From Socrates and Jesus to Lincoln and Gandhi, there is an unbroken tradition of martyrs whose life and actions brought glory to mankind but who had to sacra face their lives at the altar of their principles.
These great souls were much ahead of their times in their ideas and ways of thinking. Moreover, they had great courage of conviction which made them bold in the face of their opponents who were making desperate efforts to preserve their outworn ideas with the help of brutal power. The day belonged to the tyrants but the future did reverence to the martyrs. One wonders what would have happened to the spirit of enquiry if Socrates had recanted before the rulers of the day and saved his life. If truth does not give strength enough to the seeker of truth, it is a weak truth not worth fighting for or dying for. Socrates drank the cup of poison given to him by his prosecutors and his death kept the spirit of intellectual freedom alive. His disciple Plato, arguably the greatest Phi¬losopher ever born, grounded his Philosophy in the life and ideas of Socrates. Plato has been a source of inspiration to thinkers down to our times. Jesus countered the principle of 'tooth for a tooth' and 'eye for an eye' with the principles of 'turn the other cheek' and return love for hatred. He was crucified by the Pharisees. His death heralded a new era and the progeny of his torturers became dedicated disciples of Christianity to spread the message of love and brotherhood to the remotest corners of the globe. It is for glory of their country that soldiers lay down their lives. They forget the strong love and attachment of their wives and children and engage in deathly com¬bats with their enemies. They are inspired by time-honoured ideals of patriotism and duty which impel and sustain them in their fight even in the most adverse circum-stances. Russia lost nearly two million people in Second World War who become martyrs in the cause of national freedom.
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