Kanpuri lived in a small abode that always seemed to be the target of local municipal authorites out to demolish illegal and unauthorised structures. The poet had not enough funds to fall back on, and he could not go back to his village in the condition he was. But once a shayar always a shayar.
A self confessed fan of Sahir Ludhianvi (pic on left), he narrated an interesting episode relating to Ludhianvi. In 1969 Indira Gandhi was attending a seminar on Mirza Ghalib where Sahir Ludhianvi was present too.
However, Ludhianvi candidly said there was no need to remember Ghalib when the Urdu language is dying and nothing is being done to help it survive and flourish. It left Indira Gandhi shocked, but that was Sahir!! Rahi Kanpuri went on to recite some of Sahir sahib's poems. "I consider him better than many. He was a man of guts."
No doubt about that. It takes a lot of courage to stand up against powerful politicians. And Indira Gandhi was no ordinary 'powerful politician'. This is what Sahir Ludhianvi reportedly recited:
"Jin shahron mein guunji thi Ghalib ki nava barson
Un shahron mein ab Urdu bey-namonishan thahri
Azadi ka elan hua jab
Mayub zabaan thahri gaddar zaban thahri
Jis ahed-e siyasat ne yeh zinda zaban kuchli
Is ahed-e siyasat ko marhumon ka gham kyun hai
Ghalib jise kahte hain urdu ka hi shayar tha
Urdu pe sitam dha kar Ghalib pe karam kyun hai"