Martyr’s Day (Shaheed Diwas) 2024: date, history and significance

Martyr's Day or Shaheed Diwas: It is observed in India on several dates. March 23 is remembered as the day when three brave freedom fighters, namely Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru, and Sukhdev Thapar, were hanged by the British. Also, January 30th is observed as Martyr's Day or Shahid Diwas in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi. Read here for more details.

Martyr’s Day or Shaheed Diwas 2024: Martyr’s Day or Shaheed Diwas is observed in India on several dates. January 30th is observed as Martyr’s Day or Shaheed Diwas in memory of Mahatma Gandhi. Also, March 23 is remembered as the day when three brave freedom fighters, namely Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru, and Sukhdev Thapar, were hanged by the British.

About Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi was born on October 2nd, 1869 in Porbandar, Gujarat, India, and his full name was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. He was married at the age of 13 and went to England for his studies.

At the request of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Gandhiji returned to India from South Africa in January 1915.

He was a prominent political and spiritual leader of the Indian Independence movement. He also received international fame for his non-violent protest theories to achieve political and social progress. Mahatma Gandhi is not only a name but a symbol of peace and non-violence in the whole world.

No doubt, he became popular as the “Father of the Nation” by his followers and is also known as “Bapu ji.”

Thousands of people and leaders supported his work and thoughts and walked in his footsteps. Mahatma Gandhi’s role in the Kheda, Champaran led the British to accept the demands. He started the non-cooperation movement in 1920 and the famous Dandi March in 1930. Gandhiji also leads several agitations with significant effort. Therefore, India received independence in 1947.

Why is Martyr’s Day celebrated on 30 January?

The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was assassinated by Nathuram Godse in the Birla House during his evening prayers on January 30, 1948. Gandhiji was a freedom fighter, a simple man with great determination, a man who gave his life for India’s independence, welfare, and development.

Nathuram Godse was trying to justify his crime by holding Gandhiji and saying that he was responsible for the partition of the country and the killing of thousands during the freedom struggle. He called Gandhiji a pretender and in no way felt guilty for his crime. On November 8th, Godse was sentenced to death. So, on this day, i.e., January 30, Bapu breathed his last and was martyred. The government of India announced the day as Shaheed Diwas or Martyr’s Day.

How is Martyr’s Day (Shaheed Diwas) celebrated across the country on 30th January?

On January 30, the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Defence Minister will gather at the Rajghat for Mahatma Gandhi’s Samadhi to pay tribute by placing a flower garland on the statue of Bapu. An honourable salute is also given by the armed forces personnel and inter-services contingent to pay respect to the martyrs. Two minutes of silence were kept there in the memory of the Father of the Nation, Bapu, and other martyrs throughout the country. Several bhajans, or religious prayers, are also sung. Many schools have programmes on this day in which students display patriotic songs and plays.

30 January is celebrated as Shaheed Diwas, or Martyr’s Day, in memory of Mahatma Gandhi, and 23rd March is celebrated as Martyr’s Day to remember the sacrifice of three extraordinary freedom fighters of India. On March 23, three heroes of our nation were hanged to death, namely Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru, and Sukhdev Thapar by the British. No doubt, they also sacrificed their lives for the welfare of our nation, whether or not they chose a different path from Mahatma Gandhi. They are the source of inspiration for the youth of India. At such a young age, they came forward, and for independence, they fought with bravery. So, to pay homage to these three revolutionaries, Martyr’s Day is also observed on the 23rd of March.

About Bhagat Singh and his companions

Bhagat Singh was born on September 28, 1907, in Lyallpur, Punjab. Bhagat Singh, together with his companions Rajguru, Sukhdev, Azad, and Gopal, fought for the assassination of Lala Lajpat Rai. Bhagat Sing became an inspiration for youngsters due to his daring adventures. He and his companions, on April 8th1929, threw bombs over the Central Legislative Assembly by reading the slogan “Inquillab Zindabad”. And for this, a murder case was charged against them. On March 23rd, 1931, in the Lahore Jail, they were hanged. Their bodies were cremated on the banks of the Sutlej River.

To honour the martyrs of the nation, several other days at the national level were also declared as Sarvodaya or Shaheed Diwas.

13 July: It is celebrated as Martyr’s Day in Jammu and Kashmir to commemorate the deaths of 22 people. On July 13, 1931, people were killed by royal soldiers while demonstrating adjacent to Maharaja, Hari Singh of Kashmir.

17th November: This day is celebrated as Martyr’s Day in Odisha to observe the death anniversary of Lala Lajpat Ray, also known as the “Lion of Punjab”. He also played an important role in the freedom struggle of India from the British dominion.

19th November: This day is also celebrated as Martyr’s Day in Jhansi. On November 19th, Rani Lakshmi Bai was born. She also sacrificed her life during the 1857 revolt.

So, now you may have come to know about Martyr’s Day or Shaheed Diwas. Why and how is it celebrated?

“The people who have really made history are the martyrs.” – Aleister Crowley
“It is the cause, not the death, that makes the martyr.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

The day fills the hearts of Indians with great pride. Various Governmental and Non-governmental organizations organize different events to remember the contributions of Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru, and Sukhdev Thapar for India’s independence.

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