Indian government is planning to observe the 100th birthday of Brigadier Mohammad Usman on July 15, 2012. Known a ‘Lion of Naushera’, Brigadier Usman was born at Bibipur (UP, India) on July 15, 1912. Usman was killed by Pakistan Mujahideen fighting Indian occupation army in occupied Jammu & Kashmir valley on July 3, 1948. A wreath-laying function will be held at his grave at Jamia Milia Islamia University in New Delhi. And it will be followed by a commemorative function at Manekshaw Centre (named after Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw who commaded India’s invasion of East Pakistan), in Delhi Cantonment which will be addressed by India’s vice-President Hamid Ansari and India’s Chief Of Army Staff Gen. Bikram Singh.
Brigadier Usman is the only senior Indian military officer, so far, who was given a state funeral. The funeral was attended by Lord Mountbaten, Governor-General of India, Indian prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Army Chief Lt. Gen. KM Cariappa and other high-ranking military and government officials. Usman was also awarded India’s highest medal of courage, ‘Maha Vir Chakra (MVC)’.
A graduate of British Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, Usman served in the ‘Baluch Regiment’ till British India’s partition into India and Pakistan. Like several nationalist Muslims, Usman opted to serve in the Hindu army rather than remain in the ‘Baluch Regiment’, which was allocated to the newly created Muslim nation-state of Pakistan by the India-British military command. Brigadier Usman was thus transferred to Hindu ‘Dogra Regiment’ - which he commanded when Nehru ordered the occupation of Muslim-majority former British state of Jammu & Kashmir on the request of its Hindu ruler.
Brigadier Usman’s 77 Para Brigade was defeated by the Kashmiri resistance militia at Jhangar on December 25, 1947 while the Pakistanis were celebrating the last birthday of the ‘Father of Pakistan’, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, affectionately called ‘Quad-e-Azam (the Great Leader)’. Jinnah, a Shia Muslim, died next year on September 11. After cleaning Jhangar of Indian army, the Mujahideen attacked Indian army occupying city of Naushera but were pushed back. This emboldened Usman’s regiment and it attacked Jhangar in which Usman lost his life.
More than 700,000 Indian soldiers and security forces personnel are fighting the local people for the last five decades. More than 80,000 Kashmiri Muslim men, women and children have been killed by the Indian occupation forces.
Famous Indian author and human rights activist, Arundhati Roy has blasted Nehru for going back on his promise to allow the people of Jammu & Kashmir valley to decide whether they want to join Muslim Pakistan or a Hindu India.
In his award-winning book, ‘Kashmir: A Disputed Legacy (1846-1990)‘, British historian Alastair Lamb, claim that India has no legal right to force Jammu & Kasmir to join India. His views can be read here. Akhila Raman’s article ‘Kashmir in Turmoil’ can be read here.
The photo of Brigadier Usman’s grave with Indian soldiers giving guard of honor, can be seen here.