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Popular Culture and Ideology: The Phenomenon of Gaddar

 

P Kesava Kumar

(First published in February 2010)

The cultural sphere has its own advantage over politics in terms of pulling people into its fold. Through his songs and cultural performances, Gummadi Vittal Rao, popularly known as "Gaddar", the Telugu poet singer, maintains the historical continuity of people's lives and their struggles. He brings politics into everyday life situations and translates terms like "working class", "new democracy", "revolution", "classless society", "bourgeoisies state", "capitalist class", etc, into concrete life experiences of people. He explains the political economy of Marx or Mao's philosophy in simple songs or words without borrowing any textual language of Marxism. This paper is an attempt to explore the emergence of the Gaddar phenomenon and its significance by focusing on the performance of people's culture.

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No death for the song of people's war – A slogan condemning the attack on Gaddar.

Gummadi Vittal Rao, popularly known as "Gaddar" is a revolutionary poet singer and has emerged as a powerful and popular cultural icon in India. He has established himself as an institution and a household name in Telugu society and other parts of India. Gaddar has captured the public sphere by bringing out the activities of the masses that were considered to be the domain of the private sphere. Through his cultural performances lakhs of people have got influenced and attracted towards the radical democratic struggles of India.

Gaddar and his Jana Natya Mandali (JNM) are a unique cultural phenomenon representing the revolutionary cultural struggles of the contemporary world. His work seems to be 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 the use of people's culture for inculcating revolutionary consciousness among the masses.

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The return to Muthanga

C.K Janu and M. Geethanandan

(Written in May 2003)

The Adivasi decision is to return to Muthanga. The Adivasis had become victims of untold brutalities. Yet there is no other way but to return. And the Adivasis have been made refugees in their homeland. There are the spirits of the dead in the forestlands of Muthanga. Not only Jogi, but also the bodies and souls of all those who had lived here as one with nature have merged irrevocably with the soil. None can separate them now. Anyone who enters Muthanga can see the scattered coins in front of the Sacred Temple at Thakarappady. There is also a splintered bamboo there. This was the hundi ( Coin collection box) of the Adivasis, smashed by the police officers and the goondas as though it was some part of the weaponry of the Adivasis. No one would pick up the coins. These coins representing the beliefs and dreams would still be there when they return....

Those Who See the Theyyam*....and Those Who Hear Also...

2-3 January 2003: Adivasis who commenced their journey from various villages from different parts of Wayanad district belonging to different communities assemble at Pulithookky and Thiruvannur colonies. Pulithookky is a colony ravaged by hunger deaths. Pulithookky has been in the news in full glare. Those who reached Pulithookky – the aged, the ailing, the women, the youth, those who stopped their formal studies, the infants – came for a new life.

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The Incomparable Lady - Km Mayawati

Uncommon Courage

 

Mayawati with kanshiram

Km Mayawati is having many qualities that makes her the Incomparable Lady. To my mind the greatest appears to be her Uncommon Courage. In one of the public meeting in the Ram Lila Ground of Delhi, she declared that she had decided to dedicate her entire life to the cause of the wretched people amongst whom she was born.

 

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Kanshi Ram on Education on the eve of 50 years of Independence

Education and Health are basic necessities for enlightenment of mind and social emancipation. Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, the father of India’s Social Revolution searched for causes of degradation of Shudras and Ati Shudras. His considered conclusion was that the root cause of degradation was ignorance born out of lack of education.

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As a matter of fact the Caste System denied education to the Shudras and Ati Shudras. When Phule was sent school by his father, people of his own community condemned it and boycotted him for violating the custom. But equality of status is impossible without imparting to the oppressed a level of education and health equal to others in the society.

Education not only widens the mind and liberates if from outdated thoughts and practices, it enables a man to claim and occupy positions in life. It is the main instrument of empowerment. Education liberates one from most of the social barriers like Untouchability. Equal acceptability of the downtrodden in the society can surely be established by education. An illiterate man is a permanent destitute in a competitive society. Literacy improves ability to compete. It is a factor securing social justice and freedom from dependence.

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Instead of being ruled let us be rulers


Sahib Kanshi Ram
sahib kanshi ram
Special speech delivered by Manyawar Kanshi Ram Ji at 1st World Dalit Conference In Malaysia on 10th & 11th October, 1998

Dalits should become rulers instead of being ruled. We must not be always at the receiving end, instead become the givers, Dalit Leader Mr. Kanshi Ram told the world dalits. It's long we have been ruled. It is long we have been taking. Now it is time we change the destiny to rule and give, he said. Mr. Kanshi Ram who is the Founder Prisident of Bahujan Samaj Party delivered a key-note address at the opening of the 1st World Dalit Convention 'A new vision towards a casteless society' at the Kuala Lampur Mines Resort City.

The two day convention held on 10th and 11th October 1998 was well attended by more than 700 delegates throughout the world including famous politicians noted leaders from dalit movement, champions of down-trodden, social reformers, renowned economists, famous educationists and great scholars.

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