Thursday, November 02, 2006

Popular Culture and Ideology:
The Phenomenon of Gaddar

Dr. P. Kesava Kumar
Lecturer in Philosophy
Pondicherry University

‘No death for the song of people’s war’
- A Slogan condemning the attack on Gaddar.

Nannuganna tallulara
Teluguthalli pallelara
Patanai vastunnanammo
Meepaadalaku vandanalammo [1]


Gummadi Vittal Rao, popularly known as ‘Gaddar’ is a revolutionary poet singer and has emerged as a powerful and popular cultural icon of post independent India. He has established himself as an institution and a household name in Telugu society and other parts of India. Gaddar is a popular name like Chiranjeevi a mainstream telugu film hero. Gaddar contested the mainstream art forms like cinema, TV, movie, stage drama, etc. He captured the public sphere by bringing out the activities of the masses that were considered to be the domain of private sphere. Through his cultural performances lakhs of people got influenced and attracted towards the radical democratic struggles of India. Gaddar played a crucial role in sustaining Naxalite movement especially by reaching out to the masses. If Gaddar and his Jana Natya Mandali had not gone into the masses, it would have been virtually impossible to sustain the movement at this level. He is a unique cultural phenomenon of this millennium that representing the revolutionary cultural struggles of contemporary world. He is a culminating point of people’s culture and revolutionary politics. This paper is an attempt to explore the emergence of the Gaddar phenomenon and its significance by focusing on performance of people’s culture for inculcating revolutionary consciousness among the masses. Gaddar as cultural phenomenon established an organic link between oral and written culture. The upper caste middle class played a prominent role in the literary world of written culture, whether conservative or progressive in nature. While the literary world confined itself mostly to genres like poetry and short story/novel, where as the illiterate masses - totally marginalized by the print world and expressed their social aspirations and anxieties in oral form mostly through songs and folk dance forms. Gaddar and Jana Natya Mandali (JNM), the cultural organization that he represents, and works with a mission to politically sensitize the masses. In Gaddar’s cultural performances, one can see the continuity of peoples’ culture and their folk art forms in changing modern times. He is instrumental in enlivening the people’s culture by competing with the contemporary age of digital and electronic media. He invokes the social memory of the masses through his songs. He performed the song for a political purpose. For him, song is a weapon to resist dominance and to liberate the masses from oppressive social relationships. His songs work in nexus with the people’s political struggles. Any art form is surrounded and restricted by physical boundaries auditorium, stage, hall, sound system, etc. This means actually that sphere of art form is restricted to only some people. For instance, if Chiranjeevi or somebody else is performing in a hall only a limited people can enter. But in the case of Gaddar the art performance is not limited at all. As many people as possible can watch and enjoy it. The idea of limited audience itself has underlying profit motto which is very much absent in Gaddar's art. While mainstream art forms create subjective conditions and tend to relax the audience, Gaddar's art from creates objective conditions tend to make the audience think over. The study of Gaddar and his performance of song not only would explain the strong relationship between culture and ideology but also reveal the social and political purpose of any culture. Gaddar's art form is also crucial in the sense that a subaltern himself will be voicing the concerns of subalterns. This is the kind of knowledge or art form has been neglected for long by the mainstream art and knowledge forms saying that a subaltern speaking for subalterns has subjective content in it.

Popular Culture and Ideology

Culture -making is a social process: all meanings of self, of social relations, all the discourses and texts that play such important cultural roles can circulate only in relationship to the social system. It is a constant succession of social practices. Any social system needs a cultural system of meanings that served either to hold it in place or to destabilize it, to make it more or less amenable to change. Culture is the constant process of producing meanings of and from our social experience; and such meanings necessarily produce a social identity for the people involved.

Culture always had the element of popularity since it is evolved from the collective social experience. Culture is mediated through various forms. It undergoes changes with changing socio-economic and political conditions. One could see the significant changes in culture and its expressive forms from feudal society to capitalist society. Technology is one such prominent factor influencing a lot in bringing the changes in society and so in culture. Technology has not only facilitated significant changes in culture but is also instrumental in mediating culture at the popular level. It has reached the heights in the globalization of the world.

The term ‘popular culture’ connotes many meanings. The term is used for folk culture. It is lived through social experience mostly mediated through oral form. It is also used for the mass culture produced by the culture industry of capitalism. In this sense popular culture is identified with commodity culture. The term is also used to differentiate mass culture from high culture or elite culture. In the west, many scholars debated about popular culture in post –industrial times.

There are many views on popular culture. It is argued that popular culture is commodity-based. It is inauthentic, manipulative and unsatisfying. It is inauthentic because it is not produced by ‘the people’, manipulative because its primary purpose is to be purchased, and unsatisfying because, being easy to consume, it requires little work and fails to enrich its consumers. These views are held both by conservative critics and Marxist inspired Frankfurt school. Thus Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer coined the phrase ‘the culture industry’ to suggest that culture is now totally interlocked with political economy and the production of culture by capitalist corporations. They argued that cultural products are commodities produced by culture industry, which, while purporting to be democratic, individualistic and diversified, is in actuality authoritarian, conformist and highly standardized. Thus culture impresses the same stamp on everything. Films, radio and magazines make up a system, which is uniform. They considered this culture as mass deception[2].’ This view shares with others in regarding popular culture as inferior and contaminated both aesthetically and politically.

There is another argument that goes against the Adorno and other who equated mass culture with capitalism. It argues that people finds different meanings in the given socio, economic and political situation, though popular culture is produced by dominant classes. Popular culture is the culture of subordinate who resent their subordination. It signifies the meanings and pleasures we generate and circulate as we live our everyday lives. Popular culture is made by subordinated peoples in their own interests out of resources that also, contradictorily, serve the economic interests of the dominant. Popular culture is made from within and below, not imposed from without or above, as mass cultural theorists would have it. There is always an element of popular culture that lies outside social control, which escapes or opposes hegemonic forces. Popular culture is always a culture of conflict, it always involves the struggle to make social meanings that are in the interests of the subordinate, that are not those preferred by dominant ideology. The victories, however fleeting or limited, in this struggle produce popular pleasure, for popular pleasure is always social and political.
In recent times, there are many theorists of Cultural studies, works with a positive conception of popular culture, which is both valued and critically analyzed. Cultural Studies rejects the elitist notions of high-low culture or the critiques of mass culture. It argues that popular culture is constituted through the production of popular meaning located at the moment of consumption. Such meanings are the site of contestation over cultural and political values. As Stuart Hall argues popular culture is an arena of consent and resistance in the struggle over cultural meanings. Hall returns us to a political conception of popular culture as a site for the struggle over meaning. Judgments about popular culture are concerned with questions not of culture or aesthetic value (good or bad culture) but of power and the place of popular culture within the wider social formation. The concept of the popular culture challenges not only the distinctions between high and low culture but the very act of cultural classification by and through power. Popular is political.[3] This intervention points to how in the name of high /elite culture mass/popular culture is often negated/ marginalized. This argument is made by keeping the context of modern industrial democratic societies and an attempt is made to understand popular culture that these societies produce rather than negating it as simply dominant capitalist ideology. It succeeds in establishing the idea that popular is political.
Questioning the inautheniticity and manipulative character of popular culture that is produced by the capitalism and arguing for democratic and authentic culture of the people, however, may ultimately end up by putting forward folk culture produced by the masses as having the character of authenticity. That is, sometimes, an understanding of popular culture embraced by its critics who dislike commodity culture but don’t want to decry the popular completely results in contrasting mass culture with an authentic folk culture produced by the people. Such a view haunted by the search for a golden age exhibited by both conservative cultural theorists and left learning critics of commodification of culture. However, as Fiske argues, in capitalist societies there is no so-called authentic folk culture against which to measure the ‘inauthenticity’ of mass culture; so bemoaning the loss of the authentic is a fruitless exercise in romantic nostalgia.’[4]

The above mentioned discussion gives the clues that culture has to be understood and analyzed from the ideological point of view. In making culture and finding meanings of culture, the social groups that are involved and their ideological position is crucial. In that sense, culture has to be understood in relation to the struggles of society. Culture is an arena that represents the ideological/conceptual/ theoretical space for the struggles /conflicts of society. It means the struggles of the people determine culture. There is another version of popular culture that emerges out of political struggles, that differs from folk culture and commodity culture.

As Marx, argued that women/men make their own history. For him the production and reproduction of culture is related to the organization of the material conditions of life. Culture is always a consequence of historically specific mode of production. Culture is political because it is expressive of relations of power so that ‘the ideas of a ruling class are, in every age, the ruling ideas, i.e., the class which is the dominant material force in society is at the same time its dominant intellectual force.’ Culture is political because it is expressive of social relations of class power in a way which naturalizes the social order as an inevitable ‘fact’, so obscuring the underlying relations of exploitation. As such culture is ideological. By ideology is meant maps of meaning which, while they purport to be universal truths, are historically specific understandings which obscure and maintain power. Marx argues that the dominant ideas in any society are ideas of ruling class. Further he suggests that what we perceive to be true character of social relations within capitalism is in actuality the mystification of the market. Ideology legitimizes the interests of the powerful class: as ideas as coherent statements about the world and dominance of bourgeois or capitalist ideas, and, as world views which are the systemic outcome of the structures of capitalism which leads us to inadequate understandings of the social world. For Raymond Williams, culture as everyday meanings and values is part of an expressive totality of social relations. He defines culture as ‘the study of relationships between elements in a whole way of life’. (1965:63). He insists that culture be understood through the representations and practices of daily life in the context of material conditions of their production. The work of Raymond Williams proved to be influential in developing a non-reductionist understanding of the relationship between the material/economical and the cultural. He considered ‘ordinariness’ of culture and the active, creative, capacity of common people to construct shared meaningful practices. He is particularly interested in questions of class culture, democracy and socialism in the context of the history of the English working class. E.P. Thomson along with Williams conceives of culture as lived and ordinary, though he is also concerned with that which he sees as not cultural but socio-economic. For E.P. Thompson, class is an historical phenomenon forged and created by people; it is not a ‘thing’, but a set of social relations and experiences. [5]

