Ashtavadhani Vidwan Ambati Subbaraya Chetty



Ambati Subbaraya Chetty (1906-1973), in whose memory the AVASC Foundation was established, was a scholar renowned for his contributions to history, literature, jurisprudence, and the freedom efforts of India. He graduated from high school at age 14 and completed M.A. in History equally precociously.

He went to become a prolific historian and linguist. His three volume opus, Gandhi Mahatmiya, chronicled the literal and figurative journeys of Mahatma Gandhi in stunning poetic form. He also penned a critically acclaimed biography of the king Tipu Sultan as well as several English plays. For these and numerous other works which were published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society during colonial times, he was felicitated by Sahitya Academy, the premier Telugu literary organization. He was the first district magistrate of Indian origin in the entire state of Andhra Pradesh under British rule. He also played a prominent role in the Indian freedom struggle as a social activist and journalist.

His greatest accomplishment was achieving the title of Ashtavadhani. This exceedingly rare title is bestowed upon those rara aves who can perform the mindboggling Ashtavadhanam, the forte of consummate poets and litterateurs. In this stunning feat the Ashtavadhani replies simultaneously to questions related to various fields of Telugu literature from 8 scholars. These responses must be in the form of spectacular extemporaneous poetry containing gems after gems of poetry in staccato and legato. It is a testament to the almost superhuman memory, eloquence, creativity, and knowledge of the Ashtavadhani in various fields of literature.