Poet Imprisoned/Pakistan Anthem Author Remembered – Poetry News Roundup December 23rd

Today in our poetry news roundup, we look at the poet facing a 12-year prison sentence and the commemoration of the poet who penned the Pakistani National Anthem.

Poet Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison in Vietnam

The writer and poet Tran Duc Thach has been sentenced to 12 years in prison in Vietnam. He was sentenced on the 17th December, having bee convicted of charges relating to subversion covered by Article 109 of the criminal code of Vietnam. He was originally arrested back in April following a series of Facebook posts in which he was very critical of the government, stating that there were human rights abuses going on in the country.

Tran Duc Thach, who is also a human rights activist, was given a 12-year prison term and three years’ probation by the courts in the province of Nghe An. The sentence has been condemned by PEN America as an attack on the free expression that exists in the country.

They claim that rather than being imprisoned for his views the poet’s actions should have been celebrated as a civic duty performed and that the case should never have been brought to court in the first place. The sentence they said was a significant violation of the poet’s basic human rights and they called for his immediate release.

PEN America also called on the authorities in Vietnam last month as well, asking them to drop the charges.

A prolific writer, Thach has written novels, poetry collections and Ho Chon Nguoi Am Anh, his memoir. He is just one of a number of Vietnamese writers who are currently imprisoned in the country – they are all bloggers or those who have used the written word to speak out against the governments, mostly online.

Author of Pakistan National Anthem Remembered

Hafeez Jalandhar, the renowned poet, writer and composer of the Pakistan National Anthem was remembered on 21st Dec, the 38th anniversary of his death. Tributes were paid to him for his contributions to literature.

Born in Jalandhar, in British India in Punjab on 14th January 1900, Jalandhari emigrated to Lahore following the Independence of Pakistan in 1947. He published his first poetry collection in 1935.

In 1952 he wrote the lyrics for the national anthem of Pakistan, Qaumi Tarana. He was an active participant in the Pakistan Movement, and he used his writing to further the cause of Pakistan.

In 1948 he joined the forces that were fighting for the freedom of Kashmir and was wounded. He also penned the Kashmiri Anthem during this time.

It was Shahnam-e-Islam, his work of poetry that brought him the most fame, the collection told the story of the glory of Islam in the form of verse. And during the Indo-Pakistani war which took place in 1965, he wrote a number of patriotic songs.

He was awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz by the Pakistani Government for his patriotic and literary services to the country. He died in 1982 at the age of 82.

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