Revolutionary balladeer, Gummadi Vithal Rao, who was voice of the marginalised dies at 77 | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Revolutionary balladeer, Gummadi Vithal Rao, who was voice of the marginalised dies at 77

Aug 07, 2023 12:26 AM IST

Gaddar, a popular revolutionary balladeer and former Maoist party ideologue, has died at the age of 77 in Hyderabad after a brief illness.


Gummadi Vithal Rao (Fiie photo)
Gummadi Vithal Rao (Fiie photo)

Popular revolutionary balladeer and former Maoist party ideologue Gummadi Vithal Rao, alias Gaddar, died on Sunday following a brief illness at a private hospital in Hyderabad, a hospital bulletin said.

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The 77-year-old poet is survived by his wife Vimala, 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 3 pm,” a bulletin from Apollo Spectra Hospitals said.

Born in 1946 at Toopran in Kamareddy district (erstwhile Medak) in Telangana, Gaddar briefly joined 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, which later transformed into the now-banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

A balladeer, Gaddar composed and performed several revolutionary songs. He played a major role in bringing the 1987 Dalit massacre at Karamchedu into national focus. Gaddar’s songs were used in several Telugu films and went on to become hits. He has also penned songs in Hindi and Gond languages.

On April 6, 1997, Gaddar survived a firing by unidentified people at his residence at Bhoodevi Nagar in Hyderabad. He underwent surgery but a bullet remained lodged near his spine.

With the resurgence of the Telangana movement, Gaddar supported the cause of a separate state. In 2010, he disassociated with the Maoist party and announced complete severing of ties with Maoism in 2017.

Gaddar, who always advocated against electoral politics, enrolled himself as a voter in 2018 and exercised his franchise in the Telangana Legislative 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 has often publicly supported the Congress and recently met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi following the latter’s disqualification from the Lok Sabha membership.

Expressing grief over the demise, Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “His (Gaddar’s) love for the people of Telangana drove him to fight tirelessly for the marginalised. May his legacy continue to inspire us all.”

Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, Telangana PCC president A Revanth Reddy and several other leaders and poets expressed their condolences over Gaddar’s death.

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    Srinivasa Rao is Senior Assistant Editor based out of Hyderabad covering developments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana . He has over three decades of reporting experience.

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