Martyrdom Day – 23rd March

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Martyrdom Day – 23rd March

The death anniversary of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru on 23 March, is declared to be Martyrs’ Day. 23rd March 1931, marks the Balidan or Martyrhood a sacrifice that can not easily be forgotten in Indian Freedom Struggle. BhagatSingh, Rajguru, Sukhdev three revolutionaries that shaped the modern and Young India are never as relevant as they were at any point of time. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were sentenced to death in the Lahore conspiracy case and ordered to be hanged on 24 March 1931.

On 17 March 1931, the Home Secretary, Punjab, sent a telegram to the Home Department, New Delhi, fixing the execution on 23 March 1931. Singh was informed that his execution had been advanced by 11 hours on 23 March 1931, just a few hours before his execution. Singh was hanged on 23 March 1931 at 7:30 pm in Lahore jail with his fellow comrades Rajguru and Sukhdev. It is reported that no magistrate of the time was willing to supervise his hanging. The execution was supervised by the Honorary Magistrate of Kasur, Nawab Muhammad Ahmad Khan Kasuri, who also signed Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev’s death warrants as their original warrants had expired. The jail authorities then broke the rear wall of the jail and secretly cremated the three martyrs under cover of darkness outside Ganda Singh Wala village, and then threw the ashes into the Sutlej river, about 10 km from Ferozepore (and about 60 km from Lahore).

Shaheed Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh was an immensely talented, charismatic and scholarly young man who epitomised the best values of secularism and rationality, led by example, put his nation, team and people before himself, practised a rigorous disciplined work ethic, willingly embraced self-denial and represented the common man of India.

In the words of Subhash Chandra Bose: “Bhagat Singh had become the symbol of the new awakening among the youths …”. Nehru acknowledged that the popularity of Singh was leading to a new national awakening, saying: “He was a clean fighter who faced his enemy in the open field….he was like a spark that became a flame in a short time and spread from one end of the country to the other dispelling the prevailing darkness everywhere.”

Four years after Singh’s hanging, the Director of the Intelligence Bureau, Sir Horace Williamson, wrote:

“His photograph was on sale in every city and township and for a time rivalled in popularity even that of Mr. Gandhi himself.”

Shaheed Bhagat Singh (1907-1931) is remembered as Shaheed-e-Azam. His  slogan of ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ made a great impact on the youth  during the freedom movement. Bhagat Singh studied in D.A.V. College, Lahore where Lala Lajpat Rai was a teacher. When he was in class nine, he joined the Non Cooperation Movement.

To avenge the death of Lala  Lajpat Rai, he killed Saunders on 17th December, 1928. Bhagat Singh was  an active member of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army. In 1925, he initiated the militant youth organization called the Naujawan Bharat  Sabha. Bhagat Singh exploded bombs in the Central Legislative Assembly, Delhi in 1929. He was hanged with two comrades Rajguru and Sukhdev on 23rd March, 1931.

On the martyr day of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, there is a need to make an appeal to pledge in all our hearts to fight with the forces which have kept India poor and backward, to give a sincere message to the youths, who are future of India, to take care of India.

Shaheed Bhagat Singh as a national hero has been known for occupying a special place in people’s heart. A clarity of vision and determination of purpose distinguished Bhagat Singh from other leaders of the National Movement.  He was deeply contributed to the world and in particular to the future of socialism in India and Pakistan.

Remembering Bhagat Singh on this day, will definitely carry forward his revolutionary teachings.  The words of Bhagat Singh “Any man who stands for progress has to criticize, disbelieve and challenge every item of the old faith” are inspiring for the present generation.  It was only Bhagat Singh who could react to his father’s petition to the member of the Special Tribunal in connection with his defence.  He was one of the most prominent revolutionaries of India.

But there is no due recognition at the government level even for not giving place in the public gallery in Parliament. A number of institutions have prefixed the name of Shaheed Bhagat  Singh but  remember on his birthday  and martyr  day as a rituality over a simple ceremonies and arranging key note speakers on the occasions. Such institutions are only concerned with getting the benefits from the government in the shape of grants in the name of Shaheed  Bhagat Singh. Even the relatives of Bhagat Singh have established a  big educational institution at Faridabad but they are least bothered  to look after the museum put up at the native village at Khat Khat  Kalan (Nawanshehr) being maintained by the government, which is in a  very bad shape when once I happen to stop on my way to Chandigarh.

Similarly, the ‘samadhi’ at Hussaniwala situated at Indo-Pak border gives a deserted look. It is maintained only during the month of March to celebrate the martyr day by the political parties to encash the sympathy for their political gains and games.  For rest of the days, there is no any regular transport or rail facility to visit this place. Rail line too is opened only on April 13 and March 23 to celebrate Baisakhi and Martyr day, during the month of March.

However, this place is also nearer the Indo-Pak international border where there is retreat ceremony, arranged for lowering the flags of the two nations in an ceremonial manner, on everyday, which s is witnessed by about a thousand people locally and far off places, who happen to come to Ferozepur because this is the only place to visit. This can be converted in to a tourist spot and connected with daily bus service for the convenience of the public.

Recently the government has sanctioned Rs.16 crores to   construct a visitor’s gallery to witness the retreat ceremony. It would  be more appropriate if simultaneously the Bhagat Singh Samadh is also  developed by allocating certain funds to make this a Tourist Point,  with a stadium, museum, library,  shopping complex and of course a  children park.

How much we Indians are sincere can be measured from the scam of Rs.1 crore fraud unearthed in 2008 during Bhagat Singh’s Birth Centenary Celebrations?

Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s associates Sukhdev and Rajguru also cannot be forgotten who exceptionally brave men gave their lives willingly to shake this nation out of its torpor and thraldom of the colonial rule.  Merely declaring holiday on the martyr day of Shaheed Bhagat Singh would not suffice; the real tribute will be, if every year, birthday and martyr day of Bhagat Singh are organised, in every institution, which is named after him to remember his sacrifice for the cause of freedom of India.

The modern India is desperately looking for such virtues in an elusive leader.  The youths today lack ethical values.  We need to instil in them the sense of enthusiasm and patriotism. We also need people like Bhagat Singh today to fight against the evil forces to free India from corruption.  This would be our best tribute to the martyrs.

Now, in view of serious external and internal threats to India’s freedom, there is a need to understand Bhagat Singh for keeping the spirit of nationalism alive among the youth.