The concept of ideology has been further developed by Marxian thinkers like Althusser and Gramsci. For Althusser, ideology is a system of representations (images, myths, ideas or concepts) and is conceived as a practice which is lived and transforms the material world. In this sense ideology is relatively autonomous from other levels (e.g. economy), though determined by it ‘in the last instance’. Althusser argues that ideology hails or interpellates concrete individuals as concrete subjects. It has the function of constituting concrete individuals as subjects. In simple terms, ideological discourse constructs subject positions or places for the subject from which the world makes sense. For Althusser, ideology functions in two ways. One way is it constitutes the real conditions of the people’s lives; it constitutes the world views by which people live and experience the world. Ideology is lived experience. In that sense, ideology is not false for it forms the very categories and systems of representation by which social groups render the world intelligible. In another way, ideology is also conceived of as a more elaborate set of meanings which make sense of the world in ways which misrecognise and misrepresent power and class relations. Ideology is said to represent the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence. For Althusser ideology exists in an apparatus and its associated practices; consequently, he goes on to designate a series of institutions like family, education system, religion and the mass media as ideological apparatus.
Gramsci explained this in better way by introducing the concept of hegemony. For him, hegemony implies a situation where a historical bloc of ruling-class factions exercises social authority and leadership over the subordinate classes through a combination of force and, more importantly, consent. A hegemonic bloc never consists of a single socio-economic category but is formed through series of alliances in which one group takes on a position of leadership. Ideology plays a crucial part in allowing this alliance of groups to overcome narrow economic-corporate interests in favor of national-popular dominance. Thus, a cultural-social unity is achieved ‘through which a multiplicity of dispersed wills, with heterogeneous aims, are welded together with a single aim, as the basis of an equal and common conception of the world.’ The building, maintenance or subversion of a common conception of the world is an aspect of ideological struggle involving a transformation of understanding through criticism of the existing popular ideologies.
Though ideology can take the form of coherent set of ideas, it more often appears as fragmented meanings of common sense inherent in a variety of representations. For Gramsci, all people reflect upon the world and, organize their lives and experience. Thus common sense becomes a crucial site of ideological conflict and, in particular, the struggle to forge ‘good sense’, which for Gramsci, is the recognition of class character of capitalism. Common sense is the most significant site of ideological struggle because it is the terrain of the ‘taken for granted’, a practical consciousness which guides the actions of the everyday life. More coherent sets of philosophical ideas are contested and transformed in the domain of common sense. Thus Gramsci is concerned with the character of popular thought and popular culture. As he explains, ‘Every philosophical current leaves behind it a sediment of ‘common sense’; this is the document of its historical effectiveness. Common sense is not rigid and immobile but is continually transforming itself, enriching itself with scientific ideas and with philosophical opinions which have entered ordinary life. Common sense creates the folklore of the future, that is as the relatively rigid phase of popular knowledge at a given place and time.’[6]
Unlike most of the western societies, India is not fully a capitalist society and as it has not came out of feudal society. In addition to this it was under the clutches of colonialism for a long time. Even after getting freedom, the colonial structures created by the west had influence in everyday life practices. To understand the culture one has to take into consideration the specific character of Indian society. The political struggles of nationalist movements and democratic struggles of post-independent India produced the culture used extensively for propagation of political ideals at popular level. Naxalite movement is one such democratic movement that has given new meaning to the culture of the people (masses) and made a serious attempt to reach out to the people through their own cultural forms. Jana Natya Mandali (JNM) which produced the singer-performer Gaddar is the cultural organization supporting the political ideology of Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh.
The cultural phenomenon of Gaddar is linked with the struggles of the people. The struggle creates the consciousness among the people to construct/ reproduce their own culture to fight oppressive social relationships. The terrain of the common sense, as Gaddar identifies goes against the dominant hegemonic common sense. In other words, there is a conscious effort to produce/create counter- hegemony to the dominant through popular cultural forms that are rooted in the lived social experiences of people. Gaddar picks up the folk cultural forms with which people identify at large. Most of the folk forms may have conservative connotations in the present. So he makes it more political and effectively uses them for the political mobilization. The genre, the form, the content, the tune and the musical instruments, all have got totally revolutionized under the cultural performance of Gaddar and have been used for revolutionary cause. Further this politicized folk form also stands against the so called popular culture produced by the dominant class through cinema and mass media. The Gaddar phenomenon reveals that ideological representation of popular culture matters a lot since it plays a significant role in creating meaning or understanding by the people.

Historical background of Jana Natya Mandali (JNM) and Gaddar

One can not understand Gaddar in isolation to the cultural organization Jana Natya Mandali (JNM) of Telugu society. JNM came into existence with Naxalite struggles. Further JNM maintains the historical continuity of progressive literary culture produced by communist ideology and its struggles. The communist ideology influenced Telugu society in the field of literature and culture since forties. The communist party was formed in Andhra Pradesh in the year 1933.The struggles inspired by the communist ideology paved the way for progressive literature and culture as against the classical conservative literary culture. The Progressive Writers Association (known as Abhyudaya Rachayitala Sangam, in short, Arasam in Telugu) was formed in the year 1943, and gave new direction to literature and peoples arts. This literary space emerged out of the anti-feudal, anti- colonial and anti-fascist struggles. The Telangana peasant struggle of 1946-51 came with new aspirations; the literature and cultural forms become inseparable from the struggles of peasants. With the intensification of peasant struggles, Praja Natya Mandali as a cultural platform came into existence to reach out to the people and for effective propaganda of communist ideology. Through this, many writers, artists and poets from the lower strata of society were introduced. They gave literary and artistic expression to the living culture and social experiences of people. Altogether, forms like poetry, novel, song and Burrakatha got prominence with this literary cultural movement. With the repression on the movement (1948), many writers either withdraw or were forced to the film industry. The ruling class established themselves with the rhetoric of democracy, socialism and progress, though it worked against people in practice. This led to crisis in literary and cultural fields from 1955 till 1965. In the year 1964 CPI (M) was formed due to the differences it had with Communist Party of India. This is the time of political uncertainty everywhere and in many places Congress government got defeated. The Naxalbari movement of 1967 came as radical alternative to parliamentary politics and differed from the CPI (M) by supporting armed struggle. The Adivasi struggles of Sreekakulam of Andhra Pradesh set an exemplary in Naxalite politics. In the light of Naxalite struggles, Revolutionary Writers Association (in Telugu known as Viplava Rachayatala Sangham, in short, Virasam) was formed in the year 1970 further radicalizing the progressive politics and literature.
The political movements changed the literature and literary forms qualitatively and were also responsible for creation of new art forms of people. The new cultural form named Burrakatha[7] came into prominence in the midst of anti-fascist struggles to propagate the political conditions of the nation and to explain the communist ideology. It is a novel art form of the people born out of political necessity, from popular traditions of folklore in oral form and visual culture of Yaksha gana’[8].Nazar is the prominent artist of this form and is dedicated to Praja Natya Mandali. Though, literature had a mark on intellectuals and literate middle class, it failed to reach the masses. Mostly, the aspirations and taste of middle class got reflected in literature. The cultural form like Burrakatha, used by the party to propagate the struggles against zaminadari system and feudalism had impact on the masses. In contrast to literature, the artists in this field emerged from lower strata.
Though the middle class led the Sreekakulam armed struggles, there is little literature produced in forms like poetry and free verse. The literary cultural movement centered on people’s cultural forms. To propagate new democratic revolution and to reflect the spirit of revolution the cultural form selected was ‘song’. It is noticed that in bringing the revolutionary content into song, middle class cultural tastes were reflected/ carried since most of them came from that background. As a result, a new form of song with mixture of, oral and written style, language of common man and elite emerged.[9]
The content of the songs of Sreekakulam movement is qualitatively different from the Telangana liberation movement. Whereas in the songs of Telangana struggles resistance to feudal oppression and exploitation and life struggles of middle peasants and poor peasants got reflected, in the songs of Sreekakulam movement the content was strictly created from class consciousness, and armed struggle entered into the songs. At the same time it is critical about revisionist communists. ‘Song’ got revolutionalized with Sreekakulam armed struggle. There is a serious quest to reinvent the powerful popular tunes of the people for a remarkable political expression. Local diction was also reflected in the songs at this time. Vempatapu Satyam and Subbarao Panigrahi played a leading role in cultural and political struggles of this period. The cultural forms like Burrakatha and Janumkula Katha got popularity at this time.
Subbarao Panigrahi selected the Jamukula katha[10] in the similar line of Burrakatha to propagate political message. The conditions transformed him from the writer to performer. This is one of the qualitative changes. To identify with masses Subbarao Panigrahi selected the Jamukula katha, which is a popular art born that is performed professionally by the Bonies of Sreekakulam region, and he changed the form for political purpose. Subbarao Panigrahi’s Jamukula katha was not totally similar to the cultural form Jamukula katha of Bonies. It had the elements of Burrakatha since he himself performed that form. In this, prayer, satire, songs with popular tunes, the method of explaining politics are borrowed from Burrakatha[11].
In the cultural forms, like Burrakatha of Nazar of Praja Natyamandali and Jamukula Katha of Subbarao Panigrahi had roots in folklore. They politicized the folklore to meet their contemporary political interests. The folklore as such they selected was not progressive. Often it came in support of feudal interests and in religious garb. Interestingly, these forms had got popularity in propagation of Shaivism of Bakti tradition. Oggukatha is a similar kind of cultural form used by a community named Yadavas in Telangana region. In the post- Sreekakulam struggles Gaddar of Jana Natya Mandali further radicalized the form and content in the similar line of Nazar and Subbarao Panigrahi. It had a popular appeal.

