Back in Time – The Day Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev Were Hanged

Back in Time is ED’s newspaper type column that reports an incident from the past as though it has happened just yesterday. It allows the reader to re-live it several years later, on the date it had occurred.

For this incident, we go back in time to 1931 Lahore on 23rd of March.

Lahore, Monday, 23rd March- Shocking people all over the nation, the British government hanged Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Thakur, and Sukhdev Thapar 11 hours before the scheduled time at 7.30 in the evening of 23rd March in Lahore Jail.


The accused were convicted of the conspiracy that led to the death of Deputy Superintendent of Police, J.P Saunders in 1928, who they held responsible for the death of Lala Lajpat Rai. The trio were members of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.

Death Warrant

No magistrate was willing to supervise their hanging as required by the law, instead an honorary judge supervised the execution. After the hanging, their bodies, instead of being handed over to their families, were cremated outside Ganda Singhwala village. The ashes were then thrown into the Sutlej River.

Gallows Jail where Bhagat Singh was hanged. Photo F E Chowdhry. Courtesy: Amarjit Chandan

The jail authorities broke a hole in the jail’s rear wall to be able to take the bodies outside to cremate. Loud shouts of “Long Live Revolution” could be heard from inside the jail 15 minutes before and after the execution.

There is a loud uproar from all the factions of society. Lahore is observing a bandh in honour of the martyrs. The government is facing criticism for not giving the alleged murderers and conspirators to defend themselves.

M.K Gandhi is facing black flag demonstrations by angry youths who hold him responsible for the hangings. The youths believe that Gandhi had several occasions to save their lives and yet he refrained from it. Gandhi is still to comment on these accusations.

Death certificate

Bhagat Singh, born in 1907 in Banga in a family of political activists. When held in jail he launched a 116-day hunger strike, demanding equal rights for European and Indian prisoners and be treated as political prisoners.

bhagat singh

Shivaraj Hari Rajguru was born in 1908 in a small village in Pune. He was also a member of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.


Sukhdev Thapar was born in 1907 in Ludhiana. He was also involved in Central Assembly Hall bombings in New Delhi on 8 April 1929 along with Bhagat Singh.


The government is afraid of backlash and all public meetings and gatherings have been prohibited until further notice.


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