In a reflective essay on his poetry Kaifi Azmi writes, ‘When was I born? I can’t remember. When will I die? I don’t know. All I can say with any certainty about myself is that I was born in an enslaved Hindustan, grew old in a free Hindustan, and will die in a socialist Hindustan.’ Azmi’s poetry presents a powerful imagery of a progressive, egalitarian, secular and socialist society and, hence, finds its significance in the current times.
To mark Kaifi Azmi’s birth anniversary, Indian Cultural Forum shares some of the posts about him and his radical poetry from the archives.
Remembering Azmi through this recitation of his famous poem ‘Doosra Banwas’. The poem is an excellent depiction of emotions Lord Ram would have experienced had he visited his supposed birthplace Ayodhya post -1992 (after the Babri Masjid demolition).
The poem brings out the irony of politics behind the Ram Janambhoomi movement and the communal animosity it created, as it speaks of Lord Ram feeling extremely despondent to see the divisive politics being played out in his name.
Kaifi Azmi: Poems | Nazms is an homage to Kaifi Azmi’s centenary birth year. The book, edited by Sudeep Sen, is a specially curated volume that contains 50 billingual — Hindi and English — poems. The contributors to the book are Husain Mir Ali, Baidar Bakht, Sumantra Ghosal, Pritish Nandy and Sudeep Sen. The book also contains archival photographs of the life and times of Kaifi Azmi.
Read two poems by Azmi and their translations into English by Husain Mir Ali, along with a note from the translator.
Writing on the occasion of Kaifi Azmi’s 100th birth anniversary in 2019 Sheshu Babu writes, “Celebrating his centenary, one should strive to achieve his dreams – socialist India with communal harmony. In this year, when there is every likelihood of rising caste or religious bigotry, Kaifi’ s works should be a source of inspiration in combating communal tensions and senseless violence.”