Gummadi Vittal Rao was born in a poor Dalit family of Telangana region. He was bright in school studies and active in cultural performances. He dropped out of engineering course due to financial problems. In early days he organized a Burrakatha troupe and named it ‘Bapuji Burrakatha party’ and gave performances for the field publicity Department, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Initially he gave performances on family planning and later on Allure Seetharamaraju , a hero of Rampa rebellion of 1922-24 against British imperialism. For some time he worked as a manual labourer in a chemical factory. In the year 1971, the contact with ‘Art lovers’, led by B. Narsinga Rao totally changed his world view and he became politically committed. This is the time of turmoil of the nation. The Naxalbari politics got rooted and there was Sreekakulam armed struggle led by tribals under CPI (ML) leadership. Vittal Rao was very much inspired by the heroic sacrifices made by the leaders Vempatapu Satyam, Adibatla Kailasam, Dr. Changanti Bhaskara Rao. The Art Lovers Asociation on the initiative of Gaddar changed as Jana Natya Mandali (JNM). Vittal Rao changed his name to Gaddar as a tribute to Gadar Party of Punjab under the leadership of Hardayal who gave a stubborn resistance to British colonial exploiters between 1913 and 1930.He staged ‘Rythu coolie’ Burrakatha performance extensively in the initial days of JNM. Prior to Jana Natyamandali, there was only literary organization to propagate the ideology of Srikakulam armed struggle, Revolutionary Writers Association, popularly known as Virasam in Telugu. It could not reach out to the masses and was confined to writers and intellectuals. Jana Natya Mandali was born out of historical necessity and Gaddar filled this gap as no other artist ever could.[12] Initially, he experimented with the art form Burrakatha, later he adopted several other folk art forms to express his ideology. The undercurrent of all the art form is song. The popularity of Gaddar’s songs cut across the barriers of region, dialect and social status. JNM under the guidance of Gaddar discovered several poets, artists and performers and trained them to spread the message of revolution. Gaddar’s discovery of folk art forms has to be understood in tune with the demonstrative effectiveness the principle of ‘from the masses to masses’ to propagate revolutionary ideology. In his own words, ‘From people to people’ is explained in the following manner:
To collect material from people’s lives
To adapt people’s forms
To store the content of people’s/lives and songs
To give those form revolutionary direction and thrust, and
Teach it to people again…it is a process.’[13]
The JNM produced more than two thousand songs and performed thousands of times all over the nation with varied audiences. Most of the songs are still alive and people own it passionately. More than three lakh copies of the books of songs of JNM are sold and its audio cassettes are popular in almost all the villages of Andhra Pradesh. The government used to keep a watch on the songs playing. In every day life activities of the masses these songs provide strength and motivate them to fight against exploitation. By playing these songs in public on occasions, the people send the signal of protest against the landlords in their village and against the existing system.
Gaddar has not only sings a song, but performs it. His rustic voice and vibrant body which sways to the rytham of a song and especially the social connections he makes, brings to life the spirit of the lyric. It is difficult to evaluate in convential principles of aesthetics. He has evolved his own aesthetics. The aesthetics of his art is located in his commitment to the cause he believes in. The people’s movement in Andhra Pradesh has produced Gaddar. Gaddar has spread the message of the movement far and wide. The significance of Gaddar cannot be understood unless we put him in context. He is not an isolated ‘great artist’. Gaddar is both a phenomenon and also a product of a phenomenon. But a phenomenon like Gaddar is extremely rare in any language. It is not for nothing that literary artists call the present age in Telugu poetry as ‘the age of Gaddar’[14]. The growing importance and popularity of Gaddar can be understood from the alleged state attack on him on April 6, 1997. He miraculously escaped from death and still survives having a bullet in his body. The following song by Bhoopal explains the context in which attack on Gaddar took place:

‘Jamedari koyalo jamedari koyalaa
Gaddarannapatavinaka niddurapolevate
Anna agamavvaledu.. kannulatadipettake jamedari koyala

Kalanagupeeke kammanipatunnade
Donga yedurukalpullodorikinalayalunnave
Dalita hakkula kosam pegilina patunnade
Anagarina telangana aasala sodalunnave
Patameeda total petche kutra chandrababude
Prajayuddhanouka padilangane vundile’ [15]

He emerged as a human rights activist, leader of both Mala and Madiga dalit subcastes, and symbol of telangana agitation. In simple words he becomes a culmination point of all alternative struggles of telugu society. In the digital era, he established himself as the most popular figure of media than any political leader or artist of India. The late nineties Telugu cinema tried to imitate the Gaddar in carrying the role of revolutionary. His songs are popular through the audio cassettes. So far he has written three thousand songs and thirty five audio cassettes have been released on different themes. More than three lakhs copies of JNM songs have been sold.[16] He established a perfect link between civil society and democratic struggles of people and posed as a powerful negotiator- mediator between people and the state. The ruling classes sensed his growing popularity early and considered him as a threat in future.
Gaddar after his release from jail in the year 1990, has prefered to confirm himself civil society and is committed to conscientize masses in all possible ways. With the intensified struggles of Maoist party and growing repression and ban on its activities by the state, the cultural organization, JNM too was forced to work underground organization. In this situation, Gaddar remains outside organizing his programmes by forming cultural troups like ‘Jajjanakare’, ‘Praja Kala Mandali’. His voice is felt in the meetings of all alternative movements like dalits, women, telangana. Though he has performed in all these platforms, but has maintained the stand of Maoist party. This is also the time he published many books and released audio cassettes of JNM. He had started a school named Mahabhodhi in line of providing alternative education. Later in the capacity of secretary of AILRC (All India League for Literature and Revolutionary Culture) he toured all over India by performing and organizing cultural programmes in support of new democratic revolution. In the year 2004, he was one of the emissaries of Maoist party to hold peace talks with government of Andhra Pradesh.

Politicization of folklore

Folklore is the rich source for any cultural movement of contemporary times. Folklore is effectively used by religious groups, feudal lords, nationalists, capitalists and communists to meet their political ends. Folklore is the collective wisdom of the people and has had historical continuity. Mostly it is carried through oral tradition by invoking the social memory of the people. Basically, folk art forms spontaneously emerged out of the labour and everyday life experiences of the masses. In Indian context, the social groups involved in labour mostly belong to the lower castes. In this sense, folklore is marked by identity of lower castes. In Andhra Pradesh, each caste of lower strata specialized in a particular art form. The cultural forms are popularly identified with caste[17]. These art forms had undergone significant changes with changing contexts. The social groups involved in this process played a decisive role in giving ideological direction. The popular modern art form like cinema emerged out of modern drama. It is argued that the roots of modern drama are in folklore, Veedhinatakalu (street play)[18]. In Andhra there is a rich tradition of Veedhibhagatam or veedhinatakam. These folk forms are popular with the respective social category like yanadulu, golla, mala, chenchu. All these castes are untouchable castes. It is believed that the Veedhibhagavatas evolved from Yakshagana. Yakshagana is the oldest and popular art form in south India. Since the Yakshus performed this exclusively, the musical song is known as yakshagana. Mostly it was performed by the Jakkus, a social class, which, it is considered transformed into Yakshu.[19] It was argued these Jakkus migrated from Simhala nation to south India. Yakshagana was mostly patronized by the ruling kings even from the 15th century. It is not only confined to mythological stories but also gave importance to issues of everyday life activities.
The performers move around the stage gajjelu to their legs and moving rhythmically while dancing. The dance goes in tune with musical instruments. All the characters collectively sing and dance. They dance for every song. The instruments they use are maddela, talalu and harmonium.[20]
The cultural form used by the communists for the propaganda of their ideology was Burrakatha[21]. The early form of Burrakatha was Jangam katha. It got this name since mostly these were performed by the Jangam community. These people usually worship shiva. They used it effectively for propagation of shaiva religion in competition with vaishnava religion and made this popular form. It seems they were popular even prior to veerashaivism of 1150 A. D.[22] After his, their stories were mostly in veera rasa since they were propagators of veerashaivism.
In all the living folk art forms of today, song lives undercurrent. The very folkform is run by song- in the popular folk forms of Telugu society like Chirutala Ramayanam, Kolatam, Bhagotham, stories and Burrakathas, Chitraveshalu, Yeruka, Turrumama, Fakir. This may be the reason feudal lords and bourgeoisie selected song as the prime form than any other. Modern drama was born in the times of capitalism. After some time it was not much effective and was unable to penetrate deep into villages.

Song as centre of peoples’ culture

‘Song is a discussion of contradictions of life written in a particular tune’. Song emerged from the collective. It came out of labour. People’s song came out spontaneously with their involvement in labour of everyday life. In that sense, it is difficult to differentiate song from life of the people. Song undergoes transformation with changing mode of production. Ata, Pata, talam-ragam, natana, vyayamam were born out of and sustained with collective labour. The content of the song is the method of involvement of labour (way of work).The sound that came out of the work is the thal of song. The movement of the body in the work is action/performance of the song. Working together is singing together. The tune depends on the work. Song is carried on with the work and entertains in the course of work. The people who are part of the work are part of song. Any work has its order and develops and ends accordingly. The group song imitates this order. Any individual starts a song and if he is tired somebody will take the lead and continue it further.
The song goes along with performance. The song which is linked up to the everyday life activity, generally goes with the movement of the body and the movements will ultimately form a performative action. This natural performative action spontaneously involves the audience into its fold.
The ‘song’ is powerful popular medium not only for revolutionary politics but also to feudal lords and capitalists. Compared to any other art form, song had many positive points. It was in no way a hurdle to work. It entertained and induced work. It was easy to understand and could change with conditions. In fact, song means a ‘laya’, a ‘raga’. It has the power to involve people and make them think. It carries easily from one to another orally. Once it is owned, it is difficult to destroy or to ban it. Through song one may convey the content precisely and in a straightforward manner.
The folk song has changed a lot by falling in the hands of bourgeoisies and feudal lords. The real content of the folk song has got distorted. One can see the feudal culture in today’s popular songs. The popular song got patronized by the feudal and capitalist classes to meet their political ends. There may be no significant change in the tunes of folk song, but it may have ideas of conservative content. The solution the songs offered for the suffering masses looked at God, fate, or devil. It did not have political message. Some of the songs on women subordinate them to the system and are vulgar, and insulting. Even today the culture of folk songs is still alive in the lower strata of society like Dalit, Adivasi and artisan communities. In other words they are alive where the feudal relations are strong enough.

