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Kaifi Azmi (1919-2002): The Uncommon Poet of the Common People

Born as Syed Athar Hussain Rizvi in Uttar Pradesh's Azamgarh on January 14, 1919, this year marks his 101st birthday.

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Updated:January 14, 2020, 3:19 PM IST
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Kaifi Azmi (1919-2002): The Uncommon Poet of the Common People
Kaifi Azmi

“Tum itanaa jo muskura rahe ho, kya gham hai jis ko chhupaa rahe ho.”

These memorable lines were penned by Indian poet, songwriter and social activist Kaifi Azmi, who was the pioneer of Urdu literature in Indian motion pictures.

Born as Syed Athar Hussain Rizvi in Uttar Pradesh's Azamgarh on January 14, 1919, this year marks his 101st birthday. He started writing poetry at the tender age of 11 and also worked in an Urdu newspaper later in his life. Writing on socio-economic reforms, Kaifi was also a proponent of Women’s rights and equality.

The writer is also remembered as an important member of the Progressive Writers’ Association.

Kaifi's sher and works are a good mix of social commentary and heart-wrenching ordeals.

Remembering the artist on his birthday, here are some of his most memorable lines:

Ab jis taraf se chahe guzar jaae karvan viraniyan to sab mire dil mein utar gaiin

Bas ek jhijak hai yahi hal-e-dil sunane mein, ki tera zikr bhi aaega is fasane mein

Insan ki ḳhwahishon ki koi intiha nahin, do gaz zamin bhi chāhiye do gaz kafan ke baad

Basti mein apni hindu musalman jo bas gaye, insan ki shakl dekhne ko ham taras gaye

Muddat ke baad us ne jo ki lutf ki nigah, ji ḳhush to ho gaya magar aansu nikal pade

Mera bachpan bhi saath le aaya gaanv se jab bhi aa gaya koi

Koi to suud chukae koi to zimma le us inqalab ka jo aaj tak udhar sa hai

Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam, tum rahe na tum, hum rahe na hum

Isi mein ishq ki kismet badal bhi sakti thi, jo waqt beet gaya mujh ko aazmane mein

Jhuki jhuki si nazar be-qarar hai ki nahin, daba daba sa sahi dil mein pyaar hai ki nahin

Jo ik khuda nahi milta to itna matam kyun, mujhe khud apne kadam ka nishan nahi milta

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