Brigadier Mohammed Usman was the Commander of the 50 Independent Para Brigade, which was raised in 1945. During the 1947-48 Jammu & Kashmir invasion by Pakistani-backed terrorists, the enemy's build up in the southern sector was heavy and fast. This area is such that the enemy could easily ingress more troops/raiders at will, while it was comparatively more difficult for India. The heaviest battles took place in and around Naushera, Poonch and Rajouri. Brigadier Usman was given a difficult task of keeping the Line of Control, Akhnur-Beripattan-Jhangar-Naushera, secure. A battle-duty totally defensive in nature on a long axis like this is a nightmare for any commander. Worse, this border was open, porous and full of an extremely aggressive & cruel enemy, which consisted of a deadly combination of the regular Pakistan Army units and the raiders in civilian clothing. Brigadier Usman, thus, was fighting against great odds. He was, however, a fighter to the core and considered every action a matter of personal honour and took every difficult task as a personal challenge. An inspiring leader and a tremendous motivator of men, he always achieved success beyond the call of duty from his troops. He was also innovative and benevolent. He supported 158 orphan children found abandoned and famished in Naushera from his meager rations.
Later he formed these children into the famous 'Balak Sena' (Children’s Army) of his and deployed them to run errands as messenger boys or as carriers of food & supplies in the theatre of war, in the rear lines. The enemy was resolute on taking Naushera as vital for the defence of Mirpur, which the raiders had occupied. In this sector, which was outside the Kashmir Valley (Jhelum Valley), the enemy felt emboldened to use its regular formations the earliest, albeit not very openly. They also were determined to dominate this area because Palandari, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, was located within this area. The battles were, therefore, ferocious and the situation seesawed frequently. Brigadier Usman defended Naushera against all odds. His fiery leadership resulted in major defeat of the enemy at and around Naushera with 2000 casualties (about 1000 dead and 1000 wounded) while he suffered only 33 dead and 102 wounded. He continued ahead blazing a trail of glory. To our grave misfortune this brave and patriotic officer died by a direct hit during enemy shelling on his command post at Matlasi in Jhangar sector on 03 July 1948. Brigadier Mohammed Usman set an example of personal courage, exceptional qualities of leadership and devotion to duty in the highest traditions of the Indian Army and was thus rightfully honoured with the Maha Vir Chakra. Jai Hind!! Jai Jawan!!
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