Song of feudal system: In the Bhakti times, the powerful collective song is in the form of bhajana. The feudal lords used this cultural form for the exploitation of masses. They took up this from the people and destroyed the original content and filled the songs with their content. The leisured class of this period lived among the people and took the advantage of the blind beliefs of the masses. The bhajanas were carried in people’s language and tunes by adding Bhakti with it and again imposing it on the people. By inserting feudal ideas they hegemonised the art and cultural forms of labour and ultimately succeeded in bringing the masses under their control. In times of Bhakti movement, the artists wrote many bhajanas and keerthanas and lived among the masses and made their livelihood from this. Most of the songs were backward looking and reactionary. They picked up the peoples art forms, instruments, and tunes dedicated to the art, but the content is not of the people.

Song of capitalist system: In our country, the capitalist songs did not overthrow/destroy the songs of the feudalism. The capitalist exploitator did not find its necessity. In analysis of any song of the capitalist one can find its history: it looks like the combination of feudal and capitalists. In a country like ours, there are few songs that represent typical capitalism i.e. song coming out of machines and industries. There is no possibility of these songs reaching the Indian villages. The semi-feudal and semi- colonial nature of Indian economic system reflects in its cultural field. In the industrial age, the group songs were replaced by solo songs. A machine brings the change in the work and speeds up the work. The machine replaced collective labour and there will be no songs while working. The capitalist system came out with solo songs and used it as powerful instruments of exploitation. Moreover, the capitalists don’t allow any group activity, as also the collective song and this reflected in the songs. The capitalist ultimately aims at profit. Since our nation is not industrial nation, the culture of feudalism is not eradicated fully. The machines bring about the change in work, so also the change in song. In capitalist times, song is thrown out of the work and consumes leisure. The solo songs are the weapons of the bourgeoisie class.

Song is powerful medium used effectively by cultural movements of alternative politics. The folk song was born out of labour, whereas revolutionary song came and lived at every change of society. The popular revolutionary song was born out social movements. It lived along with the movements /struggles of society. It brings the change in tunes along with changes in its content. It is progressive and had a clear vision of the future. It makes the people aware of the exploitative system and makes them politically conscious. The revolutionary song makes a conscious effort to enliven the people’s culture by destroying its anti- democratic elements. The song goes in the line of revolutionary politics. It stands as criticism. All the sections of the society own these songs except the exploitative class. It got popularity among all the social groups, where the struggles made a mark on the people. The revolutionary song is not only entertaining but it also makes song more meaningful for the people. The JNM identified that it should carry its cultural performance or songs through group. It decided to reach the labour class by entering into their leisured time. For them, song is the medium to propagate revolutionary ideas. They changed the song in many ways-in tune, dialect, content and conclusion. For Gaddar , song means a discourse, initiating a discussion, to know about truth and keeping the truth in practice. The source for Gaddar’s songs is folklore. He differentiates the folk song of the people from the revolutionary folk song.
Roughly it is estimated that Gaddar had written and composed more than three hundred songs. He is a trend setter for thousands of songs of JNM. Every song was born out of historical necessity and reflects the respective stage of the struggle. The song goes along with the struggle. It is linked up with the phase of the struggle. The JNM started its song by narrating the everyday life of masses and pleading with them to form sangham and to fight against exploitation. In the stage of protest, after having the structure of sangham, it gives the call to inevitability of protest. In the phase of armed struggle, it gave the call to masses- ‘struggle is your way and get your rights through fighting’. So, one is reminded of the stage of the struggle in analyzing the song. To assess song one has to have the knowledge of the phase of the struggle like songs of the phase of propaganda, songs of the phase of protest. Thus in analyzing any song, one has to keep in mind the phase of the struggle during which the song came in to existence. The movement has different phases-propaganda, infant stage, peak stage, setback, oppression, extension, phase of losing. The JNM song came after the set back of Srikakulam struggle. This song essentially focused on ‘Long live Sreekakulam’, ‘Long live Naxalbary’, ‘Sacrifices of martyrs don’t go waste’, ‘the ultimate win for Agrarian Revolution’ and ‘Victory for Revolution’. JNM had a powerful imprint on the minds of people with growing importance of Gaddar as its cultural leader.

Revolutionary Song of Gaddar

Gaddar’s song goes along with the struggles of Indian society, especially of Telugu society. The struggles influenced his ideological position too. From the mid 1970s to mid 1980s he wrote and performed many songs on martyrs of revolutionary struggle. The song goes in the line of Maoist revolutionary party that identified Indian society as semi- feudal and semi- colonial. The song centred on masses in the name of peasant and agricultural coolies (Rytu -cooleelu). The crux of his song is struggle, and come out from oppression. As a Marxist, he identified the unequal relations in the society due to appropriation of property by a few people. The song titled ‘Bharatadem Bhaghyaseemara’ reveals unequal relationships in Indian society and exposes the primary contradiction of the Indian society though we have rich resources, why there exists poverty:
‘Bharatadesam bhagyaseemara
Sakalasampadalaku koduvaledura
Bangarupantala bhumulunnayi
Chavulenimari jeevanadulura
Sakalasampadalagal desamlo
Daridrametlundiro Nayana…’[23]
(In this he sings saying that the country of India is prosperous with no dearth of resources, fertile lands that give gold, perennial rivers and such a prosperous country poverty is ruling).
In a similar tone he explains the fate of productive classes/castes as,
‘Kammaroni intlabutti
Kattipeeta suttileka
Kummaroni intlabutti
Pindakudu kundaleka
Vodloni intla butti vulibdseku pidileka
Salolla intlabutti
(In this he highlights the plight of traditional jobs taken by particular caste groups and how they are alienated from their own produce. For instance he says that in spite of being born into a blacksmith's family I dont have sickle and hammer...)
In the time of Emergency, Indian society underwent severe crisis due to inflation. The prices of basic commodities were hiked. On this JMM had a song, which is even popular today:
‘Yemkone dattuledu
Emi tine dattuledu
Darlitla perutunte Nagulo Naganna’.[25]
(Commenting on the price hike due to inflation, he sang saying that due to the price hike, nothing is affordable and nothing is there to eat. In this song he addresses the common man).
The popular JNM song ‘Kondalu Pagalesinam’ very strikingly explains the exploitation of the labour. The undercurrent of all these songs is, even though we (the working class) are working day and night and are responsible for all the wealth of the landlord/capitalist/nation and why is there is no change in our life; why the productive classes have to starve; in simple Marxian terms how the surplus is generated at the cost of exploiting labour.
Gaddar not only narrates the oppression and exploitation of masses but also develops the confidence among the masses. His song essentially engages in making the masses to revolt against the system. The song ‘Ooru manadira’ :
Eevurumandira -eevada mandaira
Paratipaniki manamra.
Sutti manadi.. katti manadi…
dorayendiro vadi peekudendiro.[26] These words develop confidence among the villagers by asserting that this village is ours and every work is done by us .Then, who is this Dora (landlord)? What is his greatness? What right does he have to exercise power over us? This song was written by Guda Anjaiah in revolt against the feudal oppression in Telangana. This is popular through the voice of Gaddar. Like any Marxist, Gaddar believes that society is always in a dynamic state and the working class will never be silent and will revolt against the system for a better life. So ‘Change’ is the underlying principle of his songs. He firmly believes that change will be brought about in organizing the masses under a revolutionary party. In a song ‘Aagaduu Agadu’, he sings that the ordinary people who are starving will definitely lead the armed struggle:

‘Aagadu aagadu aagadu
Ee aakali poru aagadu
Ee dopidi palana anthem varaku
Ee sayudha poru aagadu
Chhemala dandulu kadilinai
Pamula gundelu adirinai
Avula mandalu kadilinau
Pululu parugulu teesinai.’[27]
(He invokes the illustration saying that the army of ants started marching and of snakes' hearts are pounding. The herds of cows started moving, seeing that lions started running away. This he draws parallel to the mass movements of working class fighting against the landlords. By invoking day to day life illustrations Gaddar was able to make an impact on the thinking of people.)
Gaddar had a clear vision of what comprises class in Indian context. In order to mobilize the people under revolutionary party, he composed songs on all the social categories of Indian society. There is a good number of songs on ‘peasants’, ‘agricultural coolie’ and ‘industrial workers’. He translated the term ‘class’ through his songs in the concrete terms of Indian social reality. The songs identified with dalit subcastes (Yelaro ee madiga batukulu, banchan banchan gulaponni ), railway workers (gangollamandi), stone quarry workers (vadderollamandi), gardeners (hamalilu), Rikshaw pullers ( rikshaw wala) ,women workers of agriculture (Sirimalle chettukinda lachumammo)[28], Beedi workers (mogollanotlo beedilai), Coal mine workers (singareni ghani karmikulu, ‘banda kinda batkulu’, ‘singareni ceeti vini’), RTC drivers(driveranna).He tries to unite all these groups under a ‘labour class’ in a song:
‘Rikshaw tokke Rahimanna
Rallu kotte Ramanna
Driver Mallanna
Nee kunna astanta rendu rekkalenanna..’[29]These songs will appeal directly to the concerned sections. They own these songs as the song of their lives.
Though there are countless number of songs on feudal oppression and on the on- going struggles against feudal lords, Gaddar had given equal importance to the situation of workers in transition from feudalism to capitalism. Capitalism works on the extensive use of machines and produces goods in large scale. Its ultimate goal is profit by expanding its market. It commodifies everything. Human relations are based on value of utility. Life becomes mechanical. In the line of Marxism, he had many songs. The song ‘Yentrametla tirugutuvundante’[30], Gaddar explains the process of production of goods by machines and how it sucks the blood of labourer. One may get the essence of capitalism from this song in relation to exploitation of workers. In another song he captured the very common scenario of cities, the rikshaw pullar. The song ‘Rikshawwala’ set in the tone of Rikshaw puller not only bursts out his miseries , but also ridicules capitalism in a subtle form-I’ll run my rikshaw with by blood, my blood is ‘petrol’ to my Rikshaw.
‘Raktamto naduputanu rikshanu
Naaraktame narikshaku petrolu’.[31]

Gaddar is very critical of existing Indian nation-state. He believes that, as the Maoist party characterizes it, it has the character of semi -feudal and semi- colonial character. The ruling hegemonic bloc is feudal lords, industrialists, elitist and bourgeoisie class. It is obviously to target the exploitation of these groups in his songs. As he identified his audience, rytu collies, artisans in villages and labourers and petty bourgeoisies in towns find place in his songs.[32] In simple words, he aimed at struggles of these groups for land and livelihood, as he sings against this hegemony:
‘Tata Birala, Bhuswamulu
Pettanani patipetti
Dapputo dandora veyanna
Rytanna neevu
Aayudhaluku pooja seyanna
…Mundu mundukalam neederanna.’

