Thursday, October 8, 2009


Syed Athar Hussain Rizvi was born in the family of landlords in Azamgarh. His father was a Tehsildaar . Athar Hussain did not have much of modern Education but acquired command over Urdu , Arabic and Persian. Athar jumped into the freedom movement by joining Quit India Agitation of 1942. Later he became a full time member of Communist Party of India and started Trade union activities in the textile mills area of Kanpur. Soon he shifted to Mumbai and joined Ali Sardar Jafri in co editing News Paper Qaumi Jung for the party . Mumbai changed Syed Athar Hussain Rizvi to Kaifi Azmi and he started writing lyrics for films. He fell in love with Shaukat a renowned theatre artist from Hyderbad and married her . They had two children Shabana Azmi the talented actress and Baba Azmi noted Cinematographer .He taught them Modern Education . Both Baba and shabana studied in Hindi and English medium schools and know little urdu .

I shall not go into details of his film songs which are a class in themselves ; touchy and essentially based on moods of human beings confronting various situations of life . After Sahir Ludhianavi , Kaifi sahib remained the highest paid lyrics writer of the film Industry . He wrote beautiful songs for films especially films like Kaagaz Ke Phool( Waqt Ne kiya , Kya Haseen Sitam ), Haqeeqat ( Mein Yeh Soanch Kar Us ke Dhar se uthaa thaa ) ,Shanker Hussain ( Aap Yun Fasalon se Guzartey Rahey ), Garam Hawa , Saat Hindustaani , Pakeezah, Razia Sultan, Shola Aur Shabnam( Jeet Hi Laingey Baazi Hum Tum ) , Arth and many more .

He was a recipient of Padam shri and Soviet Land Nehru award ( Instituted by Erstwhile USSR ). Vishwa Bharti University Shanti Niketan honoured him with a doctorate .He was awarded Sahitya academy fellowship and award for his collection of poem Awaara Sajde. He wrote poems , gazals and script for many films . I also saw a play Yadon Ki RehGuzar ( Down the memory Lane ) written by his son in law Javed Akhtar . Both Javed sahib and shabana had acted in this play. Mumbai gave him love and respect . If you travel from Andheri to Juhu , you come across a Park named after him . He lived in Janki Kuteer in Juhu area .
Though he wrote some very good poems , yet his one poem DAAYARA ( Circle ) is my favourite . Some lines of the poem depicting monotony of our existence are as under :-


Roz Badhtaa Huun Jahaan se Aage
Phir Vahiin Laut Ke Aa jaata Huun
Baarhaa Tod Chuka huun Jin Ko
Inhiin Deewaron Se Takrataa huun
Roz Basate hain Kaii Shehar Naye
Roz Dharati Me Samaa Jaate Hain
Zal zalon Me thii Zaraa sii Girah
Vo Bhii Ab Roz Hii Aa Jaate hain

Nabz bhujatii bhi Bhadaktii Bhii hai
Dil Kaa Maamul Hai Ghabraana bhii
Raat Andhere ne Andhere se Kahaa
Ek Aadat hai Jiye jaana bhii.
Koi Ketaa tha Sikander huun Mein
Aur meri Jeb Me Qatraa bhii Nahin
Khairiyat apni Likhaa Kartaa huun
Ab to Taqdeer Me Khatraa Bhii Nahin

Apne haathon Ko Padaa Kartaan Huun
Kabhii Geeta Kabhii Quran Ki Tarah
Chund Rekhaon Me Seemaon Me
Zindagi Qaid Hai Seeta Ki tarah
Ram Kab Lautenge Maalum Nahin
Kaash Raavan Hi Koii Aa Jaataa


( Kaifi Azmi )

The Circle
I return to the same spot everyday ,
From where I begin may day .
Every day my imagination builds new Castles ,
Every it buries them under the vastness of mother earth.
These Earthquakes would come after good gaps ,
Lo !They too shake me every day now.
My Pulse often goes feeble but at times it races fast ,
It is a routine for this heart to get Palpitations now .
Previous Night the darkness within confided to the Darkness outside
“This Living ! O Just a wretched Habit only .”
Someone would declare me as born with Alexender’s Fate ,
Pity ! I hold not a Penny in my Pockets .
Friends this is a statement my welfare ,
For I do not have any Danger in my fate now .
Often I read the lines engraved in my palms,
Sometimes as if I read Geeta or sometimes like the Quran,
Trapped lies this existence in some of these lines ,
Like Sita of Ramayana waiting for Rama to arrive .
When shall my Rama Come to my rescue? I knoweth not ,
Alas ! Any Ravana could have also come this way?
For I return to the same spot everyday ,
From where I begin may day .
( Translated by a K Mota from Original urdu )

I did see kaifi Sahib in some Mushaiaras . He was charismatic .Even after the paralytic stroke , he continued to serve literature and set up a girls school in his native Azamgarh. He remained secular in thoughts and deeds all along..

I have also uploaded some views of Srinagar city for this post on Kaifi Sahib.You can see the Taj Hotel Opposite the Akhara building in Maisuma .The Hotel continues to serve crisp Butter toasts . You can also see the Little sons Petrol Pump in LalChowk . Dr Sethi popular Homeopath of srinagar city would do his practice on first floor of the Petrol Pump’s Building .The Petrol Pump is closed .You can also see Regal Chowk with Hanief Motors shop selling Yamah Gen Sets now.You can also see the Demolished Capitol Hotel Building on Regal Chowk. Mishri ( Previously Misri ) Paan House is still open . Meer Sahib of Meer Paan House , Residency Road is unwell as told to me by his brother . They no longer sell Paans .You can also see Lambert Lane chowk on residency Road..I have also uploaded a View of Dal gate Main Road near Drogjan Chest Disease Hospital. A view of residency Road Chowk and Poloview Chowk near erstwhile Grindlay’s Bank building has also been uploaded.J&K Bank has shifted to Grindlay’s Bank Building now as the old Grindlay’s bank has vanished from the Financial world. I have also uploaded a view of House boat stuck up in Canal opposite to the then MAMTA Hotel on Dalgate NawaPora road. Mamta Hotel , Ritz Hotel and many other Hotels on this road are closed .This road is undergoing widening at present . So Long so much


  1. Raat Andhere ne Andhere se Kahaa
    Ek Aadat hai Jiye jaana bhii.

    Rightly said it is a hurculian task to live, live a human life, the vast disparities between the rich and poor , haves and have nots. But it too is a reality poverty sharpens your intellect and makes you a real human being. You have a very rich lietrally experience . Do share it . The human race will be benefitted.

  2. poetic are your comments . Here lies the hidden literary nature .pl create your own


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