Video Editor: Mohd Irshad AlamCamerapersons: Shivkumar Maurya and Abhishek RanjanAs 14 January marks the centenary of writer and poet Kaifi Azmi, The Quint spoke to actor and Kaifi’s daughter Shabana Azmi who said she remembers him more as a progressive writer than a father.“When we celebrate Kaifi, we celebrate that era that produced such amazing writers who believed that art should be used as an instrument for social change. Their poetry was used to talk about social justice, equality of opportunities, against communalism, for gender justice. They were tuned to the sound of a different drama. They were the foot soldiers of the movement. With the Progressive Writers, it was the need to reach out to the masses. It was like a leader speaking to the masses.”Shabana Azmi, actorWhoever has read Kaifi and known him through his incisive political responses, will find themselves in a desperate need to remind the world of his poetry. We did that as well.To remember the progressive writer, we collected some vignettes from the poet’s treasure trove.As a lyricist, Kaifi penned songs like ‘Chalte Chalte’ (Pakeezah), ‘Tum Itna Jo Muskura Rahi Ho’ (Arth), and many others. And he also had a response to every political situation as well. In 1992, he wrote a poem called ‘Doosra Banwaas’ (Second Exile) as a response to the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition.Unfortunate that Indian content banned in Pakistan, says Shabana AzmiIn his poem ‘Aurat’, Kaifi hopes that women need not walk behind their so-called male guardians but march alongside. Women must challenge conventions and prejudices that strangle them.I Miss the Sound of Urdu That’s Slowly Disappearing From our HomesKaifi’s poems are a reflection of his worldview that emerged from the need of a social change in post-partition India. Referring to the above poems, his daughter Shabana Azmi suggested that people are meant to react to a work of art. It’s absolutely fine for an artiste to make art for art’s sake.Shabana Azmi and her husband Javed Akhtar will be part of events and seminars on Kaifi Azmi throughout the year. A special programme called ‘Raag Shayari’ will be held across various cities in which music composer Shankar Mahadevan will sing Kaifi Azmi’s poems, Ustad Zakir Hussain will create magic on the tabla, Javed Akhtar will read the poems in Hindustani and Shabana Azmi will recite them in English translation.This initiative is a step towards carrying Kaifi’s legacy forward by making his poetry accessible to those who don’t understand Urdu.(This article is from The Quint’s archives. It is now being republished to mark Shabana Azmi’s birthday.) We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.