New York, NY
Shaheed Diwas or Martyrs’ Day is observed on six days across India which includes January 30th and March 23rd each year to remember the sacrifices of the brave freedom fighters who devoted their entire lives to help us enjoy freedom.
As India and the people of Indian origin living around the world enjoy freedom, liberty, equality and success, it’s due to the sacrifices, vision and foresight of men and women who dedicated their lives at the cause of freedom, fighting for independence from the 200-years of British Rule. There are millions who dedicated their lives, while there are some whose leadership and bravery inspired millions of others to fight for freedom.
Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) along with its chapters in the New York area (Manhattan, New York, Edison and Central Jersey) joined hands with the Consulate General of India in New York to organize and honor the martyrs during a virtual celebration of Shaheed Diwas 2023, which is the 92nd death anniversary of three courageous youngsters Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar on March 18, 2023.
The celebrations, started with a welcome remarks by GOPIO-Manhattan Co-Secretary Emcee Bhavya Gupta, touched many hearts as the hundreds of participants heard personal stories shared by family members of some of these brave men and women, who fought valiantly and gave up their lives at the altar of freedom for India. Bhavya then introduced the other Emcee of the event, poet and writer Anoop Bhargava , who spoke on the importance of Martyr’s Day. Bhargava sai, “On March 23 in 1931, three brave men, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, and Shivaram Rajguru were hanged to death by Britishers, for fighting for freedom from British rule in India.”
India’s Consul General Randhir Kumar Jaiswal opened with Jai Hind. He shared his journey of 25-years since starting in the Indian Foreign Service in 1998 and pointed to the nine-fold growth in the same period within India. He further added, that the next 25-years, known as Amrit Kal (100-years of independence); India will grow 9-fold or more. He praised the contributions of the Martyrs that led to the last 75-years of success and called upon the Indian Diaspora to join him this year and convey the message of India as it leads G20 Presidency to the people across the world. Also, this year India celebrates the International Year of Millets 2023 or Shree Anna (means auspicious).
Vermont State Senator Ms. Kesha Ram reflected on her roots and the involvement of her families during the partition of India and Pakistan. That event displaced millions and numerous lives were lost. Her Great-Great Grandfather was Shri Gangaram upon whom there is a hospital named in the Capital–New Delhi and Lahore, Pakistan.”
Dr. Bhuvan Lall, Film Producer, Entrepreneur, Speaker, Scriptwriter and Columnist, New Delhi, India. Author of The Man India Missed The Most – Subhas Chandra Bose & The Great Indian Genius – Har Dayal, reminded the audience of the importance of various dates before and after March 23rd starting with Jan 30th, Feb 27th, March 23rd, April 13th. Dr Lall reminded that the freedom struggle started in 1857 that caught fervor post hanging of the three martyrs and led to the freedom in 1947.
Cultural Consul Vipul Dev from the Indian Consulate summarized the event “Keep the memories of our Martyrs alive and it’s very important to let the future generations of our diaspora especially the children who are born and brought up here in the United States to acquaint them with the glorious history of India’s Freedom struggle.” He further added, “It took immense courage and immense sacrifices by the Shaheeds on their part, imagine someone you know as young as 23 years old like Bhagat Singh was and their other companions they were young men in their 20s, some were in their 30s, but imagine the kind of courage and sacrifice that they chose so we should learn and we should take inspiration from their life and we should understand their message and take it forward.”
Consul Dev further said “As we gather at the Consulate General of India with our community who are regular at our events and who are connected with us, that this year we are celebrating the 75th year of India’s independence, Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and as part of that series of celebrations we are remembering so many of our freedom fighters especially those who we consider unsung heroes.”