A martyr of fact
Feb 2, 2017-
Every year, while celebrating Martyrs’ Week which occurs at the end of January, we encounter questions about how the word ‘martyr’ should be defined. We have a long history of honouring martyrs as true sons and daughters of Nepal whose self-sacrifice has brought glory to the country and people. In particular, those fearless heroes who saved us from the bloody claws of the Rana autocracy are named as martyrs in school textbooks. And this has been taught to us ever since the 1951 revolution took place in Nepal. Despite our frequently changing political systems and governments, at least all agree on paying reverence to these four people: Dashrath Chand, Dharma Bhakta Mathema, Ganga Lal Shrestha and Shukra Raj Shastri.
But the petty interest of political parties and the practice of defining the term ‘martyr’ in their own ways has minimised the real value of martyrs. Political parties rush to declare their cadres as martyrs when they are in power. In order to obtain the compensation of Rs1 million provided by the state, many engage in protests and mobocracy. Agitators also have no other interest in participating in demonstrations than to establish their agenda. It was reported that during the last Madhes movement, some veteran leaders proposed a compensation amount of Rs5 million to the families of protestors killed in the movement. Our politicians often make such wild proclamations by forgetting their responsibility to the country and citizens. Other leaders behave in the same way too.
The word ‘martyr’, which refers to a person who has suffered or died for political or religious beliefs, is translated as ‘shahid’ which is an Arabic word. It has different meanings in various countries. In some countries, people revere freedom fighters as martyrs, and our practice is to honour those who have died for people’s rights and democracy as martyrs. Nepal’s history is replete with instances of self-sacrifice made by hundreds of our ancestors. We are ever inspired by the glorious deeds of martyr Lakhan Thapa Magar and the four martyrs who were killed during the rule of Juddha Shamsher. The people have waged a series of struggles during various points in the country’s history for the sake of democracy.
The current political instability has spread confusion in defining who is a martyr, and different groups have been making their own demands as per their interest. We should not misinterpret the real value of these brave people. Those who sacrificed themselves for the sake of the community, class and country are martyrs. Martyrs are honourable and respectable sons and daughters, irrespective of their caste, creed or political ideology, and we should pay tribute to them. The trend of declaring someone a martyr on the basis of favouritism and flimsy reasons devalues their sacrifice. It is the government’s duty to establish the criteria for naming martyrs and create an environment to pay them true respect.
- STRUGGLE RANA
Published: 02-02-2017 08:49