Shaheed Diwas or Martyrs’ Day 2023
Shaheed Diwas or Martyrs’ Day is observed in India on 23rd March every year to pay homage to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of India. This day marks the anniversary of the execution of three Indian freedom fighters- Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru in 1931.
On this day, people in India observe a two-minute silence to remember the sacrifice of these three great freedom fighters and all the other martyrs who laid down their lives for the nation. The President, the Vice-President, and the Prime Minister of India pay tribute to these great freedom fighters at their respective memorials in Delhi. There is also a tradition of organizing processions, marches and rallies on this day in various parts of the country. Schools and colleges also hold special programs to commemorate the occasion and to educate the students about the sacrifices of the martyrs. The day is a reminder to the people of India about the value of freedom and the sacrifices made by the freedom fighters for the country.
Notably, Martyrs’ Day is also observed in India on January 30 to pay respect to Mahatma Gandhi ji. On January 30, 1948, Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse in the compound of Birla House.
Shaheed Diwas or Martyrs’ Day: History
- Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, and Shivaram Rajguru were members of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA), a revolutionary organization that believed in armed struggle against British colonial rule in India. Their sacrifice inspired a generation of young Indians to fight for the country’s freedom from colonial rule.
- Lala Lajpat Rai arranged a peaceful protest against Sir John Simon’s visit to Lahore on October 30, 1928, with the slogan ‘Simon, Go Back.’ Despite the non-violent nature of the demonstration, the Superintendent of Police, James A Scott, ordered the police to use batons to disperse the protesters. Unfortunately, Lala Lajpat Rai sustained fatal injuries during the clash.
- After Lala Lajpat Rai’s death, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev, who were young revolutionary freedom fighters, decided to assassinate James Scott. However, they mistakenly identified another superintendent of police, John P. Saunders, and killed him instead.
- In an attempt to seek revenge for Lala Lajpat Rai’s death, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev planned to attack the Central Legislative Assembly and prevent the passing of the Public Safety Bill and the Trade Dispute Act.
- On April 8, 1929, they tried to bomb the Central Legislative Assembly but they were caught. As a result, all three were sentenced to death. On 23rd March 1931, they were executed at the age of 23, 24, and 22 respectively.
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