India celebrates Shaheed Diwas every year on January 30 and March 23 to pay homage to the victims who fought for the freedom, glory, welfare and progress of India. Fifteen countries in the world including India, celebrate Martyrs’ Day to give respect to their freedom fighters.
Why is Martyrs’ Day celebrated on January 30?
The contribution of Mahatma Gandhi towards the nation and its independence is no secret. He was a great freedom fighter who taught the lesson of non-violence and worked on building the unity of the nation which was broken by the British. After India got Independence in 1947, Bapu stayed away from politics and started working on the harmony, peace, and brotherhood among the people.
On January 30, 1948, the Father of the Nation’ was assassinated at Gandhi Smriti in the Birla House during the evening prayers.
January 30 is the day when Mahatma Gandhi was martyred and the Government of India announced the day as Shaheed Diwas or Martyrs’ Day.
The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi
Nathuram Vinayak Godse, an advocate of Hindu nationalism and also a member of the political party Hindu Mahasabha, murdered Gandhi on January 30, 1948, 5 months after India gained freedom.
While Mahatma Gandhi was walking up the steps to a raised platform behind the Birla House, where he conducted his multi-faith prayer meetings every evening, Godse came out of the crowd, faced him, looked him in the eye and fired three shots at point-blank range.
Gandhi was carried inside the Birla House and was declared dead by one of the representatives.
Later, during his last rites, Godse tried to justify his crime, holding Gandhi responsible for the partition of the country and the killing of thousands during the freedom struggle. He called Gandhi a pretender and in no way felt guilty for his crime. He was sentenced to death on 8th November 1949.
So every year, on the day Bapu breathed his last, the nation celebrates Martyr’s Day. The President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, and our Defence Minister gather at Rajghat to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.
Students in schools and colleges perform plays in the memories of the brave fighters. Patriotic songs are played to keep alive the spirit of courage, bravery and love for the nation.
Martyrs’ Day of March 23
While January 30 is celebrated as Shaheed Diwas in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, March 23 is celebrated as Martyrs’ Day to remember the sacrifice of three extraordinary revolutionaries of India. On March 23, three heroes of the nation were hanged to death by the British:
- Bhagat Singh
- Shivaram Rajguru
- Sukhdev Thapar
These young men of India took a different path from Bapu but it was all for the welfare of the country they loved. Bhagat Singh and his companions continue to be a source of inspiration for the young minds of India.
How is Shaheed Diwas celebrated?
On January 30, the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, and the Defense Minister get together at the Rajghat to the Samadhi of the Mahatma Gandhi and put down flowers garland at the statue of Father of the Nation’. The Armed Forces personnel and Inter-services Contingent of the country give an honourable salute to the martyrs.
The people gathered at the place keep silence for 2 minutes in the memory of Bapu and other martyrs of the country.