Gaddar finds the link from village landlord to imperialist countries:

‘Jago re…
Jagore jago jago
Duniyaka dushman hain Amerika Rashya
Unke dalal hain Tata Birla
Unkee gulam hai deshkee netha
Unkke chenche hai gavkee jalim
Inke ladana hai jagore’ (in Hindi)[33]
Gaddar experimented this song by taking the tune of African negro song- naru…ooh…oohho/ oh…..ooh.. ooohho (humming). He considers that most of the third world nations are still agrarian. The artists and writers pick up many tunes of the people from the lives of these productive classes. Under the similar conditions, the selection of these kinds of tunes will have success anywhere in third world nations.
Gaddar composed considerable number of songs on blind beliefs of religion. His songs urged the people to overcome ignorance. The religious Guru Saibaba claims himself as God. He makes his devotees believe by producing ‘vibuthi’ and other articles in fake ways in the name of divine power. The song on Saibaba exposes his magic and ridicules him. Gaddar through this satirical song ask: you are so powerful, why don’t you use your power to save the nation which is under crisis.
‘Sayibaabo sannayi babo
Nee sangatanta telisindi sayibabo.
Mana desam deva saibaboo
Nee rigula juttunundi saibaboo
Vungaralu deestavanta….
Makavoddu ivoddu
Budida gummadi kayi ivvu
Mem vodiyalu pettukuntamra..
petrolukaruvaye ninnetkelli memo samudramlo munchutamura’ [34]
(He challenges Sai Baba to give pumpkins from his curly hair instead of golden rings, so that at least we can eat).
He ridiculed the very birth of Ayyappa swamy the popular religious phenomenon these days. The song goes in the tune of Ayyappa bhajana:
‘ Swamiye saranam ayyappa
Ma kompa munchinav ayyappa
Mogodu mogodu kalsukunte
Nuvu yettabuttinav ayyappa.’
(Questioning the rationale behind the idea of Ayyappa Swamy, Gaddar sings a song saying how a person is born out of relation between two men).

The religious fundamentalism triggered communal tensions in late eighties with the rise of hindutva forces. The hindutva forces got mobilized with the agenda of construction of temple for Rama at Ayodhya at the cost of collapsing the Babri masjid. He opposes the atrocities going on in the name of religion:
‘Sreeramuni sirasu chitaka- Allaku aggi tagala
Naa mukkuchevulu kostero Matam Mundakodaka
Maa Gudiseku nuppedtiro Matam Mundakodaka..’

Dalit and women’s movements of telugu society has started influencing Gaddar in a significant way from the decade of eighties. In fact, these movements are critical of Marxists movements in relation to understanding of caste and gender. Naxalite movement was not exception for their criticism. Till then Naxalite party was not serious about issues of caste and gender. Dalit movement forced all the alternative movements to understand Indian social reality from the point of caste, in addition to class point of view. Women’s movement put forth the issue of patriarchy. These movements had different strategies in emancipation of Dalits and women. In the literary- cultural realm of telugu society emerged the feminist and Dalit literature. This kind of environment even pushed the Naxalite movements into crisis. In the left parties, both parliamentary and Naxalite parties started debating the issue of caste. This kind of political atmosphere facilitated Gaddar to bring his song in more concrete social reality of Indian society. Being a dalit, he is an internal critique of Maoist party on the issue of caste. Being nurtured in Maoist political struggle, he is critical about the Dalit movements and its strategies to reach out to the powers. Gaddar emerged as link between Naxalite party and Dalit movement, not only as singer but also as a theoretician with commitment. In comparison with the language of political rhetoric of Marxists, Gaddar’s cultural language comes close to the life styles of toiling masses. In the backdrop of dalit movement he too changed his language from identifying people earlier with ‘coolie’ and ‘labourer’ to Malas and Madigas. The significant transformation can be seen from his earlier songs calling with coolanna (Coolie brotherhood) to his songs of eighties with ‘Dalita pululamma’(Dalit tigers).It is true that his early songs centered around coolies, peasants. He sings for ‘Coolie Rajyam’. It does not mean that, Gaddar is not sensitive about issues of caste. Even prior to dalit movement, he came with a song ‘Yelaro ee Madiga batukulu’. In the song ‘Rajyadhikaraniki Malanna’, he categorically explains there will be no change in the lives of dalits unless and until you get political power. Even if you change your caste or religion, there will be no change in your life .For this armed struggles is the only way:

‘Bhanchan bhanchanantu
Guloponni dora antu
Yennalu bhatukutavu Malannaa
Yeduru tiragavemiro Madiganna
Nuvvu Matam marchukunna
Nee batuku maradanna
Neevu Kulam marchukunna
Neeku kudu dorakadanna
Neevu rajyamekunda
Nee rata maradanna
Rajyadikaranki -Malanna
Neevu riflundunkovaro- Madiganna’[35]
(In this song he appeals to the Dalit community of Andhra especially Mala and Madiga caste groups saying that converting into different religion won’t change their lives, even if they change their caste also their fate wont change.)

In the post- Mandal period, Gaddar was influenced by the dalit struggles of Andhra. He began to rework his literary frame from a class- centered discourse to caste –centered one, and with this shift began to acquire a mass base beyond the ambit of Marxist –Leninist organizations. With every passing year he made an increasing impact on the festive Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations. Though the state resisting his presence at state organized functions, Dalit masses, including those who disagreed with his Marxism, welcomed Gaddar. He was now seen as icon of the Dalit Bahujans. Gradually his image spread to cinema and through it, his imagery, language and songs became part of the middle class. [36]

In Telugu society, Karamchedu massacre is land mark in dalit politics. Six dalits were killed by upper caste Kamma landlords in the year 1985. The Kamma community is the support base of the then ruling party, Telugu Desam Party led N. T. Rama Rao. Thus the Kamma caste group emerged as the neo-Kshatriyas of Andhra Pradesh. The self- respect of dalits was understood as the threat to the dominance of the Kamma landlords. This led to the confrontation of both communities. In response to this, Dalits of Andhra mobilized in large scale in support of victims of Karamchedu. The issue of caste came to the forefront and the word ‘Dalit’ got prominence with political mobilization of Malas and Madigas under the banner of Dalit Maha Sabha. Unlike earlier times, Dalits of Karamchedu stood against the upper caste for self- respect. With the rising consciousness among Dalits, decided to no more surrender to the upper caste hegemony. In the words of Gaddar :
‘Dalita pululamma—Dalita pululamma
Karamchedu bhuswamulutoni
Kalabadi nilabadi poruchesinaa
(Gaddar invoked the struggle led by Dalits in Karamchedu in the form of a song in order to campaign and sensitize Dalits. The song goes as praise saying, the dalits of Karamchedu fought against the feudal lords like lions.)

Karamchedu massacre followed by Chunduru massacre in which eight Dalits were killed by upper caste Reddy land lord community in the year 1991.Gaddar sings this time to finish the hegemony of Chunduru landlords:
‘Chunduru dalitanna- randiro dalitanna-dandu kattudamu
Chunduru bhuswamula gori kattudamu’.
(Leading the movement Gaddar gave a call to the dalits of Chunduru saying, oh! dalit brotherhood of Chunduru come and form a army we will build a graveyard for the landlords of Chunduru.)

