Gaddar on the plight of the Vote.

After attempting a translation of one of Gorati Venkanna’s songs, I wanted to do the same with the fountainhead himself – Gaddar. His songs have been playing in my ears and thoughts, but this recent article on Round Table India got the fingers going.

In this song, Gaddar sings of the promise of the vote, of universal franchise, and its fate in Andhra Pradesh politics. Needless to say, my translation is no patch on the Telugu original, available here (at ‘04 otama otama’ in the list). How does one translate the phonaesthetic of gulAbi rangukestE gunTa nakkaipAye or cultural specificity of pasupu ranguku vEstE pasupukunkumAle vAye or even just vOTamma?

A few notes below this translation for those unfamiliar with Telugu politics. Telugu original/transliteration/translation follow. Suggestions on improving the translation welcome.

* * * * * * *

Mother Vote, Mother Vote

(Speaking begins)

O Mother Vote!
A time was, when only kings and millionaires voted.
Time is great, it has changed.
On getting Independence, Mother Vote,
it is said, you came into our huts.

One person, one vote.
Be it raja, rowdy, chief minister,
prime minister, millionaire – same one vote.
Mother! we thought, we’ve got Independence.

You entered our huts, Mother Vote,
and we put you in this ballot box.
Mother! Mother Vote!
Believing you’ll show our tears a way, Mother Vote,
we imprisoned you.

The vote has great power, they said, mother,
the seats of power will change.
Only seats have changed, ministers have changed, caps have changed,
our destiny has not changed.
There – tears continue to roll in our green fields,
our cloth looms have turned into suicide ropes,
our EAMCET boy got set in no way.[1]
There – we’re selling our organs in hospitals.
Just for this, mother?
Mother Vote! Mother Vote! Mother Vote!

(Singing begins)

Mother Vote! Mother Vote! Mother Vote!
I cast you down the river, my dear!
Mother Vote! Mother Vote! Mother Vote!
I cast you down the river, my dear!

When we cast for the red cap, tears are our lot,
cast for saffron, sorrow upon sorrow,
cast for pink, turned into cheating fox,
cast for pink, turned into cheating fox,
cast for yellow,
oho, when we cast for yellow, mother Vote,
we ended up as widows, my dear. [2]

I cast you down the river, my dear!

In Congress rule, our difficulties will end, we thought,
farmers’ lives will get a morsel to eat, we thought.
When he came walking, compassionate soul, we believed,
when he came walking, compassionate soul, we believed, [3]
believing him to be Jesus, mother Vote,
we gave you up to a butcher, my dear.

I cast you down the river, my dear!

In Telangana villages, in villages, in huts,
combing encounters in police camps, dawn breaking under gun shadows,
when he spoke of peace talks, of bringing peace, [4]
Jesus has come! we believed, and jumped for joy!
On climbing the CM’s seat,
on climbing the CM’s seat, mother Vote,
he nailed you to the cross, my dear.

I cast you down the river, my dear!

They’ve offered you up to arrack bottle,
they’ve exposed you in brandy shops,
they’ve hacked at you with hunting sickles,
they’ve buried you in globalization.
In America’s market,
oho, in America’s market, mother Vote,
they’ve gone and sold you, my dear.

Mother Vote! Mother Vote! Mother Vote!
I cast you down the river, my dear!
Mother Vote! Mother Vote! Mother Vote!
I cast you down the river, my dear!

* * * * * * *

[1] EAMCET is Engineering And Medicine Common Entrance Test, taken by students at 10+2 level for admission to undergraduate courses in colleges and universities.
[2] red is for the Communist parties, saffron for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), pink for the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), yellow for the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
[3] refers to Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR), who became Chief Minister after a popular election campaign tour on foot.
[4] YSR again.

* * * * * * *

Mother Vote, Mother Vote/vOTamma vOTamma/ వోటమ్మ వోటమ్మ

ఓ వోటమ్మ
కాలంలో వోటు రాజులు కోటీశులే ఏశేవారు
కాలం గొప్పది మారిపోయింది
స్వాతంత్రం ఒచ్చిన తర్వాత వోటమ్మ
నువ్వు మా గుడిశెలకొచ్చావట

O vOTamma
kAlamlo vOTu rAjulu kOTIshulE EshEvAru
kAlam goppadi mAripOyindi
svAtantram ochchina tarvAta vOTamma
nuvvu mA guDishelakochchAvaTa

O mother Vote!
A time was, when only kings and millionaires voted.
Time is great, it has changed.
On getting Independence, mother Vote,
it is said, you came to our huts.

