Kaifiyat: A bunch of Kaifi Azmi’s most exquisite poems

Editor | Poetry

Rakhshanda Jalil’s Kaifiyat is a stunning new translation of Kaifi Azmi’s most exquisite poems that also contain insightful trivia about his life and legacy.

Kaifi Azmi’s literary legacy remains a bright star in the firmament of Urdu poetry. His poetic temperament—ranging from timeless lyrics in films like Kagaz Ke Phool to soaring revolutionary verses that denounced tyranny—seamlessly combined the radical and the progressive with the lyrical and the romantic.

Love and romance, in fact, run like warp through the woof of politics and protest in Kaifi ’s poetry. This beautifully curated volume brings together poems and lyrics that reflect Kaifi ’s views on women and romance—from sweetly lyrical odes like ‘The First Greeting’ to the powerful, anthem-like ‘Woman’; from the haunting ‘Regret’ to the mercurial ‘She of the Many Faces’. These stunning verses conjure a dynamic portrait of womanhood as seen through the eyes of an exquisitely gifted poet.

This scintillating new translation is accompanied by an illuminating introduction by Rakhshanda Jalil on Kaifi Azmi’s life and legacy, as well as a moving foreword by his daughter Shabana Azmi and an afterword by his wife Shaukat Azmi

The Author:

Kaifi Azmi (1919–2002) was one of the most prominent Urdu poets and lyricists of the twentieth century. An ardent crusader for justice as well as a writer of tender lyrics and rousing anthems, he was the quintessential activist–poet. His three major poetry collections are entitled Jhankar (1943), Akhir-e-Shab (1947) and Awaara Sajdey (1973).

The Translator:

Rakhshanda Jalil is a writer, translator and literary historian. Her work on the Progressive Writers’ Movement is considered seminal; she has written A Rebel and Her Cause:

The Life and Work of Dr Rashid Jahan, Shahryar: A Life in Poetry, among others. She runs Hindustani Awaaz, devoted to the popularization of Hindi–Urdu language and literary culture.

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