IN an attempt to ensure that the Martyrs’ Day on January 30 — the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi — is “observed with due solemnity and with better public participation,” the Narendra Modi government has asked the state governments to issue instructions to all educational institutions and Public Sector Enterprises to see to it that the day is observed in a “befitting manner”.
“In the past, it has been observed that while two minutes’ silence is observed in some offices, the general public goes about its occupation in the ordinary course, unmindful of the solemnity of the occasion,” the Ministry of Home Affairs has written to all states and union territories.
“Instructions may be issued to all educational institutions in the State/Union Territory and Public Sector Enterprises under them for observance of the Martyrs’ Day with full solemnity and in a befitting manner,” the MHA has said.
Listing out the standing instructions that have been laid down to observe the Martyrs’ Day — “in the memory of those who gave their lives in the struggle for India’s freedom” — the states and UTs have been told that “silence should be observed and work and movement stopped for two minutes throughout the country at 11 am” on January 30. The MHA has also stated that “wherever available, the commencement and termination of the two minutes’ silence period should be indicated by sound of siren or Army guns.”
“Sirens should be sounded from 1059 hrs till 1100 hrs and after two minutes, all clear sirens should again be sounded from 1102 hrs till 1103 hrs. This procedure may be adopted where sirens exist,” the MHA has said.
“On hearing the signal (wherever available), all persons would stand up and observe the silence. It would be more effective if people could gather at one place for observing the silence instead of each person standing in his room or at any other place. However, no effort need be made to assembly at one place if it involves serious dislocation of work,” the instructions state.
The MHA has told all states and UTs to see that “speeches and talks connected with the significance of the day, particularly mentioning the role of freedom fighters in the freedom of India may be made”.
The field publicity units of state governments have also been advised to hold cultural programmes and show films or documentaries on the Indian freedom movement and the role of martyrs in freedom struggle and national integration. The MHA has also directed states to request various chambers of commerce and industry to “ensure proper observance of the Martyrs’ Day by their members and affiliated associations and organisations”.