March 23, 2021 11:40:15 am
Shaheed Diwas, observed on March 23, marks the day when Indian freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were executed by the British government for their acts of ‘dramatic violence’, and their role in the struggle for Indian independence. The trio was hanged in the Lahore Central Jail, located in Pakistan today. Their contributions towards the country continue to be honoured till date, and generation after generation is educated on their sacrifices by means of texts, tales, films, plays, etc.
On the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, sharing a video on the incidents that led to Bhagat Singh joining the fight for freedom, mainly the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, in which thousands of peaceful protesters were gunned down on orders of the acting Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer.
आजादी के क्रांतिदूत अमर शहीद वीर भगत सिंह, सुखदेव और राजगुरु को शहीदी दिवस पर शत-शत नमन। मां भारती के इन महान सपूतों का बलिदान देश की हर पीढ़ी के लिए प्रेरणास्रोत बना रहेगा। जय हिंद! #ShaheedDiwas pic.twitter.com/qs3SqAHkO9
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 23, 2021
Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were tried and then executed for fatally shooting a 21-year-old British police officer by the name of John Saunders, whom they had mistaken for British police superintendent James Scott, whom they had originally targeted. The trio believed Scott was responsible for the death of the popular nationalist leader Lala Lajpat Rai, who succumbed to injuries sustained during a lathi charge.
While Singh, who had publicly announced avenging Rai’s death, went into hiding for many months after this shootout, he resurfaced along with an associate Batukeshwar Dutt, and the two, in April 1929, set off two explosive devices inside the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi, and then allowed themselves to be arrested, while shouting the famous slogan: “Inquilab Zindabad“, or “Long live the revolution”.
His time in the prison was spent protesting, seeking better living conditions for inmates. During this time, he gained the sympathy of the public, especially when he joined fellow defendant Jatin Das in a hunger strike. The strike ended with Das’ death from starvation in September 1929. Two years later, Singh was convicted and hanged at the age of 23.
Remembering the sacrifices of #shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru on the occasion of #ShaheedDiwas.Their indomitable courage, patriotism would always be a source of inspiration. pic.twitter.com/RSJ1QRVyyn
— Prof.Jagdish Mukhi (@jagdishmukhi) March 23, 2021
Such was his popularity that even after his death, he continued to make waves in the country, which was stunned after his passing. In fact, Jawaharlal Nehru even wrote about him: “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.”
The symbol that he became after death, and even during his lifetime, is being invoked even today. Protesting farmers in the country, from Punjab and other states, have been heading towards Singhu and Tikri borders to mark the 90th martyrdom day of Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. At these sites, youngsters have planned to conduct events and share Bhagat Singh’s ideas on farmers’ welfare.
मेरा रंग दे बसंती चोला माय रंग दे
Protesting Farmers held a Marathon, wearing Basanti Turbans in memory of Shaheed #BhagatSingh on his Execution Day, The 23rd March. #ShaheedDiwas#हर_किसान_Bhagat_Singh pic.twitter.com/Xvr2YF46LU
— Aarti (@aartic02) March 23, 2021
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