Gaddar believes that the liberation of dalits is linked up with land struggle. He emphasizes on the need of united struggle of caste with the struggles of class:
‘Annalara dalitannalara-mayanna porannalara
Adigi chudu adilabadu-karinnagarulo kastajeevulu
Bhumikosam bukti kosam-bariselettinaru bakulettinaru
Dalita jeevula vimukti poru-bhumiporuto mudipadivundi.
Kulaporu varga poru kalsi porudam.
Bhuporuto mana poru modalupettudam’
(In one song, he appeals to the fraternity of dalits saying that the fight against caste is invariably linked up with the class fight and hence he appeals to the dalit community saying caste and land struggles are linked and only such linking can lead to a logical conclusion.)
In the year 1991, the upper caste youth opposed the reservations intended for other backward caste in government services. Arun Shourie is the source of inspiration for the youth and he wrote extensively in support of anti -reservation movement. Gaddar attacked him through his song: ‘what do you know about the suffering of hunger’: ‘Ore Arunushourigo neeku akali badhemi telusu’. Further, in the post- Mandal context, he focused on the issue of untouchability. The condemned life-styles of the dalits transformed into a symbol of protest. He had songs on chappal(Kirru Kirru seppuloyamma!), Garbagge Bin (Yenta Chakkagunnadee- Na Chettakundi), Payakhana (Sundarangi Paikana).[38] Gaddar believes that everything has a social purpose. Moreover, these are identified with a specific caste in Indian society. The status of a man is decided based on his occupation and this is attributed to a caste. People, who are engaged with this kind of work, were looked down by the so called upper caste. Through these songs, he made an effort to bring dignity and respect to these things and so to the untouchables.
Gaddar wrote many songs with the influence of women’s movement of telugu society from the deacade of eighties. Till eighties, there is no focus on the specific issues of women. Women’s oppression is understood as part of class. There are not many songs exclusively focused on the problems of women. The songs he made had seen women only from revolutionary perspective- ‘Sirimalli chettu kinda luchumammo..luchumammo’[39], ‘Bavayyo vokkasari chusipova’[40] and ‘laskar bonalanta’, ‘Kongu nadumuki chuttave chellamma. One of the reasons might be there were few women in Naxalite movement. From nineties, there is considerable number of women joining the revolutionary struggle. With the influence of women’s movement, Gaddar composed many songs exclusively on the problems of women. Women’s movement made an attempt to expose hegemony of patriarchy in various forms. ‘O Lachagummadi’, ‘Adolla batuku, ‘Amma Nenu Bone’(on anti arrack movemt), Mogolla nollallo beedilai kaletollam (on Beedi workers).
‘Nindu Amavasyanadu ..O Lachagummadi
Ada pilla puttinade ..O Lachagummadi
Atta tongi sudaledu ..O Lachagummadi
Moguduu muddadarale ..O Lachagummadi’.[41] This is about the discrimination of women in patriarchal system that starts from their birth. This song had the message of making a woman to feel proud by their activities in fulfilling the meaningful life.

From the decade of the nineties, Indian state had undergone significant transformation. It had liberalized its economy and forced to privatization of the public sector under its control. Globalization is now taking place in full swing. The multi national companies in collaboration with transnational companies are coming in a big way. It has had an impact on the lives, culture and value system of people of third world nation like India.
The American imperialist is forcefully is entering into all spheres of life of third world nations. Early morning he comes in the form of tooth paste, in the after noon he comes in the form of coco- cola and evening in the form of rum and whisky. To control our consciousness, he lives with us in the form of Star TV. Resisting the war mongering imperialism Gaddar sings as:

‘Adugadugo adugosuduu
Amerkoo dostunduu
Japan germany todu
Amerkoo dostunduu
Bambula sanchulathoni
Bandukulu lodu chesi
Thallee Bharathi yedalameeda
Padalu mopindu suuduu’[42]
In the name of globalization, the imperialist dominance is mediating through mass media and information technology. Gaddar sings on the influence of Color Television:
‘Kayyam bettindiro
Kalar tv intlo kochi
Dayyam battindirioo
Naa pendlam poralaku
Etv, Zee Tv, Sun Tv
Star Tv, Tata Tv, Birla Tv
Amerika, Japanoni
Andamaina Tv nanukunta
Aadistundi illunantha’[43]
(Analysing the impact of satellite channels on the culture of Telugu society, Gaddar sang a song saying the channels culture has given rise to conflict in the family with all channels invading.)

The immediate effect of globalization could be seen in the suicides of a number of farmers and handloom workers. The song on the suicides of farmers (Oriselu adginayi?):
‘Voriselu adginayi
Neeru bose raitedani
Patti selu adiginayi
Netturu jalle raitedani
Avi pattakoni yedustunnayo-yenduko yemogani
Avi porli porli yedustunnayo- yenduko yemogani’[44]

Gaddar has a song on telugu nationalism, the nation imagined from the struugles of the people. (Amma Neeku Vandanam) .As a supporter of separate Telangana, Gaddar has songs on the Telangana. In ‘Dagabadda Telangana’ , he narrates how Telangana as a region is deprived by the ruling communities and praise the glory of Telangana .[45]

Gaddar stands out as a unique example of a person from the literary and cultural field that influenced both civil society and state institutions. For him, family, caste wadas, villages and cities are centres of ‘relations of production’. His theoretical discourse, which posits Matti Chetulu (the hands that turn mud into food) as the source of all production and social existence, combines Marxism and Ambedkarism to show how the matti manusulu (the human beings who have constant interaction with soil and nature- SCs,STs, OBCs) have no self of their own; that they are alienated from their very being through institutions such as caste, class, patriarchy and the state.
His songs critique all existing institutions. For him, family is a Mogoni Rajyam (Man’s kingdom). Caste is a Brahmin Rajyam ( Brahminical kingdom) and the state is an Agrakula dopidi Rajyam (Kingdom of upper caste exploitation).[46]
Gaddar songs have to be understood in relation to the nature of state and struggles of the people. In contemporary times, there are ongoing struggles of the people in the name of class, caste, gender, and region .Gaddar’s song was born out of the Naxalite movement that entered in Telugu society from late sixties. The movement has undergone different phases.[47] The Naxalite movement is spreading to many pockets of the nation and organizationally strengthening day by day. The state repression has increased over the movement. Many of the cadres of Naxalite party have been killed in police fake encounters. Gaddar had composed many songs in memory of the martyrs. He concludes his cultural performance with a song of ‘Lal Salam’ (Red Salute).He sings this song with total involvement to emotionally move his audiences. Interestingly, Gaddar had songs on police constables. He points out the state rather than these poor cops, are instrumental in killing many Naxalites. Gaddar had a song on police in the context of police strike of 1982:

‘Nasakinda meesakinda ninnu jaillo bettinaru
Neekunaku tedaledayyo o polisanna.
Porudappa dare ledayyo o polisanna…
Nannu kalsi sampinodu. Ninnu kalsi sampanundu
Nuvvu nenu yekamairo o polisanna
Kalchetonni kulchudamuro o polisanna’
(Through the above song, Gaddar gave a call to the police to join along with him in the fight against hegemony).

In a similar tone, he wrote a song ‘Potta Kuti Kosam Koduku’, from the point of view of the mother of a cop, who is on duty of government:
‘pottakuti kosam koduku
polisilla cherinadu
yeppudostado koduku- yemi tinnadoo
yada vunnado koduku- yemi tinnadoo’[48]
Gaddar’s songs have to be understood in context. It is evident that his song got sharpened further with the contemporary struggles of Telugu society. One should not assess his songs in isolation of the Naxalite struggle. His songs have more performative meaning than textual meaning. He claims no authorship or copy rights over his songs. He firmly believes that it is collective wisdom of the people. He humbly says that he had taken songs from the life and cultural traditions of people and is taking back to the people by playing the role of effective communicator. His songs provide rich resource material of the struggles and culture of the people, which are not entered in the official historical documents. Gaddar’s life and his song is a social document of revolution.

An analytical study of cultural Performance of Gaddar

For Gaddar (as in case with JNM), song means a discourse, initiating a discussion, to know about truth and keeping the truth in practice. As it is observed he can not finish a single sentence without song. He does not differentiate between the song and life of the people. He humbly portrays himself as a communicator of the life and struggles of the masses. The song got its meaningfulness through the performances of Gaddar. He is the voice of the voiceless people. His songs not only represent social aspirations of the marginalized suffering masses but also inform the direction to lead a meaningful life by joining hands with ongoing struggles of new democratic revolution. In making revolutionary culture, Gaddar’s songs reflect the perfect blend of life, literature and politics. Apart from setting the ideological tone, the song of Gaddar powerfully captures the folk tunes of the people for a political purpose. The song with tunes of the people is accompanied by the musical instruments of the people. (Song is a mixture of raga, thala and subject.) The song got its perfection in the performance. Over the years Gaddar and his JNM found that the principles of success of their songs are: ‘Prajala Bhani’, ‘Prajala Palukubadi’ and ‘Prajala Jeevitam.’[49] When the song fulfils all these, automatically people will own it.
The language used by the Gaddar (JNM) is language of the masses. The mainstream literature has the language of written culture. It is different from the language of the masses and everyday usage. It is often loaded with Sanskrit words. It was never released from the clutches of life and imagination of upper caste middle class. Even the progressive literature has never overcome this barrier. As a result it was confined to middle class. It did not serve any purpose or have any influence on illiterate masses though it claims to be for working class. Song, as a medium, always reaches the common man. Moreover, the language of the songs of Gaddar are simple, striking and is of the toiling masses. In simple words, language and life of the ordinary people got respect only through the songs of Gaddar. This phenomenon countered the hegemony of print culture. He uses the basic dalit- bahujan language, idiom and symbolism by completely transforming the linguistic structure of Telugu society. Before Gaddar emerged on the Telugu revolutionary literature scene, most writers belonged to the upper caste/middle class and landlord background. Their Telugu was rooted in Sanskrit while Gaddar’s writings draw upon linguistic structures, idioms, proverbs and euphemisms of illiterate, productive masses-what is more, of a Telangana dialect which finds no place in written texts. Gaddar, thus, established a link between the producing masses and literary text and, of course, that text established a link between masses and higher educational institutions….. but Gaddar used the song form to communicate to the masses a vision of restructuring the institutions of family, private property, civil society and the state.[50]

