An illiterate and unlettered man has composed the song ‘Jaya jayahe Telangana Janani Jana Kethanam’, which is learnt will be adopted as the Telangana state song. The lyricist, Ande Sri, who has composed thousands of songs, never went to school. He was a shepherd boy as a kid and the orphan that he was, Ande Sri was taken care of by someone called Jakkareddy Mallareddy, whom he describes as ‘guru’.
If he has never been to school and has not learnt the language, how has Ande Sri been able to pen songs and write poems? “Don’t ask me how. It is a mystery even to me. I wish I understood myself to explain to you how I have been able to write thousands of songs and poems,” Ande Sri told The Times of India. He, however, added that he had no official word that the song has been selected as the Telangana state song.
Ande Sri, 53, was born in Rebarthi village in Warangal district describes himself as an ‘ekasandagrahi’ – one who has the unique ability to grasp anything immediately. Though he has never been to school and never learnt alphabets, the fact that the Kakatiya University in Warangal bestowed an honorary doctorate on him speaks for Ande Sri’s talent and ability. He was also given another honorary doctorate Apart from numerous songs, he has also composed 3,000 poems.
Ande Sri said the song “Jaya jayahe Telangana Jananni Jana Kethanam” which has 12 stanzas took seven years to pen. Out of the 12 stanzas, four have been selected as the Telangana song. “The song is a piece of art in itself. It speaks for the pride of the Telangana people and captures the 10,000 year old history of the region,” Ande Sri said. If Ande Sri’s song underwent some changes while people sang it during the agitation for a separate Telangana, he is not angry about it. “The song belonged to the Telangana movement. For some years it is being sung as a prayer song in schools,” he said.
When he first composed the song, TRS leader K Chandrasekhar Rao and the ideologue of the Telangana movement Prof Jaya Shankar who heard it had immediately liked it.
“The tune comes along with the lyrics which are a reflection of my thinking and my heart,” Ande Sri said. Which probably was why it caught the fascination of people during the Telangana movement which is to culminate in the formation of a separate Telangana state on June 2.