Martyrs’ Day, March 23
– September 27, 1907-March 23, 1931 –
In the dead of night of March 23, 1931, Bhagat Singh, Rajaguru and Sukhdev were executed by the British colonial rulers of the British Raj, with the collaboration of M.K. Ghandi, at the Lahore jail. Many others were taken to the gallows, many like them in their early twenties. One by one the revolutionary youths, workers and peasants saw their heroes martyred — yet the cry for the freedom of their people, which they sang of even while being led to the gallows, still moves the spirits of the Indian revolutionaries today.
Mahatma Ghandi, contrary to all the myths about him, played a despicable role. Right at the time the British rulers were imprisoning Indian revolutionaries and sending them to the gallows, he signed a deal with the British which gave the British the green light to execute the revolutionaries. On March 5, 1931, after prolonged talks between Gandhi and Lord Irwin, Viceroy of India, the Gandhi-Irwin Agreement was signed. The pact stated that “those political prisoners will be released who are undergoing imprisonment in connection with the civil disobedience movement for offences which did not involve violence… or incitement to such violence.” As a result of this agreement, the greatest heroes of the Indian people were to be slaughtered by the British executioners, while the followers of Gandhi were set free.
At his trial Bhagat Singh declared:
“None whose heart bleeds for those who give their life-blood in silence to the building up of the economic structure of the exploiter, of whom the government happens to be the biggest in this country, could repress the cry of the soul in agonizing anguish… Others have as keenly felt as we have done and from under the seeming sereneness of the sea of Indian humanity a veritable storm is about to break out. We have only hoisted the danger signal to warn those who are speeding along without heeding the grave dangers. We have only marked the end of the era of the utopian non-violence of whose futility the rising generation has been convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt. Revolution is the inalienable right of mankind. Freedom is the imprescriptable birthright of all. The labourer is the real sustainer of society. The sovereignty of the people is the ultimate destiny of workers. For these ideals and for this faith we shall welcome any suffering to which we may be condemned. To the altar of revolution we have brought our youth as incense, for no sacrifice is too great for so magnificent a cause. We are content. We await the advent of the Revolution. Inquilab Zindabad!“