ఒక్క మనిషికి ఒక్క వోటు
రాజైన, రౌడీ ఐనా ముఖ్య మన్త్రైనా
ప్రధాన మన్త్రైనా కోటీశుడైనా ఒకే వోటు
అమ్మ స్వాతంత్రం ఒచ్చిన్దనుకున్నామ్

okka manishiki okka vOTu
rAjainA, rowDi ainA mukhya mantrainA
pradhAna mantrainA kOTIshuDainA okE vOTu
ammA svAtantram ochchindanukunnAm

One person, one vote.
Be it king, rowdy, chief minister,
prime minister, millionaire – same one vote.
Mother! we thought, we’ve got Independence.

మా గుదిసెల్లొకొచ్చిన వోటమ్మ
నిన్ను ఈ వోట్ల పెట్టెలో వేశాం
అమ్మ! వోటమ్మ!
మా కన్నీటికి బాట జూపుతావని వోటమ్మ
నిన్ను ఆ బందీ జేశాం

maa gudisellokocchina vOTamma
ninnu ee vOTla peTTelO veShAm
ammA! vOTamma!
maa kannITiki bATa jUputAvani vOTamma
ninnu aa bandi jeshAm

You entered our huts, mother Vote,
and we put you in this ballot box.
Mother! mother Vote!
believing you’ll show our tears a way, mother Vote,
we imprisoned you.

అమ్మ, వోటుకి గొప్ప శక్తి ఉందన్నారు
సీట్లు మార్తాయన్నారు
సీట్లే మారినయి మన్త్రులే మరిన్రు టోపీలే మారినయ్
మా రాత మారలేదు
అదిగో మా పచ్చని సేల్లల్లో కన్నీళ్ళు రాలుతూనే ఉన్నాయి
మా మగ్గాలు ఉరితాళ్ళైపొయినాయ్
మా ఎంసెట్ పిల్లవాడు ఏ సెట్టు లేకుంటైపోయాడు
అదిగో వైద్య శాలల్లొ మా అవయవాలను అమ్ముకుంటున్నాం
ఇందుకేనా అమ్మ వోటమ్మ వోటమ్మ వోటమ్మ

amma, vOtuki goppa shakti undannAru
sITlu mArtAyannAru
sITlE mArinayi mantrulE mArinru TOpIlE mArinay
maa rAta mAraledu
adigo maa pachchani sEllallo kannEllu rAlutUnE unnayi
mA maggAlu uritALLaipoyinAy
maa EAMCET pillavADu aE seTTu lEkunTaipOyAdu
adigo vaidya shAlallo maa avayavAlanu ammukunTunnAm
indukEna amma voTamma vOTamma vOTamma

The vote has great power, they said, mother,
the seats of power will change.
Only seats have changed, ministers have changed, caps have changed,
our destiny has not changed.
There – tears continue to roll in our green fields,
our cloth looms have turned into suicide ropes,
our EAMCET boy got set in no way.
There – we’re selling our organs in hospitals.
Just for this, mother?
mother Vote! mother Vote! mother Vote!

వోటమ్మ వోటమ్మ వోటమ్మ
నిన్ను యేట్ల ఏసీ వస్తిగదా మాయమ్మ

vOTamma vOTamma vOTamma
ninnu yETla Esi vasti gada maa yamma

Mother Vote! mother Vote! mother Vote!
I cast you down the river, my dear!

ఎర్ర టోపికీ వేస్తే ఏడుపు తప్పదాయె
కాశాయ రంగుకేస్తే గోస గోసైపాయె
గులాబీ రంగుకేస్తే గుంట నక్కైపాయె
గులాబీ రంగుకేస్తే గుంట నక్కైపాయె
పసుపు రంగుకు వేస్తే
ఒహో పసుపు రంగుకు వేస్తే వోటమ్మ
మా పసుపుకుంకుమాలే వాయె మా యమ్మ

erra TOpiki vEstE EDupu tappadAyE
kAshAya rangukEste gOsa gOsaipAye
gulAbi rangukestE gunTa nakkaipAye
gulAbi rangukestE gunTa nakkaipAye
pasupu ranguku vestE
oho pasupu ranguku vestE vOTamma
maa pasupukunkumAle vAye maa yamma

When we cast for the red cap, tears are our lot,
cast for saffron, sorrow upon sorrow,
cast for pink, turned into cheating fox,
cast for pink, turned into cheating fox,
cast for yellow,
oho, when we cast for yellow, mother Vote,
we ended up as widows, my dear.

