Dr. Ande Sri was born in Rebarthi village near Janagaon in Warangal District in 1963. An orphan from birth, Ande Elliah as he was originally known did not enjoy the privilege of obtaining a formal education. His childhood was spent in enjoying the bounties of nature which inspired him to compose beautiful songs in his mind.
The need to earn a livelihood landed him with a job as a shepherd in the estate of a landowner in his village. It was here that Ande Elliah’s lilting songs caught the musical ears of Swami Shankar Maharaj. Associated with the Sringeri Matham, Swami Shankar Maharaj realized the immense potential hidden within the little boy and decided to give him the opportunities that destiny had written for him. He also firmly believed that Brahminism is attained by knowledge and not by birth. Therefore, he ensured that Ande Elliah would not be deprived of this esteem and picked up the little Ande Elliah and prepared him to achieve fame as Ande Sri.
Ande Sri or Andesri, as he was also known as, soon grew up to be one of the foremost poet, lyricist and singer of his time. His songs, mainly based on nature (prakruti) and its bounties, have been inspiring youth across generations. The simple yet powerful lyrics, he composed have been able to get his message across easily. Moreover, his lyrics emanate Andesri’s genuine beliefs in his thoughts which, though devoid of any commercial, glamour, appeals greatly to the heart. Owing to the strong nature of reference and its elements in his songs, Andesri is also known as Praja Kavi or Prakruthi Kavi.
In 2006, Andesri received the Nandi Award for composing lyrics for a movie Ganga. His soulful melodies and the earthy flavor in his lyrics endeared him to several Telugu movie makers who included his songs in their movies. Dr. Ande Sri received the biggest gratification when his song “Jaya Jaya he Telangana Janani Jaya ketanam” was accepted as the Telangana State Song.
Dr. Ande Sri’s spontaneity in composing songs or even reciting poetry on any given topic without any prior preparation amazed all. His songs and poems are considered a very important contribution to Telugu literature. Most of his compositions are sung or recited at Telangana events and are considered as part of the most important agenda of the day.
In 2008, Andesri was conferred with an Honorary doctorate from the Kakatiya University. Moreover, in 2009 the Andhra Pradesh University decided to include one of his most famous songs, “Maayamai Pothundamma Manishanavadu” in the Telugu second year graduation syllabus. Both these events helped considerably to erase the pains of his childhood illiteracy.
A great poet and lyricist of this generation, Dr. Ande Sri has strived against all odds and carved out his own destiny. He has earned the love and respect of millions of Telugus which has helped him to push into oblivion the ignominy of his birth. He has proved to the world that birth alone does not define human fate. It is your ‘Karma’ or actions that help to define who you really are.