and Yellamma Katha.

* After four-and-a-half years of exile Gaddar emerged from hiding. He was shot at
on April 6, 1997, but survived. In 2001 and 2004, he was among those named by the Peoples’ War Group as its emissaries for peace.


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