Kaifi Azmi, the prestigious Urdu poet, writer, and lyricist is known for his poems that praise love, compassion, and human emotions and equality.
His verse remains firmly rooted in the convention of Urdu poetry with its impassioned yearning for intense feelings and passionate embrace of radical causes. The melodious magnificence and powerful articulation of his songs in films have captivated millions.
The real name of Kaifi Azmi was Syed Athar Hussain Rizvi, he was born on 14 January 1919 in a zamindar family in the town of Mijwan in Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh.
He composed his first ghazal at the age of 11 ‘Itna to Zindagi main Kisi ki khalal pade‘ and later it was sung by the notable artist, Begum Akhtar.
In 1942 Azmi abandoned his Persian and Urdu studies due to the Quit India movement and later became a member of the Communist Party of India. Afterward, he went to Bombay and joined Ali Sardar Jafri to write the paper for the paper, Qaumi Jung.
And when he married Shaukat Kaifi, he was a “full-time” card-carrying member from the gathering, living in a cooperative like arrangement in Mumbai. An individual from the Progressive Writers Movement, Kaifi worked intimately with the labor union movement and his distress for the less favored has found plenty of voice in his verse.
During his mid-50s Kaifi Azmi endured a paralytic stroke in February 1973, which left his left hand and leg incapacitated forever. Indeed, even as he battled with the disability that was forced on him, he kept on composing.
Even at this stage, he decided to direct his energies to the upliftment of Mijwan, the village where he was born. This remained his concentration until the time he died. In acknowledgment of his commitment to the region, The government of India named the train that ran on the Delhi-Azamgarh-Delhi route as ‘Kaifiyat Express‘.
However, he did not limit himself to just writing he worked constantly throughout as an impetus for change among the disenfranchised.
His poems reflect small-town roots, his commitment to socialism, his wide collection of work and the huge changes he brought to the life of the town where he was born. One can without much of a stretch be stricken with the profundity and parabolic lyricism of Kaifi’s words in instantly.
In spite of the political and economic changes in India, he held his vision and stayed to the end idealistic of a socialist future for India. This optimism was reflected in his verses loaded with dreams of a socialist democratic society in which the voice of another fellow individual will be felt like melodious music.
Kaifi Azmi died on May 10, 2002, in Mumbai, fifteen months after recording for the Library of Congress in New Delhi.
At the hour of his passing, he was one of the last delegates of the Progressive Writers Association, an authors’ association that employed unmatched impact during India’s freedom struggle.
Awards and Honors
Kaifi Azmi was honored by numerous awards including the Soviet Land Nehru Award and Sahitya Akademi Award. He received the principal Millennium Award by the Delhi Government and Urdu Academy in 2000.
He was also awarded “Padma Shri“ one of the Indian Government’s highest civilian awards. The Maharashtra government honored him with the Dnyaneshwar award in 1998.
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