I still remember the day we were taught the lyrics of the famous song “Kar Chale Hum Fida” by Kaifi Azmi. The song was a part of my VIII class syllabus. Every morning, we were made to sing this before the commencement of the classes. Its been years now, this mellifluous patriotic  song still reverberates in my heart and memories. [Picture Credit: The Hindu]

Such was the charm of Kaifi Azmi’s songs. Born into a Shia Muslim family in a village in Uttar Pradesh, he is one of the most celebrated Indian poets of the bygone era. He was an ardent believer of the fact that poems can be used as an instrument for social change. The cause of women empowerment was very close to his heart. Some of his best known poems include ‘Aurat’, Makaan’,‘Daaera’ and ‘saanp’. His NGO Mijwan Welfare Society is renowned for its efforts in incentivising the girl child and working towards their overall development.

On his 98th birthday today, let us have a look at some of the less known facts about his life.

1.  Kaifi dabbled in acting on being persuaded by Saeed Mirza to play the role of the grandfather in Naseem.

2. Kaifi is the only Urdu poet to be felicitated the maximum number of times.

3. Kaifi was just 11 when he wrote his first ghazal. Itna toh zindagi mein kisi ka khala pade – was touted as the best ghazal of that time. Do you need more proof of what a young prodigy can do?

4. He was all praise for Shabana’s acting acumen and backed her decision of becoming an actress. He would assist her in memorizing lines from plays that she had to take part in.

5. He used black blue ink and never touched a ball pen to write anything.

6. Kaifi was too humble to ask for an increase in price because of which he earned very modest sums of money.

India is observing his 98th birthday today. His family is hosting a musical evening in Mumbai today to mark this auspicious occasion. Singers like Sunidhi Chauhan and Alka Yagnik will also be a part of this extravaganza.