Google Doodle is today celebrating the 101st birth anniversary of great Indian Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi. He is remembered as the one who brought Urdu literature to Indian motion pictures. From writing passionate love poems to Bollywood song lyrics and screenplays, the range of work has made Azmi one of the most renowned poets of the 20th century in India. Also, his humanitarian efforts continue to impact people’s lives today.
Azmi was born Syed Athar Hussain Rizvi on this day in 1919 in the Azmargh district of Uttar Pradesh, India. He wrote his first poem at the age of 11. Inspired by Gandhi's 1942 Quit India freedom movement, he later left for Mumbai (then Bombay) to write for an Urdu newspaper. Azmi published his first collection of poems ‘Jhankar’ in 1943. Soon after that, he became a member of the influential Progressive Writers’ Association that used writing to try to achieve socioeconomic reforms.
In one of his early and most famous poems, ‘Aurat’, Azmi advocated for women’s equality. He also founded the NGO Mijwan Welfare Society (MWS) to support various educational initiatives to improve the lives of rural women and families.
Azmi won numerous awards for his contributions, including three Filmfare Awards for Garm Hawa, the prestigious Padma Shri Award, Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, Sahitya Akademi Award, Maharashtra Gaurav Award by Government of Maharashtra, Yash Bhartiya Award by Government of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi Government State Award, Soviet Land Nehru Award, and Afro-Asian Writers Lotus Award.
He has been honoured with Doctorates from many universities in India, such as Purvanchal University and Agra University, the most prestigious being from the Vishwa Bharti University in Shanti Niketan.
Kaifi Azmi breathed his last on May 10, 2002 at the age of 83. Kaifi Azmi's daughter Shabana Azmi is also a renowned Bollywood personality and Padma Shri winner.
To commemorate the renowned poet, the Indian government has inaugurated a train named 'Kaifiyat Express' which runs from his hometown Azamgarh to Old Delhi.