May 10, 2014 1:54:43 PM IST updated May 30, 2014 7:32:33 PM IST By Mansoor Khan, Glamsham Editorial
Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam..., Kar chale hum fida jaan-o-tan saathiyon... and Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho...
These are some of the timeless lyrics penned by Kaifi Azmi, India's foremost poet who besides excelling in Bollywood lyrics was a literary genius who has the rare distinction of winning both Sahitya Akademi Award and Sahitya Akademi Fellowship (Immortals of Literature).
Glamsham.Com pays humble homage to Kaifi Azmi on his death anniversary (10th May) and reveals how at a tender age he displayed his genius as a poet.
Kaifi Azmi was born in a small town Mejwaan, in the district of Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh in a family of landlords but since childhood he had a penchant for poems and would secretly throng Mushairas (Poet Summit) in his vicinity. At times he would urge the organizers to give him a chance to recite his poems but he would be kicked off. In an interview Kaifi sahib narrated an interesting incident how he got the first chance to recite at a Mushaira in Mejwaan. He recalled, ''By the age of 11 years I was able to compose poems and used to hunt listeners who could appreciate my talent. I used wander at Mushairas and would pester the organizers to give a break but they used to ignore me considering me a kid.''
He adds, ''However, once an organizer annoyed by my consistence pestering, gave me a chance to recite the poem but constrained me to just say a couplet but when I began with the couplet there was a tremendous applause and I ended reciting the whole ghazal.'' He informs, ''Incidentally sitting in the Mushairas was my father too. When he heard the poem and the people's applause, he suspected that I had borrowed the poem of my elder brother. However, when my brother nodded in negation, my father was wonderstruck!''
He continues, ''Despite my brother assuring abba (father) that the poem was written by me, Abba did not believe. Instead he conducted my test to reconfirm that I had indeed written the poem. Hence he gave me a rhyme scheme and meter and asked me to write a ghazal on the same pattern. However, to his amazement I wrote the ghazal within minutes!''
Later the ghazal 'Itna to Zindagi Mein Kisiki Khalal Pade Hasne Se Ho Sukoon Na Rone Se Kal Pade' became immortal when the legendary ghazal queen Begum Akhtar sang it.