Army restores India-Pakistan war hero Brigadier Usman’s grave in Batla House

Army restores India-Pakistan war hero Brigadier Usman’s grave in Batla House, reports Abu Bakar.

India Army representatives restored the grave of Brigadier Mohammad Usman on Thursday, the highest ranking officer to die in action during the first India-Pakistan war in 1947-48.

Brigadier Mohammad Usman was laid to rest in Batla House graveyard after he died on July 3, 1948, when an artillery shell landed close to him and reports had surfaced in the media about his grave in bad condition.

Mahmood Ahmed told the OT that it was on Wednesday when officers from the Army had come to the Batla House graveyard to get the tombstone repaired.

On Thursday some jawans also arrived and laid a wreath on the graveyard, said Mahmood.

Brigadier Mohammad Usman was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra, the second-highest military decoration, and became known by the epithet “Naushera ka Sher”.

The white marble covering the graveyard was restored.

The graveyard near Jamia Millia Islamia houses the graves of other eminent figures such as writer Qurratulain Hyder and scholar Mujeeb Rizvi.

Earlier, according to ThePrint , the Army wrote to Jamia Millia Islamia on Tuesday seeking permission to carry out repairs on the grave. “The university wanted a letter from the Army for the record and it has been sent. We will carry out the repairs,” a senior officer told ThePrint.

“This year the wreath laying did not happen due to the coronavirus pandemic. Otherwise, it is done every year and the troops also clean up the area around the grave.”

The life story of the war hero, who died on 3 July 1948, is set to be adapted into a biopic by director Sanjay Khan, starring his son Zayed Khan in the titular role.

The epitaph on the grave of Brigadier Mohammad Usman reads: “He was commissioned into the 5/10 Baluch Regiment, where he served till Independence. During Partition, he was given the option to join the Pakistan Army as Army chief. A true patriot that he was, he declined and chose to serve the country of his birth, an epitome of secularism and patriotism. Brigadier Usman took over command of 50 (I) Para Brigade in December 1947 at Naushera, J&K. Under his command, the brigade halted the advance of Pakistani tribals at Naushera against all odds. He then led the brigade to recapture Jhangar, thereby turning the tide on the raiders.”

Earlier, Dr Iqtedar Khan, who is Jamia University’s in-charge of the graveyard, said that the maintenance of the grave is usually done by the Defence Ministry.

“The graveyard is a common place and as far as the VIP section is concerned, the family of the deceased or the institution they were associated with approaches us for permission to use the grounds for burial. The work of making and maintaining the grave is done by them. In this case, it is the defence. They used to come every year and do maintenance work, perhaps this was affected by the Covid situation this year. If they give us the funds for repair, we can do it,” he said.