Why does’t the Indian Army use the word martyr for its fallen braves
New Delhi, Mar 30: The Defence Ministry clarified in Parliament that the Indian Armed Forces do not use the word martyr for personnel who sacrifice their lines in the line of duty.
The government was replying to a question b Dr Santanu Sen of the TMC in the Rajya Sabha on the term martyr. He asked if the government had stopped using the term for those who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty.
In 2013 and 2014, the Ministry of Home Affairs had said in RTI replies that words martyr and shaheed are not used by the government.
The reason why the term martyr is not used is because it has religious connotations. It has been used in history to refer to the sacrifice made by people for their religious belief particularly Christianity. The word shaheed also has religious connotations and is liked to the concept of Shahdat in Islam.
The word martyr has its roots in the Greek word martur. Martyrs refers to a person who voluntarily suffers death as penalty for refusing to renounce a religion. Since the armed forces are not associated with any one religion the use of such words for their sacrifice has been found wrong in many quarters.
In February 2022 the Indian Army issued a letter to all its commands asking them to desist from using the word martyr. They have been instead asked to use phrases such as 'killed in action,' supreme sacrifice for the nation, fallen heroes, Indian Army braves and fallen soldiers, battle casualty, bravehearts, braves who we lost and veegati/veergati prapt/veer.