23rd March of every year is marked as Shaheed Diwas or Martyr’s Day. This day commemorates the sacrifices made by freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev for India’s independence. This day marks the death anniversary of these 3 valiant freedom fighters.
History of Shaheed Diwas
Lala Lajpat Rai was a pivot figure in Indian Independence Movement. In 1928, Simon Commission, headed by Sir John Simon, was set up to report on the political situation of India. Indian political parties boycotted the commission because it did not include any Indian member. When the commission visited Lahore on 30th October 1928, Lala Lajpat Rai led a non violent protest and gave the slogan “Simon Go Back”. Protestors held black flags and chanted the slogan.
Inspite of the peaceful protest, the superintendent of Lahore police, James Scott ordered the police to lathi charge the protestors. He fatally wounded Lala Lajpat Rai. Lajpat Rai succumbed to his wounds on 17th November 1928.
The British government denied any role in Lajpat Rai’s death. Revolutionary Freedom fighter Bhagat Singh witnessed the horrific incident. He joined hands with Rajguru, Sukhdev and Chandra Shekhar Azad and vowed to avenge the death of Lajpat Rai.
On 17th December 1928, owing to mistaken identity, Rajguru and Bhagat Singh shot the assistant superintendent of Lahore police, John P. Saunders.
In April 1929, in the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi, Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt blowed two bombs and allowed the authorities to arrest them.
The trial led to the hanging of the trio in 23rd March 1931.
“Bhagat Singh did not become popular because of his act of terrorism but because he seemed to vindicate, for the moment, the honour of Lala Lajpat Rai, and through him of the nation. He became a symbol; the act was forgotten, the symbol remained, and within a few months each town and village of the Punjab, and to a lesser extent in the rest of northern India, resounded with his name.”Jawaharlal Nehru
The sacrifices made by our national heroes should be remembered at all times. Shaheed Diwas reminds us that we must not forget the martyrs of our great leaders and uphold the dignity and valour of our motherland.