Let’s read about Brigadier Mohammad Usman
The independence from the British east India company came with a hefty price. The Indian Subcontinent was divided into two countries. Pakistan was separated from India on the basis of religion. So the war of 1947 was a confusing time for Muslims who had fought their entire life for India. They were now asked to fight for Pakistan, and more importantly, fight against India.
Mohammad Usman was born in 1912, in the present-day state of Uttar Pradesh. India was still under British rule and its army was called British Indian Army. During the childhood of Usman, men of his village were recruited into the army and sent to fight the First World War from the British Side. Usman grew up admiring the military and its way.
When Usman was 12 years old, one of his friends fell into well. Usman dived into the well knowing the fact that his friend didn’t know how to swim. When a world war veteran came to know about this courageous act of Usman, he started mentoring him.
Though Usman came from a poor class family, his mentoring from such a young age helped him get scholarships. He found a place in one of India’s prestigious army academies, the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
He joined the military in 1932 as a young twenty-year-old second lieutenant. In 1935, he was positioned in Baluch, present-day Pakistan. In 1936, he became Lieutenant. Being a Muslim officer in a Muslim-majority area helped him a lot. He was able to connect with people and became an emphatic leader. He was chosen as a captain to lead a battalion into Rangoon during the second world war.
At the time of division, he was back in Baluch but now served as a Major. After the division, Baluch came under Pakistan. Usman was a great military mind and foresaw the future of Pakistan and India. He knew he would be attacking same India that he had bled defending, the moment he wore the Pakistani uniform. Hence he chose India over Pakistan. Even though the Pakistani Army offered him an officer’s position and a safe passage for his family.
A year later his predictions came true. Pakistan had attacked and captured parts of Kashmir. Usman was promoted to Brigadier and was tasked with the liberation of a strategic town named Jhangar. Usman vowed to not sleep on a bed until he freed Jhangar. Inch by inch, he and his men reclaimed Jhangar.
In a final attempt, Pakistan sent its biggest battalion to Jhangar. In defence of Jhangar, Usman and his men did something truly remarkable. For a whopping 2000 Pakistani casualties, India had only 135. This event earned Brigadier Usman the nickname of “Naushera ka Shera”, the lion of Naushera.
A frustrated Pakistan realized that sending men to Jhangar would be a waste of resources. So instead they started shelling Jhangar. It was one of these shells that found its way to Brigadier Usman. His last words to his subordinates were that even if he died, not an inch of Jhangar should be given to the enemy.
In 2012, the Indian Army celebrated Usman’s 100th birth anniversary at Jhangar.
Brigadier Usman was the highest-ranked officer martyred in the war of 1947. He was awarded the second highest military honour ‘Mahavir Chakra’. His sacrifice was iconic and symbolic of what India stood for. In 1947, only Pakistan was formed, and India remained India. Certain people believed that the thousand years old secular culture of India would change. But fortunately, many more believed otherwise. Usman was a believer of old India, secular India, and he died protecting that India.