Mother Vote! mother Vote! mother Vote!
I cast you down the river, my dear!

కాంగ్రెస్సు పాలనొస్తే కష్టాలు వోతాయంటే
రైతన్నా బతుకుల్లో మెతుకు దొరుకుతాదంటే
కాలి నడకన వస్తే కరునా మయుడానుకోని
కాలి నడకన వస్తే కరునా మయుడానుకోని
కరునా మయుడనుకోని వోటమ్మ
నిన్ను కసాయికి అప్పాజెప్తీ మాయమ్మ

kAngressu pAlanostE kashTAlu votAyaMTE
raitannA batukullo metuku dorukutAdanTE
kAli naDakana vastE karunA mayuDAnukOni
kAli naDakana vastE karunA mayuDAnukOni
karunA mayuDanukOni vOTamma
ninnu kasAyiki appa jeptI maa yamma

In Congress rule, our difficulties will end, we thought,
farmers’ lives will get a morsel to eat, we thought.
When he came walking, compassionate soul, we believed,
when he came walking, compassionate soul, we believed,
believing him to be Jesus, mother Vote,
we gave you up to a butcher, my dear.

Mother Vote! mother Vote! mother Vote!
I cast you down the river, my dear!

తెలంగాణా పల్లెలో పల్లెల్లో గుడిసెల్లో
పోలీసు క్యాంపుల్లో కోంబింగ్ ఎన్‌కౌంటేర్‌లు తుపాకీ నీడల్లొ తెల్లారిపోతుంది
శాంతి చర్చలు జేసి శాంతి దెస్తానంటే
ఏసు ప్రభువొచ్చేనని ఎగిరెగిరి దుంకినాము
సీఎం సీటుకెక్కి ఆ!
సీఎం సీటుకెక్కి వోటమ్మ
నిన్ను శిలువాకేసినాడు మాయమ్మ

telangAnA pallelo pallello guDisello
pOlicu kyAmpullo combing encounterlu tupAki nIDallo tellAripOtundi
shAnti charchalu jEsi shAnti destAnAnTE
Esu prabhuvochchenani egiregiri dunkinAmu
CMu sITukekki A!
CMu sITukekki vOTamma
ninnu siluvakesinAdugada maa yamma

In Telangana villages, in villages, in huts,
combing encounters in police camps, dawn breaking under gun shadows,
when he spoke of peace talks, of bringing peace,
Jesus has come! we believed, and jumped for joy!
On climbing the CM’s seat,
on climbing the CM’s seat, mother Vote,
he nailed you to the cross, my dear.

Mother Vote! mother Vote! mother Vote!
I cast you down the river, my dear!

సారా బుడ్డీకి నిన్ను సాకబెట్టినారు
బ్రాంది శాపుల్లో నిన్ను మంది జేసినారు
వేట కొడవన్ల నడమా వేటు వేసినారు
గ్లోబలైసేశన్లో గోరి గట్టినారు
అమెరికా బాజార్లో హ!
ఒహో అమెరికా బాజార్లో వోటమ్మ
నిన్ను అమ్మేసినారుగదా మాయమ్మ

sAra buDDIki ninnu sAka beTTinAru
brAmdI shApullO ninnu mandi jEsinAru
vETa kodavanla naDama vEtu vEsinAru
globalisationlo gOri gaTTinAru
amerika bAzarlo hA!
oho amerika bAzarlO vOTamma
ninnu ammEsinAru gada maa yamma

They’ve offered you up to arrack bottle,
they’ve exposed you in brandy shops,
they’ve hacked at you with hunting sickles,
they’ve buried you in globalization.
In America’s bazar
oho, in America’s bazar, mother Vote,
they’ve gone and sold you, my dear.

Mother Vote! mother Vote! mother Vote!
I cast you down the river, my dear!

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One Response to Gaddar on the plight of the Vote.

  1. Shiv Telangana says:

    Great Attempt. I thought, it is worthy to give additional explanation: So, adding…

    ఎర్ర టోపికీ వేస్తే ఏడుపు తప్పదాయె (erra TOpiki vEstE EDupu tappadAyE)
    “cast for red color (communist party), difficulties are unavoidable.
    Its meaning is that:
    Police have killed many people from the villages electing communist party. in the name of encounters and does not allocated funds properly to it and due to that reason, difficulties are not reduced, in fact it is increased.

