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Renowned Folk Singer and Activist Gaddar Passes Away at 77


Gaddar, the popular folk singer and activist, whose real name was Gummadi Vittal Rao, breathed his last at the age of 77 in Hyderabad. He had been undergoing treatment for a heart-related ailment at a private hospital when he succumbed to the illness.

Known as the ‘People’s Singer,’ Gaddar was deeply mourned by his fans and followers on Twitter. Telangana Congress’ official handle expressed their profound grief over his untimely demise, hailing him as a great poet and revolutionary balladeer whose voice echoed the soul of Telangana.

Survived by his wife Vimala and two children, Gaddar hailed from a Dalit family in Toopran, Medak, born in 1949. In the 1980s, he went underground and joined the CPI-ML (People’s War), later founding the Jana Natya Mandali, which became the cultural wing of the naxalite outfit.

Throughout his career, Gaddar became renowned for highlighting people’s issues through his songs and performances, earning him the title ‘People’s Singer.’ He was also involved in the film industry and acted in movies like Maa Bhoomi and Rangula Kala.

In 2004, Gaddar, along with revolutionary writers Varavara Rao and Kalyan Rao, acted as emissaries during the direct talks between the government and the People’s War. Despite being a Maoist supporter, he campaigned against electoral politics, considering voting a futile exercise.

However, in 2017, he announced severing ties with the Maoists and declared himself an ‘Ambedkarite.’ In the 2018 Assembly elections, he voted for the first time in his life. Gaddar’s support for the Telangana agitation remained steadfast, and he continued to champion the cause for a separate statehood.

In June of a previous year, he unveiled his political party, the Gaddar Praja Party, with plans to contest upcoming elections. Over time, he associated with other political figures and parties like evangelist KA Paul’s Praja Shanthi Party and Jana Sena party founder Pavan Kalyan.

Gaddar’s life was marked by challenges and threats. In 1997, he survived an assassination attempt, although a bullet remained lodged in his spinal cord. Despite the hardships, he remained committed to using his art to make a difference and raise awareness about important issues.

Social media flooded with his pictures and songs, especially from his early days when he was known for his traditional attire – a dhoti, red shawl, and wooden staff. Condolences poured in from various quarters, with politicians and public figures expressing their grief and acknowledging Gaddar’s immense contribution to society.

The passing of Gaddar marks a significant loss to the cultural and political landscape of Telangana. His powerful voice and unwavering commitment to social causes have inspired millions, leaving behind a legacy that will be remembered for years to come.

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