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Shaheed Diwas/Martyrs’ Day 2019

January 30, 2019

January 30 is observed every year as Shaheed Diwas or the Martyrs’ Day in India in honour of Mahatma Gandhi – the Father of the Nation – who was assassinated on January 30, 1948. On this day, we pay homage to Bapu and other freedom fighters of the country who laid down their lives for the nation. On this occasion, let’s take a look at some facts about the Shaheed Diwas:

  • Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in the compound of Birla House, currently called as Gandhi Smriti, where he used to conduct his multi-faith prayer meetings every evening.
  • Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin was Nathuram Vinayak Godse – an advocate of Indian nationalism and a member of the political party the Hindu Mahasabha and a former member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
  • Gandhiji had walked up the steps to the raised lawn behind Birla House to conduct multi-faith prayer meeting. Godse came out of the crowd, and fired three shots at a point-blank range at Gandhiji.
  • This incident shook the entire nation. The then prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, is said to have wept like a child at Bapu’s cremation ceremony.
  • The murder trial of Mahatma Gandhi was opened in May 1948 in Delhi’s historic Red Fort, with Godse as the main defendant, and his collaborators Narayan Apte and six other co-defendants.
  • Godse tried to justify his crime holding Bapu responsible for the partition of the country.
  • Godse and Apte were sentenced to death on November 8, 1949 and were prosecuted in the Ambala Jail on November 15, 1949.
  • On January 30 every year, India’s President, vice-president, prime minister, and the defense ministers assemble at the Rajghat to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Besides January 30, Martyrs’ Day is also observed on March 23 to remember the sacrifice made by three brave freedom fighters of our country who were hanged to death by the Britishers — Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru, Sukhdev Thapar.
  • India is one of the 15 countries in the world that celebrates the Martyrs’ Day every year.
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