    కాశాయ రంగుకేస్తే గోస గోసైపాయె “cast for saffron, become torture and torture”
    Voting to BJP, resulted into the culmination of religious differences and increased torture in the society.

    గులాబీ రంగుకేస్తే గుంట నక్కైపాయె (gulAbi rangukestE gunTa nakkaipAye) cast for pink, turned into cheating fox,
    When voted to TRS, it has compromised with other Andhra Parties and changed its stance and there by cheated expectations. This is happened due to inevitability. At that time, the public were not much motivated and they have not forgot the killings of Andhra Governments when people use word Telangana. Of course, it is not even forgot able to the loss of 1.5 lakhs of killings by India Union. So, people were very much fearful to ask for their rights. Even though, TRS got some seats, but were not sufficient to influence central leadership. The road was very difficult to KCR. Obstacles of Andhra politicians, blaming from Andhra media were so effective. So, it appeared to Gaddar that he is fox.

    పసుపు రంగుకు వేస్తే …. ఒహో… పసుపు రంగుకు వేస్తే వోటమ్మ.. మా పసుపుకుంకుమాలే వాయె మా యమ్మ
    When we voted to yellow color, oho.. when we voted to yellow color, we lost our hushbands.

    When voted to TDP party (NTR and CBN), police were used to kill all the people speaking about Telangana in the name of encounter. Of course, it has also killed many Naxalites. Either Naxalites, their supporters, communist leaders, who ever they are, basically they are people of Telangana. Their loss resulted into widows. Gaddar was referring to those people.
    Other parties, might not have removed their difficulties, but have not killed them. But this TDP is worst. It has killed many people.

    కాంగ్రెస్సు పాలనొస్తే కష్టాలు వోతాయంటే
    రైతన్నా బతుకుల్లో మెతుకు దొరుకుతాదంటే
    కాలి నడకన వస్తే కరునా మయుడానుకోని
    కాలి నడకన వస్తే కరునా మయుడానుకోని
    కరునా మయుడనుకోని వోటమ్మ
    నిన్ను కసాయికి అప్పాజెప్తీ మాయమ్మ

    When Congress (YSR) came by foot to the villages and when he has given assurance that If congress comes then difficulties will go, farmers will be able to get food, we believed that he is Jesus and voted him. But we are not aware that he is not kind and handed over our vote to dangerously cruel fellow.

    తెలంగాణా పల్లెలో పల్లెల్లో గుడిసెల్లో
    పోలీసు క్యాంపుల్లో కోంబింగ్ ఎన్‌కౌంటేర్‌లు తుపాకీ నీడల్లొ తెల్లారిపోతుంది
    శాంతి చర్చలు జేసి శాంతి దెస్తానంటే
    ఏసు ప్రభువొచ్చేనని ఎగిరెగిరి దుంకినాము
    సీఎం సీటుకెక్కి ఆ!
    సీఎం సీటుకెక్కి వోటమ్మ
    నిన్ను శిలువాకేసినాడు మాయమ్మ

    When Congress (YSR) has moved to Telangana, He has told that,
    in the Telangana Villages, lives are just moving in between combing operations of Police and in the shadow of Naxalites. If we make peace talks with Naxalites then this difficulties will go.

    When we (Villagers) listen to it, we were jumped with joy hoping that he will do it.
    However, once he (YSR) become CM (Chief Minister), instead of christening our difficulties, he has simply christened your self (Vote). (Meaning, cheated our believes)

    సారా బుడ్డీకి నిన్ను సాకబెట్టినారు
    బ్రాంది శాపుల్లో నిన్ను మంది జేసినారు
    వేట కొడవన్ల నడమా వేటు వేసినారు
    గ్లోబలైసేశన్లో గోరి గట్టినారు
    అమెరికా బాజార్లో హ!
    ఒహో అమెరికా బాజార్లో వోటమ్మ
    నిన్ను అమ్మేసినారుగదా మాయమ్మ

    All the Governments (Congress, TDP), )When this song was written, neither BJP nor TRS were ruled in the state. Of course, BJP has ruled in central level, so BJP also could be blamed but TRS is not in this list, have done following…
    (1) Sara (cheap liquor) and Brandhi were sold so much
    (2) People were killed in the farming yards among veta kodavali, an instrument used to cut farmed products with false encounters
    (3) Sold so much of land to foreign (US) capitalists and also shown interete

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