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Indian History

Shaheed Diwas

  • 24 Mar 2022
  • 6 min read

For Prelims: Shaheed Diwas, Bhagat Singh, Hindustan Republican Association, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Kakori Case

For Mains: Indian Freedom Movement, Bhagat Singh and his contributions to the Indian Independence movement.

Why in News?

Every year, Shaheed Diwas, also known as Martyrs' Day or Sarvodaya Day, is observed on 23rd March.

What is the History behind Shaheed Diwas?

  • It was on this day that Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were executed by the British government in 1931.
    • They were hanged to death for assassinating John Saunders, a British police officer in 1928. They had mistaken him for British police superintendent James Scott.
      • It was Scott who had ordered lathi charge, which eventually led to the death of Lala Lajpat Rai.
    • While Bhagat Singh, who had publicly announced avenging Lala Lajpat 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.
      • Allowed themselves to be arrested, while shouting the famous slogan: “Inquilab Zindabad“, or “Long live the revolution”.
  • Their lives inspired countless youth and in their death, they set an example. They carved out their own path for independence, where individual heroism and their aggressive need to do something for the nation stood out, departing from the path followed by the Congress leaders then.

Who was Bhagat Singh?

  • Early Life: 
    • Born as Bhaganwala on the 26th September, 1907, Bhagat Singh grew up in a petty-bourgeois family of Sandhu Jats settled in the Jullundur Doab district of the Punjab.
  • Role in Freedom Struggle:
    • In 1923, Bhagat Singh joined the National College, Lahore which was founded and managed by Lala Lajpat Rai and Bhai Parmanand.
      • The College was set up as an alternative to the institutions run by the Government, bringing to the field of education the idea of Swadeshi.
    • In 1924 in Kanpur, he became a member of the Hindustan Republican Association, started by Sachindranath Sanyal a year earlier. The main organiser of the Association was Chandra Shekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh became very close to him.
      • It was as a member of the HRA that Bhagat Singh began to take seriously the philosophy of the Bomb.
        • Revolutionary Bhagwati Charan Vohra wrote the famous article philosophy of the Bomb. Including the philosophy of bomb he authored three important political documents; the other two were Manifesto of Naujawan Sabha and Manifesto of HSRA.
      • Armed revolution was understood to be the only weapon with which to fight British imperialism.
    • In 1925, Bhagat Singh returned to Lahore and within the next year he and his colleagues started a militant youth organisation called the Naujawan Bharat Sabha.
    • In April 1926, Bhagat Singh established contact with Sohan Singh Josh and through him the 'Workers and Peasants Party' which brought out the monthly magazine Kirti in Punjabi.
      • For the next year Bhagat Singh worked with Josh and joined the editorial board of Kirti.
    • In 1927, he was first arrested on charges of association with the Kakori Case, accused for an article written under the pseudonym Vidrohi (Rebel). He was also accused of being responsible for a bomb explosion at Lahore during the Dussehra fair.
    • In 1928, Bhagat Singh changed the name of Hindustan Republican Association to Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA). In 1930, when Azad was shot, the HSRA collapsed.
      • Naujawan Bharat Sabha replaced HSRA in Punjab.
    • 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.

Source: PIB

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