“Telangana Is My First Mother”

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Gaddar (born Gummadi Vittal Rao), folk balladeer to the masses, has been a leading Maoist voice.

Q Why did you get involved in the Telangana issue?

A Telangana is my first mother. I am indebted to her. This is a long pending issue which needed a voice.

Q There is a feeling that Maoists have infiltrated the Telangana movement and hijacked it...

A Maoists fight only where there is a loss of land and water. Telangana is a classic example. Unlike other political and social philosophies, the movement has only two objectives which are very close to the hearts of the suffering lot—land and water. Both Chandrababu Naidu and YSR (former Andhra CMs) brought in complex concepts and modules like contract farming, irrigation dams, corporate hospitals whose only objective is to divest the poor farmer of his control on both. While Naidu began contract farming in his Kuppam constituency, YSR unleashed irrigation projects and urban infrastructure. If Naidu opened the windows of domination through IT and reforms, YSR opened up the doors for exploiters with bagfuls of money from Delhi. The Naxalite movement is strong wherever the threat to land and water is rampant.

Q What do you have to say about the Green Hunt campaign aimed at eliminating the Maoist base in Chhattisgarh?

A The police and UPA Government are wrong to think that our base is in Chhattisgarh. Our base, or source of inspiration, comes from the heart of the oppressed classes.

Q Do you think the middle class is staying away from revolution or Naxalism?

A A decade or two ago, there were only two classes in villages and towns—the oppressed poor and the feudal. There was no middle class. But today, the middle class has emerged and this section is not easily won by rhetoric or soul searching songs. Imperialists have attracted this section successfully with IT jobs and television. Believe me, the IT explosion has won the hearts and minds of the youth in both rural and urban areas. They all have only dollar dreams in their eyes. IT has posed many challenges to the Maoist movement. First, it lured the middle classes away from Maoism with dollar dreams. Secondly, IT’s extensive use by government agencies has threatened the existence of the Maoists in the safe havens of the forests. It is only because of the use of IT that the state agencies have been able to break through our human blockades and find our hideouts, ammunition dumps and cause immense losses to the movement.

Q You were charged by the People’s War Group (PWG) of making money with CDs and cassettes and were suspended for promoting a school with these funds...

A The PWG suspended me for six months after my long association of 25 years. I showed them the accounts of donations received for the school and other assets. The party accepted my explanation and waived the suspension. I will sing for the people till my last breath. Lal Salaam.