Madonna and child,  Kashmir, India, by DILIP BANERJEE
UMadonna and child,  Kashmir, India, by DILIP BANERJEE
  It will not stop

  Vol VII : issue 3&4


  Ashis Nandy
  George Fernandes
  Jaya Jaitly
  Uma Varatharajan
  Rashid Haider
  Santosh Rana

  Prakash Singh
  Joy Goswami
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Oil on canvas by SUBRATA KUNDU

It will not stop, it will not stop, it will not stop
This war of hunger will not stop
It will not stop
Until the rule of the looters ends
This armed struggle will not stop
It will not stop
The plough that dug the furrows
Says these furrows are mine
The hands that planted the saplings
Say these saplings are ours
The sickle that cuts the crop
Says this harvest is ours
It will not stop
The blacksmith’s fire is flaring up
The potter’s kiln is blazing
The maadiga’s tambourine goes dhanadhanadhana
announcing the message in drumbeats1
It will not stop


Those who were prostrating themselves
are now sharpening their daggers
those who said they were slaves
are now sharpening their crowbars
any robbers and looters who come in the way
will be hacked and piled up
oh brother
it will not stop
the swarm of ants has moved
the snake’s heart is shaken with fear
the sheep have pounced
the wolves have turned tail
the herds of cows have moved
the tigers have begun to flee
It will not stop


Hail our children

Each of you fell and merged with the stars

We salute you, we hail our children
We salute you, we hail our little ones
O brave ones, brave children of Naxalbari
The valorous sons of Naxalbari, children of coolies and farmers
Each of you fell and merged with the stars
And sprouted like suns
We who had nowhere to turn — our children
Have you become stars to show us the way, our little ones?
As the crows caw-cawed we opened our doors to speak to them2
Tell us who is coming, we stand waiting
Will you come as crows, our children?
Will you answer the call of our heart and fly away, little ones?
When the village parrot comes, we let it build its nest
We will keep watch so the pair doesn’t break
Will you come as the egg of that parrot, our children?
From that egg will you become our children, our little ones?
We salute you!
In the patch of land in front of the house
we will be born as the sorghum crop
We will hold a vrat3, standing on one leg, praying for a son
Will you be born as the fruit of that sorghum, our children?
Will you become the children in our arms, oh little ones?
We will nurture and rear the motherless pup
We will give it your share of food
Our children, with your puppy paw
Will you shake our hand before you go?
The proud cock will get the hen to pair with
and when the egg is laid we will keep it warm in your name
when the chick breaks out we will name it after you
if vultures and kites swoop down to snatch,
we will protect the eggs like the mother hen
we will hug them close and hide them, our children
we will fulfil our maternal longings, our little ones
We salute you!
We will keep the pregnant cow as safe as our eyes
We will feed her with green grass, protect her like our life
When she is in labour, we will deliver the calf and guard it
When she licks her newborn we will relive mother’s love
Will you come to us as labour pain, our children?
Will you be born to us again, our little ones?
As Dussehra neared we got the tailor to stitch
A pair of pants for your brother and one shirt for you
I don’t want anything, you said in childish pique, you wouldn’t even eat
Then we got white pants and a red shirt tailored for you
Will you come as the young sparrows to look at them, our children?
Will you press against my hand like the jambiakai leaf, little ones?4
Our eyelids fly open with the slightest noise at the door
Maybe the one who is gone has returned, and called
I have your meal ready, and hidden,
your father and brother don’t know,
The back door is shut, but not bolted
Will you come with the stealthy steps of a cat, children?
Will you play hide and seek and go away, our little ones?
Don’t, don’t, my son, don’t fight with the landlords
I screamed and pleaded, but you wouldn’t listen
Obstinate one, full-hearted one, brimming with valour
You didn’t let go of the red flag
as long as there was life in you
Will you give your blood to the flag and go away,
our children?
Will you be happy when we lift you in our arms,
our little ones?
We salute you, brave ones!

Translated from the Telugu songs ‘Aagadu, aagadu’ and ‘Vandanaalu biddalu’ by
Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr and Antara Dev S

These ballads are sung by Gaddar to gigantic crowds and have several refrains, but in English we have only retained the main ones.
1. Maadigas are Dalit tanners, also cobblers, who function as public announcers by beating their drums
2. It is believed that the cawing of a crow heralds visitors
3. Vrat: carrying out rituals, often involving difficult physical tasks, to pray for the fulfillment of a wish
4. Traditionally on Dussehra day, people go to see this particular kind of sparrow, which is deemed auspicious, and exchange greetings by pressing the leaf of the propitious jambiaki tree against each other’s palms


Legendary balladeer Gaddar was born Gummadi Vittal Rao in a Dalit family, became a bank clerk, then a Naxalite activist spreading his message through folk theatre and songs mostly in the Telengana region of Andhra Pradesh, and was often forced to go underground and live in the jungle. A cult figure, he gave up the gun and remains a powerful champion of the underprivileged, has survived assassination attempts and is now a peace emissary between the Naxals and the state