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Yamijala Padmanabha Swamy

(1915 – 1988) – (Andhra Pradesh)

Yamijala Padmanabha Swamy (Aged 83), born on June 12, 1915, in the village of Sivarampuram, situated in the Garugubilli mandal of Vizianagaram district, had Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Shastri and Smt. Kameshwari as his parents. His father was renowned in the village for his regular donations of food and clothing to various charitable causes. At a young age, Yamijala delved into the world of poetry by studying Kalidasa’s works with a trio of teachers, Devulapalli Srirama Shastri, Kaumudi, and Motikurty Satyanarayana Shastri, in an open area near his native village known as a “jami.”

In 1930, Yamijala journeyed to Kadiyam and became a disciple of Chellapilla Venkata Shastri, who imparted the secrets of poetry over a two-year period. Later, he joined the Vizianagaram Prehistoric College in 1933, where he studied Prehistoric Language until 1938. Under the guidance of the poet Adibhatla Narayana Dasu, he delved into astrology, Ganapati Muni’s poetry (Kavyakantha), Mantra Shastra, and other subjects. Among his notable works are books like “Purna Purushudu” (Biography of Adibhatla Narayana Dasu), “Nayana” (Biography of Ganapathi Muni), “Annamacharya” (a dance play), “Ardhanarishwaram” (a dance play), and “The Maturity of Kamakshi” (a musical play).

Influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and Tenneti Viswanatham, Yamijala Padmanabha Swamy became deeply involved in the Indian freedom movement. He was even expelled from college for performing self-composed patriotic songs and poems, but he re-enrolled as a student. Generous support from Nageswara Rao Pantulu and Kashinath ensured he had a monthly student stipend. The Maharaja of Jayapuram, impressed by the power of his poetry, invited him to his court and appointed him as the Chief Poet in his institution. For a period, he collaborated with Potti Sriramulu to raise funds for the betterment of the Harijan community.

Yamijala Padmanabha was not just a versatile scientist, but also a Sanskrit scholar, and an active freedom fighter. His poetry and songs served as a constant source of motivation for people. Following India’s independence, he pursued a career as a teacher at the Sri Ramakrishna Educational Institutions in Madras, retiring in 1974. He was featured in an editorial in the Sahitya monthly magazine called ‘Amrutavani,’ published in Madras. His contributions earned him the titles of Kavikulatilaka, Modern Valmiki, and Kaviratna. Yamijala Padmanabha Swamy passed away in Madras on March 25, 1998, following a prolonged illness.