Mohammed Nissar, a Telangana folk singer, poet and activist passed away in Hyderabad late on Tuesday night. He is suspected to have died fo COVID-19.
The 56-year-old was an employee of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) and worked as Controller at the Miyapur depot. He was also a member of Praja Natya Mandali, a cultural troupe.
Hailing from Nalgonda, Nissar has been working for TSRTC for the last three decades and was serving as Assistant Secretary of TSRTC Employees Union.
Speaking to TNM, TSRTC Employees Union Secretary Raji Reddy confirmed the demise of the activist.According to Raji, Nisaar complained of shortness of breath and had other COVID19 symptoms earlier on Tuesday. He said that Nisar was referred to Gandhi Hospital by a private hospital where he was treated. He had reportedly been turned away for admission by other private hospitals.
It is unclear whether hospital authorities have sent his samples for COVID-19 testing.
"His family told us that he was in dire need of a ventilator as he was having breath issues, but he could not avail it which led to his death," said Raji, who further hit out at the Telangana government for failing to manage the pandemic.
"Why is it that TIMS which came up recently is not functioning? What is the need for such huge amounts of money being spent if they are unable to treat people?‚ÄĚ questioned Raji.
Communist Party of India (CPI) Secretary Narayana expressed grief over the death of Nissar. He said that Nissar's demise is irreplaceable in the peoples' movements.
Several prominent personalities of politics and literary circles recalled his contribution in the Telangana movement.
He penned several songs about the significance of the Telangana movement and on the disastrous impact of globalisation on rural setups in the country.
His popular song 'Pandu vennelalona.. Vennellalona padeti patalu evi' (Where are those songs which we used to sing on full moon nights) had earned him appreciation from critics and became blockbuster on venues.
Telangana Finance Minister Harish Rao also expressed his condolences on the demise of Nissar. In a statement, he wrote, "He is an artiste who brought the song to life. He stopped his song journey abruptly.‚ÄĚ He further added "Being born into a poor Muslim family, he gave the oxygen of song to many movments, he wrote and sang about the folk culture that was falling in the trap of globalisation."
During the lockdown in March, Nissar wrote a song about the coronavirus and its disastrous implications on the lives of the working class people.
Nissar is survived by his wife and three children.