Shaukat Ali Alvi ‘Shamsi Minai’was born in Basti on 16th September 1919. Though his ancestral place was Kakori near Luckow but his parents were settled in Basti where Shamsi was born and brought up. His parent moved to Gonda after some time. Shamsi passed his high school from Thompson College Gonda in 1937. He started poetry here and got opportunity to meet Jigar Moradabadi. Shamsi then moved to Gorakhpur where he used to attend mushairas. Some times Jigar Moradabadi was also present. Jigar saheb advised him to concentrate on nazm. Shamsi followed his advice and composed very good nazms. He joined Socialist Party of India led by Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia in 1948 used his poetry and lectures in promoting party’s ideology.

Shamsi Minai moved to Barabanki after 1950 and settled there. In 1957, he was married to Raazia Begum, daughter of Mohd. Younus Kidwai Daryabadi. The marriage was attended by socialist party supremo Dr.Ram Manohar Lohia and leaders like Raj Narain etc. Though he was closely associated with top leaders of socialist party but was never offered any position in the party. He was never well off with finances, mushaira and shayari became his only means of livelihood. He was god fearing and straight forward, had no bad habits and spent a religious life and performed Haj also in 1977.

He never succeeded in his political life. The main reason was his self-respect and he never compromised with his principles. Straight forwardness and a bit of short temper did not suite to his political life. Once he contested election for Legislative Assembly but could not win as his party it-self did not properly support him. After 1977 when his party was in coalition Government, his juniors enjoyed high positions but Shamsi Minai along-with another colleague and an important socialist leader Dr. M.A. Halim were ignored.

Shamsi Minai mostly wrote qita’t, ghazal and nazm. He was impressed by Allama Iqbal and Jigar Moradabadi. Contrary to Dr.Lohia he was a man of strong religious belief. His poetry is inspirational as well as straight forward and deals with current issues. His nazm ‘Firqa Paraston Se Do Do Baaten’ and ‘Hidustan Pakistan Ek Hon’ were inspired by Dr. Lohia’s views. His nazm ‘Taj Mahal’ is viewed as a landmark in urdu nazms. His nazms ‘Hawa’, ’Paani’, ‘Mitti’ ‘Aag’ ;Bhookh’, ‘Jaade Ki Aag’, ‘Bahadur Shah Zafar’ and ‘Main Hindustan Mein Kyon Rahta Hoon’ are some of his widely acclaimed work. His Na’tia kalam include: ‘Ghaar-e-Saur Ki Ek Raat’ and ‘Darbar-e-Mohammadi’.

His collection of poetry was published as ‘Partav’.

Shamsi Minai died of brain tumor on 16th September 1988 in Delhi. His body was brought to Barabanki and buried in qabristan Baba Wajhan Shah. Lane near his residence in Begumganj area has been named after him.