The music is inseparable from the song. It is debated in JNM, what kind of instruments to be used in their performances. The JNM is aware that their cultural form could not be in a position to compete with the capitalists and feudal forms unless until it is artistic and skillful in presentation. The instruments to be used in programmes goes according to the targeted audiences. The targeted audiences for the JNM programme are peasants and agricultural coolies (dalits), artisan communities in the villages, workers and petty bourgeoisie in cities. It is obvious that Dappu and Dolak remain as main instruments in the JNM programmes. It has experimented with many instruments going along with the interests of the people who join the JNM. The JNM experience reveals that Dappu and Dholak were with them till the end. Musical instruments are needed to be revolutionized. As Gaddar reminds us, when people are appreciating our music and are not bothered about the content, it means we have failed to revolutionize the music.[51]
Mostly, Gaddar had a grip over his audiences through his powerful tunes. The political message carried effectively through the tunes he selected from the lives of the people. He had thorough knowledge of the folk tunes. In Indian society, the folk tunes are born out of the involvement of people in production process of agriculture. People came out with their own tunes from the struggles of everyday life. The folk tune had the element of transforming and developing further. Gaddar believes that the usage of the folk tune gives the identification of the artist with people. Moreover the folk tune will be appropriate for the contemporary social conditions of Indian society since they were produced from the same agrarian set up.[52] Gaddar reached his audience of different languages of the nation with the help of folk tunes.[53]
Song is inseparable mix of Raga, Thala and content. To get the attention of audience all these are important and the singer should maintain the overall balance of these elements. In raga, it doesn’t have any content. But it will work on the mind of the audience. The thala too does not have content. It will grip the mind which is under the spell of raga. It will capture the attention and influence the mind of the audience. The content brings the mind of the audience under its total control which is already activated by raga and thala. The singer like Gaddar, never allow the raga and thala to overtake the content. But at the same time he will carry his audiences with humming. Many times he involves his audience to give chorus for his songs. In the first instance itself, he will evolve effective communication with his audiences and will maintain direct interaction till the end. He creates the intended environment of the song on the stage. For instance, for the audience to switch over from one situation to the environment of jungle[54], he will start with the sound of ‘Rela Rela’[55]. He repeats with different twist of ‘Rela Rela’ till he psychologically involves them in the song that he is going to perform. The song will be followed with ‘Rela Rela’. He dances rhythmically along with song. In response to humming (aalapana), raga will be added and followed by song. The song is performed through dance. Gaddar plays all these process spontaneously. This kind of dance form is very much present in all the folk art forms. Ata, pata and Mata are proportionately internalized in his cultural activity .It is difficult to differentiate him as a singer, performer or political ideologue.
Along with song, Gaddar moves his hands and legs rhythmically. Through the meaningful body movements, he activates the eyes of the audience and their ears instantaneously. It is difficult for any artist to perform continuously for a long time on stage. Gaddar manages well on stage involving the audience for hours together. In the JNM programmes, usually he takes the lead and the other members of the cultural team continue the song. In this way, he maintains the collective folk spirit of song. It is not easy to stay on stage without being exhausted his energies for an artist involving in singing, dancing and keeping on eye on audience consciously. He is very economical in using his energies, both in singing and dancing. He jumps, shouts, sings, dances, talks with audience and at the same time relaxes on the stage that nobody will feel his absence on stage. In taking his audience to the peak stage along with his song, he suddenly appears as a still photograph by freezing the song and movement of the body, by ending with focused expression ‘Haa’.[56] This simple word Haa is loaded with many feelings and expressions depending on the context. This Haa, not only gives breathing time for the artist, but also breaks the continuity .This kind of discontinuity for a moment may provide his audience to think rather than carry on emotionally with his song.
Apart from his songs, language and politics of people, Gaddar has made a distinctive mark on the people as visual image and as an individual. People remember the image of Gaddar with a black blanket on his shoulder and wearing ghochi. He remains half naked. He ties gajjelu to his legs and holds a red kerchief in one hand. This attire is an effort to identify with the masses. This is the regular dress of poor shepherd of Telangana village. (Of course, this visual image is most demanded on media at present.) As a person, he has erased all the distinctions in every day human relationships. At most, people call him as ‘Gaddaranna’. For the people from middle class and ruling class, it is an embarrassing situation as to how to call him.
The red kerchief in his hand plays many roles in his performances. As he dramatizes every song/situation, he creates many scenarios with his hand-kerchief. He symbolically uses it as mother, revolution, martyr, and weapon. He plays with holding the kerchief meaningfully to provoke the feelings of both ‘veera’ and ‘kuruna’ rasa. As it is observed, ‘Gaddar is top most in performance. He will play the diverse role on stage. He will be a mother who lost her son. He will be a Rytu Coolie who doesn’t get any thing for his labour. He will be an activist who is motivating people for revolution. He will be a government official who shows his power and arrogance. He will be the song of life of courageous fighter that he sacrificing his life. The kacheif he tied down to hand and the blanket on his shoulder becomes a ‘Vodi’, Cheera chengu (saree fall), Red flag. He will mesmerize his audiences by performing all these diverse roles with distinctiveness.’[57] It seems this is appropriated from the cultural form of Burrakatha in which one could see all these elements. As Gaddar in an interview explains, ‘Earlier Nazar brought the cultural form Burrakatha close to the people by politicizing it. I have changed this form significantly. This happens because of my close association with people living in villages.’[58]

The form of cultural performance of Gaddar and his programmes of JNM has evolved from practice and standardized over a period. The performance of song imbibed many other literary and cultural forms.[59] The JNM has succeeded in having a new form of cultural performance- Dialogue + satire + song+ poetry+ action+ expression of ideas/ideology[60]. For example:
Dialogue: Let us sing on red flag
Satire : Is it dipped in color or water?
Poetry : ‘Dari Poduguna/ Gunde Netturulu/ Tarpana Chestu/ Padandi Munduku’
(Poem of Sree Sree)
Dialogue: Oh, the song of the flag that dipped in the blood.
Song : Yerrajenda Yerrajenda Yenniyalo
Yerrarranidee jenda yenniyalo
Action : while singing rhythmically dancing and acting

Expression of ideas: when ever the specific subject comes, expressing it through face
feelings and for a while stopping action.

The phenomenon of Gaddar is in many ways important. He established the organic link between oral and written cultures. The cultural traditions of the people are enlivened through him even in the changing modern times. The folk culture has dialectically transformed and got revolutionized through him in contemporary times. This phenomenon imbibed many genres like song, dance, drama, music, prose and poetry in a unique revolutionary plane. Gaddar stands as a culmination point of culture, literature, politics, life and struggles of oppressed people. The way Gaddar and his image transcend the caste and class identities in the era of identity politics and reach the upper caste middle class is very significant. ‘…His (Gaddar) cassettes adorn the decks of rich, upper middle class, middle class families. Ideology, class or caste is no bar to listen to his songs. The sincerity in his voice makes his bitter critics guilty, moves and melts their hearts’[61] Gaddar symbolizes the powerful cultural leader of the hegemonic subaltern culture in countering the hegemony of elite and capitalist ruling castes/ classes. He represents a rarest phenomenon evolved over a period in third world societies.

As it is observed, there are many reasons for celebration of Gaddar as an icon, a legendary figure or an institution in revolutionary cultural politics of Indian society. The issue to be debated is whether Gaddar is an extraordinary artist or his strength lay in the politics that he is representing. Gaddar himself never claims to project his importance isolated from the politics he represents. He humbly accepts that without Naxalbari politics, one could not imagine Gaddar. He is the product of the Maoist politics. But at the same time it is puzzling to see why only Gaddar has had appeal among the people than any top most Maoist political leader. The political leader, however well articulate, with a grasp on Indian social reality and commitment to revolutionary politics; has had limited reach. The political language, especially Marxist terminology is full of rhetoric and it is not so easy to reach out to the people in convincing terms. Added to this, people may have genuine fears to identify with the revolutionary politics, in the context of heavy repression by the state. In the case of Gaddar, it is quite opposite. First of all, Gaddar brings down the politics into everyday life situations. He translates the terms like ‘working class’, ‘new democracy’, ‘revolution’, ‘classless society’, ‘bourgeoisies state’, ‘capitalist class’ etc. into concrete life experiences of people. He explains political economy of Marx or Mao’s philosophy in simple songs or words without borrowing any textual language of Marxism. Of course, cultural sphere had its own advantage over politics in terms of pulling the people into its fold. Secondly, it is true that Gaddar is not a born artist, he was made out of conditions. To reach the celebrated heights, it is not so easy. It needs talent, insightful mind, capacity to grasp the social reality and effective communicative skills apart from the social commitment of artist. The extraordinariness of Gaddar has to be understood for his grasp of dynamic social relations that are operating in the cultural terrain and in putting things in proper perspective and in giving direction to the oppressed people. The way he creatively explored the rich cultural traditions of the people for a political cause is marvelous. No other artist will match Gaddar for tapping the folklore of the people. Through his songs and cultural performances, he maintains the historical continuity of people’s lives and their struggles. The essence of his songs could be seen as continuity of pre modern philosopher saints and yogis of artisan and sudra communities of telugu society like Veerabrahmendra Swamy and Yogi Vemana. These people contested the brahminical dominance and exposed the hollowness of brahminical wisdom in practice of its own principles. Thirdly, Gaddar explored all possible ways in invoking the social memory of the audiences than any other artist. In fact, this helps him in broadening the audience base. The existing society might be divided into various groups and diverse interests may prevail. Gaddar’s song captures the common sharing element of these diverse groups, the cultural past, the nostalgic life. The differences among the conflicting group of modern times are minimal at this point. This may be the secret of Gaddar reaching castes/ classes other than working class and lower castes. He had the grip over these people at least as sympathetic rather activists of revolutionary politics. Through the loaded karuna rasa in his songs, he works on the minds of even apolitical people and through veera rasa he invokes the feelings of revenge and protest among the suffering masses. However, he touches the human sensitivity and tries to conscientize them. As a result, the hegemonic culture created by him counters the ruling class/caste hegemony. The counter hegemonic culture involves more and more social groups having organic link to their life experiences. The image of Gaddar circulated in mass media may also help in establishing his legitimacy in public sphere and civil society. Finally, the identification of Gaddar as artist with the people and his commitment to revolutionary politics as an individual established his credentials as people’s artist. The attack on him reveals how powerful and popular with the Indian masses the singer performer, balladeer Gaddar is. He remains in history as a symbol of protest forever.

