S. Harpal Singh

ADILABAD: Even agitations are coming to be categorised as colourful or dry affairs depending upon the manner in which the protests are staged.

For example, the current wave of protests in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions are considered to be dull events by observers who point out the missing performances by folk troupes.

“The pro-Telangana agitation earlier this month was a comparatively ‘lively’ affair due to the participation of cultural troupes. The folk song and dance performances at the protest camps had enlivened the atmosphere,” observes well-known writer B. Muralidhar, while looking at the events from a different perspective.

“Most of the folk tradition in the erstwhile Andhra that is associated with ‘dissension’ of any kind belongs to the days of Independence struggle. In Telangana, however, the tradition drew sustenance from the armed struggle waged chiefly by the undivided CPI against the Nizam,” he adds. Unlike in Telangana, neither the south coastal Andhra citizens nor those from Rayalaseema experienced troubled times or harboured any feelings of ‘separatism’ after the carving out of Andhra Pradesh. Therefore, no folk tradition took roots here in the manner that came into being in Telangana.

The highly ‘stimulating’ folk music of Telangana has come a long way from Dasarathi’s famous ‘Naa Telangana koti ratanala veena...’ and ‘Bandenka bandi katti...’ by Yadagiri an ordinary member of the Left party from Nalgonda during the Telangana armed struggle.

The Praja Natya Mandali in general and balladeer Gadar in particular can be credited with popularising the tradition subsequently.