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The South Asian Literary Recordings Project

Kaifi Azmi, 1925-2002


Image of Kaifi Azmi, 1925-2002 (photo credit: Brij Mahajan)

Select page numbers to listen or LCCN to display the bibliographic record.


  1. Sarmayah.
    Nai Dihli : Miyar Pablikeshanz, 1994.
    (LCCN: 95900247)


Kaifi Azmi, the renowned Urdu poet and lyricist, was born in 1925 in Mijwan, Azamgarh District, Uttar Pradesh. He died in Mumbai on May 10, 2002, fifteen months after recording for the Library of Congress in New Delhi. At the time of his death he was one of the last remaining representatives of the Progressive Writers Association, a writers' association that wielded unparalleled influence during India's freedom struggle.His poetry remains solidly rooted in the tradition of Urdu poetry with its ardent longing for intense emotions and passionate espousal of radical causes. His poems celebrate love, compassion and human equality. The lyrical beauty and powerful expression of his film songs have captivated millions. Despite the political and economic shifts in India, he retained his idealism and remained to the end optimistic of a socialist future for India. This optimism was reflected in poetry replete with dreams of a socialist egalitarian society in which the voice of another fellow human being will be felt like melodious music. "I was born in enslaved India, have lived in independent secular India, and God willing, I will die in socialist India." (The Indian Express, September 9, 1998)

Kaifi Azmi received many awards and accolades including the Soviet Land Nehru Award and Sahitya Akademi Award. In 2000, he was conferred the first Millennium Award by the Delhi Government and Urdu Academy. He was the recipient of "Padma Shri" one of the Indian Government's highest civilian awards. The Maharashtra government conferred the Dnyaneshwar award on him in 1998.

The Library of Congress owns nine of his works.


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October 6, 2010
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