Variety

Google Doodle celebrates renowned Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi on his 101st birth anniversary

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on January 14, 2020 Published on January 14, 2020

Azmi was a fierce advocate of social rights, and brought Urdu poetry to mainstream Indian cinema

Google on Tuesday dedicated its Google Doodle to Urdu poet, writer and lyricist Kaifi Azmi on his 101st birth anniversary. The doodle shows Azmi with a microphone, addressing a gathering.

“Happy birthday to Indian poet Kaifi Azmi, whose work ranged from passionate love poems to Bollywood songs lyrics & screenplays,” said a tweet put out by Google Doodle’s official Twitter handle.

Born in 1919 as Syed Athar Hussain Rizvi, Kaifi Azmi was a great Urdu poet, writer and lyricist who was often credited with bringing Urdu poetry to mainstream Indian cinema. He was awarded the Padma Shri for Literature and Education in 1974, and a Sahitya Academy fellowship in 2002. 

Socio-economic reforms

Azmi was often referred to as a fierce advocate for social rights. A member of the Progressive Writers’ Association, he used writing as a medium to bring about socio-economic reforms. 

“He also founded the NGO Mijwan Welfare Society (MWS) to support various educational initiatives to improve the lives of rural women and families and, to this day, MWS continues its work in the spirit of its founder,” Google said in a statement about the doodle. 

“In one of his early and most famous poems, Aurat, Amzi advocated for women’s equality, one of the causes he championed in his lifetime,” the statement further said. 

Even today, Azmi’s writings are lauded by netizens and celebrities, and are often used as a medium to encourage social change.  Recently, Aurat was recited by the women gathered at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi to protest against the CAA and JNU violence.

‘Befitting tribute’

Referring to the incident, renowned actor Shabana Azmi, Kaifi Azmi’s daughter, tweeted on January 9: “There cannot be a more befitting tribute to #Kaifi Azmi Birth Centenary than brave women from Shaheen Bagh reciting @AzmiKaifi s iconic poem AURAT to keep their morale high. More power to you - in sisterhood and thank you @ravishndtv

 

Paying tributes to Kaifi Azmi on his 101st birth anniversary, twitterati from across India shared their favourite lines from his poems. 

 Raksha Ramaiah (@RakshaRamaiah) wrote: “Tribute to Poet, Songwriter and Social Change Advocate, Shri Kaifi Azmi on his 101st birth anniversary. The doyen of Urdu poetry used his art as an instrument of social change and is one of the pioneers who brought Urdu literature to Indian motion pictures. #KaifiAzmi #poetry"

Kaifi Azmi had also contributed to famous movies such as PakeezahBawarchi and Heer Ranjha. He also received accolades for his lyrics, script and dialogue for MS Sathyu’s Garm Hawa (‘Scorching Heat’), a film based on renowned Urdu writer Ismat Chugtai’s book by the same name. 

Published on January 14, 2020
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