Shaheed Diwas


    In News

    • Prime Minister of India paid tributes to Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru on Shaheed Diwas (23rd March).
      • The Day is also known as Martyrs’ Day or Sarvodaya Day.
      • This day is different from the Martyrs’ Day observed on 30th January, the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.


    • History:
      • On March 23, 1931, the three freedom fighters laid down their lives for the independence of India from colonial rule. 
      • Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev trio was found guilty of killing deputy police superintendent JP Saunders in 1928, to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai. 
        • The British Raj had sentenced the three to be hanged to death for their involvement in the killing of John Saunders, whom they had mistaken for James Scott, a British police superintendent. 
        • They had wanted to kill Scott because they believed that he played a pivotal role in the death of eminent nationalist leader Lala Lajpat Rai. 
    • Why is it celebrated?
      • It is this fearless spirit that Indians celebrate every year on Martyr’s Day.
      • Still, people continue to reminisce about Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev for the significant contributions they made towards India’s independence in 1947.

    Shaheed Bhagat Singh


    • Born as Bhaganwala on the 27th September 1907, Bhagat Singh grew up in a petty-bourgeois family of Sandhu Jats settled in the Jullundur Doab district of Punjab.
    • He belonged to a generation that was to intervene between two decisive phases of the Indian national movement – the phase of the ‘Extremism’ of Lal-Bal-Pal and the Gandhian phase of nonviolent mass action.


    • 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.


    • He became a member of the Hindustan Republican Association, started by Sachindranath Sanyal. 
    • 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.


    • Bhagat Singh returned to Lahore and he and his colleagues started a militant youth organisation called the Naujawan Bharat Sabha.


    • 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.


    • He was first arrested on charges of association with the Kakori Case, accused of an article written under the pseudonym Vidrohi (Rebel). 
    • He was also accused of being responsible for a bomb explosion in Lahore.


    • Bhagat Singh changed the name of the Hindustan Republican Association to the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).


    • He along with Batukeshwar Dutt, 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”.


    • 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.


    • Bhagat Singh was arrested and charged in the Saunders murder case, along with Rajguru, Sukhdev and others. 
    • The trio was ordered to be hanged on 24 March 1931 but the sentence was carried out a day earlier at the Lahore Jail. 
    • He was executed at the age of 23.

    Political Ideology

    • His “azaadi” freedom was not limited to the expelling of the British; instead, he desired azaadi from poverty, azaadi from untouchability, azaadi from communal strife, and azaadi from every form of discrimination and exploitation.
    • He regarded Kartar Singh Sarabha, the founding member of the Ghadar Party as his hero. 
    • Bhagat was also inspired by Bhai Parmanand, another founding member of the Ghadar Party.
    • He was attracted to anarchism and communism. He was an avid reader of the teachings of Mikhail Bakunin and also read Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky.
    •  ‘Why I am an Atheist’ is an essay written by Bhagat Singh in 1930 while he was imprisoned in the Lahore Central Jail. 

    Gandhi’s Influence

    • Initially, he supported Mahatma Gandhi and the Non-Cooperation Movement. 
    • However, when Gandhi withdrew the movement in the wake of the Chauri Chaura incident, Bhagat Singh turned to revolutionary nationalism.

    Role of Sukhdev Thapar & Shivaram Rajguru

    • They grew up witnessing the brutal atrocities that Britain’s colonial rule kept inflicting on India.
    • These experiences instilled within him a strong urge to join the revolutionaries in their fight for India’s freedom. 
    • They began organising revolutionary cells in Punjab and other areas of North India, vowing to set India free from the shackles of British rule.
    • They also played an active role in several revolutionary activities.

    Source: IE