Abdul Hamid – Muslim Warrior


Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid, PVC (1 July 1933 – 10 September 1965) was a soldier in the 4th Battalion, The Grenadiers of the Indian Army, who died in the Khem Karan sector during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 in the Battle of Asal Uttar, and was the posthumous recipient of the Republic of India’s highest military decoration, the Param Vir Chakra.

1.Early life
Veer Shahid Abdul Hamid was born in a Muslim family at Dhamupur village of Ghazipur District of Uttar Pradesh on 1 July 1933, the son of Mohammad Usman.

Abdul Hamid was enrolled into The Grenadiers infantry regiment as army number 239885 on 27 December 1954.He was later posted in the 4th Battalion of the regiment where he served all his service life. During his service, Abdul Hamid served with his battalion in Agra, Amritsar, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi, NEFA and Ramgarh. During the Sino-Indian War of 1962, amid’s battalion was part of 7th Infantry Brigade commanded by Brigadier John Dalvi, and participated in the battle of Namka Chu against the Chinese. Surrounded and cut off, the battalion had made a fighting breakaway into Bhutan by foot and then to Misamari. A young officer, 2 Lt GVP Rao had been awarded a posthumous Maha Vir Chakra, the highest gallantry medal received by the battalion since Independence till Hamid’s own award eclipsed it.

3.Indo-Pak War
After five years of service in the anti-tank section Abdul Hamid had recently been promoted and given charge of quartermaster stores of his company. As he was the best 106mm recoilless rifle shot in the battalion, he was reverted to his former charge as NCO commanding the battalion’s recoilless rifle platoon.

In the Lahore sector of operations, 4 Mountain Division of India, having been rebuffed in its advance to the Ichhogil by the Pakistani counter-offensive, fell back to the Khem Kharan area. In the new defence plan of the Division, 4 Grenadiers, along with three other battalions of the division formed a defence line between Assal Uttar and Chima villages on the Khem Karan-Bhikhiwind-Amritsar road and the Patti axis. 4 Grenadiers was on the northern flank in general area of Chima village while other battalions were to the south ending with its sister battalion, 7 Grenadiers, in Asal Uttar village itself.

Earlier the battalion had captured its objective on the Ichhogil canal but being outflanked by the Pakistani counter- offensive was ordered back to new positions. It had already been in combat for more than 24 hours when it began digging trenches and weapon pits in its defensive positions. The battalion defended area was covered with cotton and sugarcane fields and the battalion was able to camouflage its location, using ploughed fields for field of fire. The 106mm ecoilless guns were deployed along the Khem Karan-Amritsar road. On 8 September, the enemy made repeated probing attacks on the 4th Grenadiers position. The battalions recoilless weapons and automatics were effectively sited by Hamid’s company officers, Lt H. R. Jahnu and 2Lt V. K. Vaid. That afternoon Abdul Hamid destroyed two Patton tanks, the commander of one of which asked Hamid for directions just before Hamid destroyed the tank.

On 10 September 1965 at 0800 hours, a battalion of Pakistani armour supported by Patton tanks attacked the 4th Grenadier positions but was unable to locate the battalion’s defences. The attack preceded by intense artillery bombardment to soften the target and to garner a heavy fire in an attempt to draw Indian response. By 0900 hours, the enemy tanks had penetrated the forward company positions. In the melee, Hamid saw a group of Pattons heading towards his battalion defences. Seeing the gravity of the situation, he moved out to a flank with his gun mounted on a jeep. Intense enemy shelling and tank fire did not deter him. He fired continuously knocking out three Pattons one after another but was killed by tank fire from the fourth before he could engage it.

Successful actions by Indian armour, artillery and infantry anti-tank actions, such as those of Abdul Hamid, tarnished the reputation of the M48 Patton and after the 1965 war, the M48 was largely replaced by the M60. India set up a war emorial named “Patton Nagar” (“Patton Town”) in Khemkaran District, where the captured Pakistani Patton tanks are displayed.

4.Military awards
Param Vir Chakra
Samar Seva Star
Raksha Medal
Sainya Seva Medal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying tribute to Abdul Hamid at Asal Uttar; 11 November 2015.In his memory, a mausoleum was constructed on his grave by the 4th Grenadiers at Asal Uttar and each year a “mela” is organised on the date of his martyrdom. The residents of Asal Uttar have named and operate a dispensary, library and school in the village. In his honour, the Army Postal Service issued a special cover on 10 September 1979.

In the 1988 Television serial Param Vir Chakra by Chetan Anand, Abdul Hamid is played by actor Naseeruddin Shah.

A pictorial postage stamp of value Rs 3 was issued by India Post on 28 January 2000 as part of a set of five postage stamps on gallantry award winners. The stamp had Abdul Hamid’s bust on it along with an illustration of a jeep with
recoilless rifle.

Hamid’s widow, Rasoolan Bibi had met President of India Pratibha Patil in Lucknow in 2008 with a number of requests including creation of a military recruitment center in his village, converting Hamid’s home in Dullapur into a memorial, observing the day of his martyrdom as an occasion at the national level and help for her grandchildren to get government employment.

A memorial to Abdul Hamid was constructed in his home village of Dhamupur but later fell into neglect. The memorial was renovated in 2011 by the Flags of Honour Foundation on Hamid’s 46th death anniversary. The renovation included the istallation of a new statue of him, repair and painting of gates and boundary and improvement of the garden. Indian Member of Parliament Rajeev Chandrasekhar, founder of Flags of Honour, spoke on the occasion.

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