Gaddar: Ballot Is My Bullet
Balladeer and revolutionary poet Gaddar says in a recent interview with Maa Sarma, CEO of Tollywood channel, that he would create another political force before 2019. Here are the excerpts of the interview:
Q: Where from did you get the imagination and inspiration to sing a song that comes out naturally?
A: It has come from life. It has come from nature. Imagination has become song. The song is transformed into physical force.
Q: Whose voice is yours?
A: I got the voice from mother and singing from father.
Q: Is there any use with your song?
A: Poetry recited in people’s language for the sake of the people is certainly useful. Asathoomasadgamaya… there is truth in it. Peoples’ language has greater force.
Q: Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) is celebrating 16th foundation day. How is KCR rule?
A: This is a rule by Dora (a feudal, landlord). A rule by upper caste. He says he would give sheep and she-buffalos for the BCs but never says he would give power.
Q: you led a movement for Telangana Statehood. Telangana State has been formed. Do you think we need a movements even now?
A: We did not get the Telangana we cherished. This is only a geographical Telangana. We want Telangana of sacrifices.
Q: What do you mean by Telangana of sacrifices?
A: Those who sacrificed and those for whom Telangana movements were organised, they should become part of the administration. In fact, they should rule. No good is happening for the downtrodden.
Q: We have projects like Mission Kakatiya and Mission Bhagiratha. What else you want?
A: The water and the land surrounding it are not going to the weaker sections. We are not getting the benefits that are accrued in small States.
Q: What about reservations?
A: The community that KCR belongs to is minuscule. Same in Andhra Pradesh. There is no change in the lives of the people who constitute 52 percent of the population. They are not getting 25 percent of the benefits they are Constitutionally entitled to. This is political mafia. We want liberation from this mafia.
Q: Professor Kodandram has been fighting against KCR regime. Do you think Kodandram became a loner?
A:True. When Telangana Statehood was achieved he praised everyone. He could not press for the demands. Thus Kodandram became a loner.
Q: Is he in a position to question KCR? Why could not you question KCR?
A: We, like Kodandram, could not demand any thing from KCR. We did not take the decisions we ought to have taken at that time. That is why there is need today for another movement.
Q: Will you stand by Kodandram?
A: certainly. Kodandram will grow into a big force in future.
Q: Srikrishna Committee had warned that Maoists will become powerful and anti-social elements will rise their heads if a separate State for Telangana comes into being. What do you say?
A: you are witnessing the scenario. What has risen? Even today people in the villages are waiting for ‘annalu’ (Maoists). They bemoan that they do not have even Maoists to offer shoulder to them when they face difficulties.
Q: Has Maoism weakened?
A: We say war and peace. There is a stage in war when peace prevails. This is just that. The great journey has not stopped. Once there were four or five Maoists. Now they are in lakhs.
Q: Twenty years have passed after a bullet is embedded in your body? How do you feel while moving with a bullet in the body?
A: Yes. I was struggling in a pool of blood. My will power and the power of my admirers had saved me. Bullets are not new to us. Even when the gun was aimed at out chest threatening us of dire consequences, we conducted meetings.
Q: You have enrolled yourself as a voter recently. Have you developed faith in democratic polity?
A: I am not against vote? My theory is that we should not vote for those who exploited us.
Q: Has your journey continued from bullet to ballot?
A: Marx to Ambedkar. Ambedkar to Marx. This is a scientific transformation. That is all. My path has not changed.
Q: You have launched ‘Mahajana Samajam’ some time back. Is it the political party you are talking about?
A: For the present, the Samajam is working for the families of those who sacrificed their lives in the movement. Sriramulu Srinivas is the president of the Samajam. I am honorary president. All members of my family are in the organisation.
Q: What is the future course of action for the Samajam?
A: We will organise a big rally at Bhuvanagiri. People belonging to the families of persons from the two Telugu States who made sacrifices would attend the meeting. About ten lakh people are expected to come for the rally.
Q: Do you think there is need for another political party in Telangana? Even if a party is formed, will it come into power? Will the government of your dreams be ever see the light of the day?
