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Friday, December 3, 2021
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India Celebrates Its ‘Martyrs’ Day,’ History You Should Know

India observes March 23 as the Shaheed Diwas or Martyrs’ Day. The day remembers the hanging of India’s three freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar.

The three young freedom fighters, who had confidence in the philosophy of making some commotion to awaken the sleeping British rulers, were hanged by the colonialists on March 23, 1931 in Lahore Jail. Head of the triplet and perhaps the most worshipped young voice from Punjab was Bhagat Singh, who was brought into the world on September 28, 1907 in Lyallpur, Punjab. Along with his colleagues Sukhdev, Azad, Gopal and Rajguru, Singh battled against the British.

They were deeply affected by the assassination of Lala Lajpat Rai, another activist in Indian freedom movement. A legal advisor, Rai drove a peaceful protest against the Simon Commission when it visited Lahore on October 30, 1928. The British Raj police returned with deadly power, doing a lathi-charge. It was during this lathi charge that Singh saw a merciless assault on Rai, who endured genuine wounds in the police attack and in the end died on November 17, 1928, of a cardiovascular failure.

Sukhdev, who was born on May 15 1907 in Ludhiana, interacted with Singh in 1921 when he was a student in National College. He joined the underground progressive association, Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), which included Singh, Rajguru and Chandrashekhar Azad. The affiliation announced itself communist in 1928.

Singh and his companions chose to strike back at the British in their own manner. In 1928, they decided to kill a police supremo responsible for Rai’s death, one of the originators of National College, during a quiet walk contradicting the Simon Commission. Anyhow they could not find their objective and junior official J.P. Saunders got killed. Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru needed to escape Lahore to get away from capital punishment.

In 1929, he and a partner tossed a bomb at the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi to fight the imposition of the Defense of India Act by cheering the slogan of “Inquillab Zindabad”. Apart from being a freedom fighter, Singh likewise functioned as an author and supervisor in Amritsar for Punjabi and Urdu language papers that discussed theories of Marxism.

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