MARTYR THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD WORD
Shaheed or the martyr is the most misunderstood word today. Any body even a riff raff killed in ambush is termed as martyr by his party. This is a gross insult to the sacred ‘term’ which means ‘witness’. The first and foremost condition of martyrdom is that the person has option to live i.e to do this or be ready for death. If the person volunarily opts death he is martyr in the real sense of word. So when a person lays down his life to prove his conviction or witness his conviction he is called a martyr when no one else is there to support his idea.
Shahadat is a Persian word which means witness. This word is very much prevalent in Indian judicial parlance. If some one has to give his statement of witness in the court the advocate will advise the concerned, "well Mr. such and such tomarrow is your shahadat in the court, come prepared". So a real martyr has to give witness with reference to his conviction. When no other person is ready to stand witness to the legitimacy of somebody's stand the martyre himself appears as a witness. To prove seriousness of his conviction he prefers to lay down his life. So in case of martyrdom there should be a clear choice to live. In any case where there is no option to lay the death can't qualify as martyrdom
A soldier caught in ambush or cross fire, or killing of Indira Gandhi, Benazir Butto, Beant Singh etc. in ambushes can’t qualify to the term ‘martyr’ because in such cases the option to live is missing.
Incidentally Sikhism has produced many martyrs. Martyrdom of Banda Bahadur is exemplary while the youngest martyr of the world also happens to be from Sikhism: Sahibzada Fateh Singh the youngest son of Guru Gobind Singh who was bricked alive at the age of less than 7 years.