A: There is dire need for a new political party. There is a vacuum. We will take all like-minded people with us in our march. Mahajana Samajam will be evolved into a formidable political force. I have toured many States like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. Telangana also will transform in the same way.
Q: You say ‘a song for every village will be a path to parliament.’ Do you wish to become an MP?
A: Party means votes and votes mean beer, biriyani and crores of rupees, they say. This is how everyone is spoiled. My becoming an MP is not important. Young citizens should become rulers. They should be sent to legislatures. There are 120 lakh youth in the country between the age of 18 to 40 years. These youth should get enlightened. That is my goal.
Q: Are you prepared to campaign in elections along with Pawan Kalyan? Do you want to travel with him in politics.
A: I know Pawan Kalyan from his childhood. He is my fan and a good friend. We think alike. I like those who question the rulers. I always want to join shoulders with them. I worked with Chiranjeevi in the past when he founded Praja Rajyam Party.
Q: Chiranjeevi had failed in politics. Do you think Pawan Kalyan can succeed?
A: Winning and losing is natural. I like his philosophy and thoughts.
Q: Do you think your song has lost its driving force?
A: Come with me, you will know. My song is like a siren, the Hen Scream, That is always packed with power. It wakes up those who are asleep.
Q: You get emotional when a reference is made to a village or a mother. Why?
A: They are my oxygen. My life. I went to my village after a gap of 60 years. It has completely transformed. It is not global village. It has become a strange village. Our land has become real estate. Even today the roots of my poetry and songs are in my village.
Q: Osmania University is celebrating its centenary. What is your attachment to the University?
A: I used to walk for a number of kilometres to reach Osmania University. When I first saw the magnificent buildings I was reminded of Great Poet Sri Sri. His famous poem ‘Tajamahal Nirmaanaaniki Raallettina Kuuliilevvaru…’ came to my mind. I remembered our poor hostel and four village level English speaking capabilities. I stepped into Osmania University wearing torn clothes without wearing chappals.
Q: Of late, you have been visiting temples. You are getting blessings from archakas through ‘setagopam’ (a bronze or silver bowl kept on the head of a devotee by way of blessing). Have you started believing in God?
A: I always respected God. Once I was an outcast in my village because of the practice of untouchability. The archakas used to ask me to stay away. That was the Gaddar of the past. Now I am blessed at the same temples. As my father used to tell me the education I had, gave me the respect and recognition I enjoy.
Q: How do you like the ballards like Annamayya and Ramadasu or poets like Pothanna, Sri Sri and Cherabandaraju?
A: I like all of them. I am their literary heir. My father was a devotee of Lord Siva. He used to sing Kabir’s songs. He used to read Ramayana and Bhagavatam for us. I went to Pothanna samadhi recently. The relics are in a dilapidated condition. Pothanna’s descendants asked me to inform the government about the state of affairs. Annamayya and Pothanna questioned the kings. They were rebel poets.
Q: Do you Ike films?
A: I very much like films. Cinema is a great art form. It is a beautiful garland of all arts. But I sang only for a few films. Maa Bhoomi, Rangula Kala, Orey Riksha, Dandakaranya are some of the films for which I sang. Most of my life was spent with the people.
Q: Who are your favourite singers and actors? Which is the music you like most?
A: I like folk songs, Hindustani and classical music. I listen to the music. I like the poems and the music genres. Raga would cure roga (disease), it is said.
Q: Who are your favourite heroes?
A: I like the heroes in real life. Savitri was a great, wonderful and accomplished actor.
Q: Is Pawan Kalyan a reel hero or a real hero?
A: Debate on Pawan is endless now-a-days. (Skips the question)
Q: Swamijis and pithadhipatis carry tridandam with them. You carry dandam. What is its significance?
A: I don’t know about them. I have Buddha’s panchasila with me.
Yadagiri became Yadadri. The God was displaced from the original place. The rulers have done it.
Earlier Nizam was the only ruler. Today all are worse than Nazis.
Ambedkar. Phule, Marx, Buddha…. I would tread the path shown by them.
I will visit villages with my song. I would become a bullet for the rulers. I will make citizens the rulers. Will take the song to parliament.
The dream of the martyred should come true. The fruits of sacrifice should reach all, said Gaddar in an emotional way.