Mahadeep Singh JamwalAs a curious follower of facebook postings by in-service police officials with the intentions of looking into their mind built up in police service as how they feel satisfied about the experience of serving in such a department, where prime duty is to protect the life and property of the public, I encountered with a posting by one lady police officer Sanjeewan Jyoti, I feel posted in Kathua, that encouraged me for the write up as a valid query was raised. The posting goes as: It is noticed many times, stuck in mind, it really hurts to read ‘Killed’ instead of ‘Martyred’. Our Jawans give their sacrifice for the security and integrity of our country so always respect them which they deserve most. Jai Hind”. The feelings impressed in the posting take us to an expectation that policewalla loosing his life too for the security and integrity of our country should be christened as ‘Martyred’ than using the word ‘Killed’. At the outset of the write up on the subject, for the knowledge of the readers, in its original meaning, the word martyr, meaning witness, was used in the secular sphere as well as in the New Testament of the Bible. The Government on the word ‘martyr’ says “No ‘Shaheed’ or ‘Martyr’ in our terminology”. The Army or the police have denied that there is any term as “Martyr” or “Shaheed” in the Army or the police and instead a soldier or a policeman killed in action is called a “battle casualty” or “operations casualty” respectively. The ministries of defence and home have submitted this information before the Central Information Commission. In an RTI application, the respondent from the Ministry of Defence stated that word ‘shaheed’ or ‘martyr’ is not used by the MoD. Instead the one used is ‘Battle Casualty’. The respondent from the Ministry of Home Affairs stated that in the MHA the word used is ‘Operations Casualty’. Quoting the submissions, the CIC, noted that the decision to declare cases of ‘Battle Casualty’ and ‘Operations Casualty’ were taken after a report of a court of inquiry in both the matters and the averments made by both the respondents have duly explained the correct usage of the terms. Technically the Indian Army does not use either ‘Shaheed’ or ‘Martyr’ going for the more prosaic ‘Battle Casualty’ or ‘Operations Casuality’ of course given that language in India is already saturated with the use of ‘Martyr’ and ‘Shaheed’ its technical use or lack thereof by the Army arguably makes little difference for the people of India. People often associate the term ‘Martyr’ or ‘Shaheed’ with respect for those who sacrifice their lives for the nation. However, the term “martyr” has a religious connotation; it is used to refer to someone killed for their religious beliefs. On political platform too, the BJP deny of any term like ‘Martyr’ or ‘Shaheed’, when BJP’s head of social media tweeted “There is no term as ‘martyr’ or ‘shaheed’ in the Army or the police. Instead a soldier or a policeman killed in action is called a ‘battle casualty’ or ‘operations casualty’ respectively” (Source: scroll.in), in response to frequent demand of declaring those losing their life in Pulwama attack as ‘Martyr’. To die on the battlefield, leading the army and never showing one’s back is recommended in the ??stra as glorious. To fix up the meaning of martyr, the traverse on pages of various dictionaries such as: Merriam-Webster, Dictionary.com, Vocabulary. com Dictionary, etc. depicts the meaning of martyr as: ‘a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion, a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle, martyr to the cause of freedom, a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause: a martyr to the cause of social justice or a person who seeks sympathy or attention by feigning or exaggerating pain, deprivation, etc’. From the larger scope of defining someone as ‘Martyr’ for different cause, the army jawans, police wallas as well as from para-military forces falls well within the domain of the title of ‘Martyr’. There are daily martyrdoms occurring of more or less self-abnegation, and of which the world knows nothing – Edwin Hubbel Chapin. We find that the word martyr itself derives from the Greek for “witness”, originally applied to the apostles who had witnessed Christ’s life and resurrection. In Islam the jih?d is a religious obligation and the martyr, the shah?d, one who dies in this sacred battle. Shahid originates from the Quranic Arabic word meaning “witness” and is also used to denote a martyr. Martyrdom (called shahadat in Punjabi) is a fundamental concept in Sikhism and represents an important institution of the faith. People often associate the term ‘martyr’ or ‘shaheed’ with respect for those who sacrifice their lives for the nation. However, the term “martyr” has a religious connotation; it is used to refer to someone killed for their religious beliefs. The Ministry of Home Affairs in December 2016 had informed the Lok Sabha that the word ‘martyr’ should not be used in connection to any casualties during a battle in the Indian Armed Forces. Prime Minister himself too has often used the term ‘shaheed’ to pay his respects to those who laid their lives during a battle. However, the Indian Armed Forces have often resorted to using the terms “battle casualty” or “operations casualty” for anyone who loses their life in the line of duty (https://thelogicalindian.com/news/martyr-killed-in-action-armed-forces-personnel). Today the words ‘martyr’ and ‘martyrdom’ are misunderstood; we’ve trivialized their true import. Martyrdom is not limited to the ambit of a country or the limits of a local ideology. It’s commitment to a very big cause. In my opinion the status of the ‘martyr’ can be considered a posthumous title as a reward for those who are considered worthy of the concept of martyrdom by the living. From the foregoing discussion, it is concluded that word ‘Martyr’ or ‘Shaheed’ carry no official recognition for those laying their life in their respective fields of operation in defending our mother land or falling victims to the bullets of enemies and Anti-national element. Yet is widely accepted terminology by patriots who meet such glorious death. The word ‘Martyr’ or ‘Shaheed’ infuses a sense of responsibility and love for our country.
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