End Notes

[1] Gaddar wrote this song after recovering from the wounds of bullets. The green tigers attacked him at his residence on the 6th April 1997. People from all the walks of life condemned this attack. Gaddar expressed his heartfelt thanks and started singing again for the cause of the masses.
[2] Adorno, Theodor and Max Horkheimer. The Culture Industry- Enlightenment as Mass Deception, Simon During (Ed.) The Cultural Studies Reader, Routledge: London, 1993. Pp.12-17
[3] Hall, Staurt quoted in Chris Barker Cultural Studies, Theory and Practice, Sage: London/New Delhi,2000 p.48
[4] Fiske (1989:27) Chris Barker Cultural Studies, Theory and Practice, Sage: London/New Delhi,2000 p.47

[5] Chris Barker Cultural Studies, Theory and Practice, Sage: London/New Delhi,2000 p.39
[6] Gramsci, Antonio. (1971:362) P.60 Chris
[7] It is evolved from Jangam Katha or Saradakalla Katha. It has one narrator of the story and two supportive players. They play a role of satire and politics. Burrakatha is a synthesized form of jangam/saradkalla katha method with visuals portryal of yakshaganam. These two forms got united in burrakatha.
[8] Mutyam, K. Sreekakula Vudyama Sahityam Drusti Prachuranalu:Hyderabad,1993 p.185
[9] Ibid. p.176
[10] The story is narrated through songs with the help the musical instrument, Jamidika. Jamukula Katha is simpler than Burrakatha. It will be performed with two people. Unlike Burrakatha , it does not even need any platform and could be performed at anywhere and at any time. One of the characters of Jamukula katha is of closed to the oral tradition. It is easy to narrate story very spontaneously and perform the songs by touching the people.

[11] Ibid. p. 200
[12] Gaddar (Ed.),J.V.Ramana Reddy(1990), Gaddar In The Voice of Liberation, Secunderabad: janam pata Publications, 2002 . p.4
[13] Gaddar, The Voice of Liberation P.17
[14] Ibid. p.5
[15] Bhoopal Jamedarikoyalo ‘Eeviplavagnulu….Sandhya swaralu’ JNM:A.P.2004
[16] Interview to Prastanam, special issue on literature, Neekochina bashalo rayi neevimuktikosam rayi. Hyderabad: Prajasakti Publications, 2002 p.127
[17] Yanadhi Bhagotam, Malabhagotam, Gollasuddalu, Gosangi ect.
[18] See Kalyana Rao, G. Telugu natakam Mulalu Veedhinatakam lo vunnayi.
[19] Radhakrishnamurthy, Mikkilineni. Teluguvari Janapada Kalarupalu, Telugu university Publications: Hyderabad , 1992 P.108

[20] Ibid. p.235

[21] This art form enriched with music, literature, dance, instruments, style, talam, laya, abhinayam and aaharyam. This entertains masses, and stimulate all the rasas so easily among its audiences. One prime narrator of the story with tambura, three andelu, gajjelu , and one karcheif and two supporters with gummeta/ dimkee. The supportes with their satire involves audiences and also explains the story in detail. They play the instruments rhythamically with the narrator. When the supporters singing it, the narrator moves the hand karcheif along with andelu, with the other hand playing tambura and makes a dance with the rhythmic sound of legbells and moves around all over the stage. As per the context he jumps, cries and makes sounds and involves and mesmerizes his audiences.[21]
[22] Teluguvari janapada kalalu. Ibid. p. 293
[23] Gaddar. Taragani Gani P.139 .This song is popular even in the language of hindi as, bhara apanee mahan bhumi/esiki kahani sunure bhai/sarse kada hai bada himayalay/nadiya bhahatee ganga jamuna /brahmaputra godavari Krishna/kadhan jangal pahad apana/hari bharee es dharatee me/vugale moti/nikale sona/sujalam suphalam esi desme/ roti mahengai kyomre bhayee
[24] Gaddar. Taragani Gani P.104
[25] Ibid. 149-150.
[26] Ye gao harama…ye galli hamaree/har kaam hamse hai-ye basti hamse hai/hal apna.hasia apna/bail apnare.bail gadi apnere ye jalim koun re. eska jhulum kyare (popular in hindi). Guda Anjaiah. Quoted in Gaddar taragani Gani p.129
[27] Gaddar. Taragani Gani P.42 Aag hai ye aag hai/ ee bhuke petiki aag hai/ye aasuvomki aangar hai/ ye dukhiyonki zhunkar hai/ye jer badakatee jaar hai/ ye dadakatee vuhee aag hai/itihas panna khordo/dushmanpe halla bholdo/lakar navajanavadi krantee/nahi roshneepe haldo.
[28] sirimalle chettukinda lachumammo/lachumamammo/cinaboyi kurchunnavendukammo.. mokallamattuku/buradalo digabadi/yeddole yenukaku/okkokka adugesi/ayyo natlesi natlesi/lachumammo lachumammo/nee nadumule irigenaa/lachumammo lachumammo.
[29] Gaddar (JNM)‘Rikshaw tokke rahimanna’ Gaddar Gunde Chappullu, Audio cassette
[30] Gaddar. (JNM)‘Yentramelta tirugutuvundante’ Gaddar Gunde Chappullu, Audio cassette
[31] Gaddar.taragani gain p.81
[32] Ibid. p.228
[33] Ibid.192
[34] Ibid. p.68
[35] Gaddar (Ed.) ‘Rajyadhikaraniki Malanna’ Jana Natya Mandali Patalu JNM: Secunderabad, 2001 p.71-72
[36] Ilaiah, Kancha. “ The Bard Whose Song is his Weapon” Buffalo Nationalism- A critique of spiritual fascism, Samya: Kolkata, 2004 p. 46
[37] Ibid.p.206-207
[38] Gaddar, Gaddar Songs. Pp. 15, 60, 63.
[39]This is a song about his mother who is working in the fields. This symbolically represents the any dalit women.
[40] This is the song composed by the Gaddar in underground, after receiving a letter from his wife, vimala. This experience he generalizes through this song.
[41] Gaddar. Gaddar Patalu Janam pata publications: Secunderabad,1999. p. 9
[42] Amerikodostundu , ibid.49
[43] Gaddar. Gaddar Patalu Janam pata publications: Secunderabad,1999 p.26
[44] Gaddar. Gaddar Patalu Janam pata publications: Secunderabad,1999 p.12
[45] Ibid.23
[46] Ilaiah, Kancha. “ The Bard Whose Song is his Weapon” Buffalo Nationalism- A critique of spiritual fascism, Samya: Kolkata, 2004 p. 48

[47] The Naxalite group, Gaddar symathised was CPI (M-L) Peoples War headed by Kondapalli Seetharamaih of late seventies and eighties transformed into CPI (Maoist) in early decades of this millennium by merging with other Naxalite parties like MCC and Party Unity. Naxalite struggle in confronting feudal lords, capitalists and state had changed its ideology and strategies over the period of time. It had internalized the ideologies of the other alternative movements and negotiating in its own way. Organizational level it got national character by forming people Guerilla army (PGA).On the other hand, state becomes repressive rather understanding this struggle as rooted in socio-economic situation of the nation.

[48] Gaddar. Gaddar Patalu p.66
[49] Gaddar, Targani Gani, p.164
[50] Ilaiah, Kancha. “ The Bard Whose Song is his Weapon” Buffalo Nationalism- A critique of spiritual fascism, Samya: Kolkata, 2004 p. 46

[51] Ibid. p. 232
[52] Ibid. p.175
[53] Gaddar explains that the particular folk tune will have particular thal all over the India.because of this the folk song of one place will be effortlessly sung by the other part with the help of folk musical instruments. In the third world countries where the economy based on agriculture will find similar thals. (204)
[54] Jungle is the symbolic representation of he struggles. It is the place where the naxalite struggles are concentrated and the naxalite to take shelter.
[55] ‘Rela Rela’ is a power folk tune of adivasis.Gaddar and JNM had songs starts with humming of ‘Rela Rela’ and had great impact on adivasis in mobilizing them in favour of Naxalite struggles.
[56] The artists of all the alteranative cultural politics imitates the gesture of ‘Haa’ in their performances, reveals that the power of the word.
[57] Venugopal. N. Avisranta Janahrudaya Spandana- Jana Natya Mandali.Yavanika, January-March 2003, Hyderabad P.30
[58] Gaddar, Nee kochina bashalo rai, nee vimukti kosam rayi, Prasthanam p. 127
[59] Initially, The JNM artists used to sing by standing at place as a group. Later it was started to introduce the songs with a dialogue/word (mata). Later, it had focused on performance of the song effectively and strikingly. Play is added to the song and dialogue. Satire got added to this by ridiculing the bourgeoisie songs or ideology of the exploitative class. To reduce the length of the dialogues and to be precise started reading the poetry in between.
[60] Gaddar, Taragani Gani, Prajala Patal Puttupoorvotharalu JanaNatyamandali Publications: Hyderabad, 1992 p.126
[61] APCLC, Twin Cities. The Singer who charms the oppressed Deccan Cronicle 14th April 1997, Hyderabad


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kusuma said...

Dear Kesav, this blog is quite useful and from the heart of a dalit. I have kept Article on Gaddar as a reference for my paper Tradtional Entertainment at AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia. Two of the students have chosen this as for their presentation(discussion).

Krishna Sankar Kusuma,
lecturer,AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

Anonymous said...

dhandalanna.... mana dhalithula kosam poradatham.... dhalitho dhalithi dhalithaha......... dhalithulu baaga vuntene pedhollu anukone vallu santhoshanga vundedhi... nenu poradatha anna.... naa full support neeke...kummedham

Durgam said...

Dear Kesav
I was very much fascinated with your presentation on the Dalit literature and on the very song itself. I would like to transcreate it into our mother tounge and publish it if you have no objection. Other wise how are things going on? Be in touch with me.
with love

my e-mail :

chalamalla said...

Dear Kesav, this blog is quite useful and from the heart of a dalitbahujan perspective. it will useful to study the gaddar revelutionary point of view

Anonymous said...

Hi Keshav:
I was working on Telangana culture,while browsing on feudal culture I found your blog.its very interesting reading.If possible ciuld u please send me some of your writings.thanks,Dr S,Srinath,Kakatiya University,Warangal

JNM said...

hello sir,namaste. iam very happy to see this. thanks alot for you.

mahesh rendla.
osmania university.