Shahid Diwas (translates as Martyr’s Day in English), is an annual observation in Nepal, to memorize, give due respect and salute the brave people who gave their lives defending the sovereignty and to bring good governance in the nation. The Shahid Diwas lies in Magh 16th every year according to the Nepali Calendar, which is usually in the last of January.
In Nepal, Shahid Diwas is observed in the memory of the four martyrs, who were shot dead or hanged by the Ranas, as they opposed the Rana Regime and its autocracy. The four martyrs were Shukra Raj Shastri, Dharma Bhakta Mathema, Gangalal Shrestha and Dasarath Chand. Among the four martyrs, Dasarath Chand and Dharma Bhakta Mathema were hanged in a tree in Sifal, Kathmandu (in Magh 12, 1997), while Gangalal Shrestha and Shukra Raj Shastri were shot dead.
Though there are separate dates for the commemoration of all the four martyrs, Magh 16 was declared to be the day in common for all martyrs (the four and all the others too) officially by the Government of Nepal.
The first Martyr of Nepal, however, was Lakhan Thapa, who died while fighting against Junga Bahadur Rana, the first Rana Prime Minister of Nepal. Later, after the Rana regime went strong, several of the freedom fighters made an alliance (known as Nepal Praja Parishad then) to revolt jointly against the Ranas. As their alliance grew stronger, the Rana rulers were threatened by their activities, and decided to execute the revolting leaders, before they could grow any stronger. The result came out as the death penalty of four mentioned above, and life imprisonment for many others (Ramhari Sharma is an example).
The Shahid Diwas is given a nation-wise public holiday by the Government of Nepal. Shahid Gate is a monument in Kathmandu, located near Sundhara, which was built in the memory of the martyrs. In this day, several events such as prize distribution, sports and cultural programs are held all over the country. The period of seven days (from Math 10 to Magh 16), is the Martyr’s week, during which Shahid Memorial A-division football league is held by the Nepal Football Association.
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