Army sources on Monday said to PTI that they are “deeply disturbed and anguished” on seeing the damaged condition of the grave and are "fully capable" of taking care of the war veteran’s final resting place.
Brig Usman’s grave in the ‘VIP section’ (Image Courtesy: IE)
Tucked far into the south of the national capital, the Jamia Millia Islamia metro station overlooks a sprawling graveyard that houses the gravestones of several prominent personalities and one among them with a white marble covering belonging to Brigadier Mohammad Usman has a significant portion of the front now damaged.
Brigadier Mohammad Usman was high-ranking Army personnel who attained martyrdom in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1947. His grave is at the ‘VIP section’ of the graveyard along with other luminaries like theatre personality Ebrahim Alkazi, writers Qurratulain Hyder and Sajjad Zaheer and scholars like Mujeeb Rizvi.
The epitaph of the grave details about his life, accomplishments and actions that lead him to be recognized as a national hero.
Popularly known as ‘Naushera ka Sher’ the epitaph read Brigadier Usman was commissioned into the 5/10 Baluch Regiment where he served the nation till Independence. It further said that he declined the offer of joining the Pakistan Army as its Army Chief to serve the nation of his birth, becoming an epitome of patriotism and secularism. The gravestone further reads that he took command of 50(I) Para Brigade during India-Pakistan War of 1947 in December at Jammu and Kashmir’s Naushera. The brigade successfully resisted the advance of Pakistani tribals at Naushera against all odds under his command and then led the brigade to recapture Jhangar.
Brigadier Usman laid his life in July 1943 when during the war, an artillery shell landed close to him. He was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra, the second-highest military award, posthumously.
Army sources on Monday said to PTI that they are “deeply disturbed and anguished” on seeing the damaged condition of the grave and are “fully capable” of taking care of the war veteran’s final resting place. The grave falls within the jurisdiction of Jamia Millia Islamia in south Delhi and it is the responsibility of administration to take care of the grave, the army source further said. It clarified that there is no plan to shift his remains to the Cantonment area.
The matter of the current condition of the graves came to light after a portal ”Heritage Times” shared photographs of same.
Haris-ul-Haq, Secretary, Jamia Millia School Teachers” Association, said that he will write to the university to take action on the condition of the graves there and the only family should be allowed inside the graveyard.
According to Dr Iqtedar Khan, the university’s in-charge for maintenance of graveyard said the graves of national heroes are usually taken care of by the Defence Ministry but got affected this year due to the Covid situation. If the Ministry gives the funds for repair to the University that can carry out the restoration process, he further said.