Everyone of us have heard of Havildar Abdul Hamid and his exemplary courage during the 1965 Indo-Pak war. His actions were legendary and he is awarded with Param Veer Chakra, the highest military award for bravery during the war. Let us recall the valour and sacrifice of the bravest of the brave.
Abdul Hamid was inducted in The Grenadiers infantry regiment in 1954. He was just 21 at that time. He was born at Dhamipur of village Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh. The Indo-Pak war of 1965 wasn’t the first war of Abdul Hamid. He also saw action in the 1962 Indo-Sino war at Thang La. He was posted to a recoilless platoon.
On 8th September 1965, Pakistan sent their platoon tanks at Khem Karan. Abdul Hamid was in charge of all operations. The 4th battalion of his regiment just had recoilless riles to go against the tanks. The odds were heavily against Abdul Hamid and his men. As soon as Hamid stopped the first tank, he ordered his men to aim and fire. The two tanks went in flames and two tanks were abandoned by the forces.
Just after two hours or so, there was another armoured battalion approaching Hamid and his men. They ended up shooting two tanks more at the end of the day.
Havildar Abdul Hamid was very strategic. They kept on re-positioning to avoid any attacks by Pakistani air support and the tanks. It was brilliant in a manner that they kept dodging round and round while shooting with their rifles. For saving the day and destroying four tanks in a very strategic manner, citation was sent to award him with Param Veer Chakra.
Two days later, on September 10, 1965, the Pakistani armoured division started attacking again. Havildar Abdul Hamid was using sugarcane fields to camouflage his jeep, and he was shooting the Pakistani tanks one after another all the while when he dodged the enemy fire.
When he was continuing shooting the Pakistani tanks, one Pakistani tank caught sight of Hamid’s jeep. Both Hamid and Pakistani tank aimed at each other and fired. Both of them were critically hit and lost their lives.
Havildar Abdul Hamid laid down his life so that we all Indians can live peacefully at our home.
For his extraordinary bravery, Havildar Abdul Hamid was given Param Veer Chakra posthumously. He is remembered as one of the bravest souls ever. It was a jeep against the army of tanks. He killed seven tanks on his own. His bravery inspired his comrades to put up a fight and beat the enemy. The Pakistani tanks were captured and India won the war.
At Jodhpur, Abdul Hamid’s memorial was made. Also, only this year, the parental home of Abdul Hamid is turned into a memorial.
Param Veer Chakra citation-
COMPANY QUARTERMASTER HAVILDAR ABDUL HAMID 4 GRENADIERS (NO 2639985)
At 0800 hours on 10 September 1965 Pakistan forces launched an attack with a regiment of Patton tanks on a vital area ahead of village Cheema on the Bhikkiwind road in the Khem Karan Sector. Intense artillery shelling preceded the attack. The enemy tanks penetrated the forward position by 0900 hours. Realising the grave situation, Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid who was commander of a RCL gun detachment moved out to a flanking position with his gun mounted on a jeep, under intense enemy shelling and tank fire. Taking an advantageous position, he knocked out the leading enemy tank and then swiftly changing his position, he sent another tank up in flames. By this time the enemy tanks in the area spotted him and brought his jeep under concentrated machine-gun and high explosive fire. Undeterred, Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid kept on firing on yet another enemy tank with his recoilless gun. While doing so, he was mortally wounded by an enemy high explosive shell.
Havildar Abdul Hamid’s brave action inspired his comrades to put up a gallant fight and to beat back the heavy tank assault by the enemy. His complete disregard for his personal safety during the operation and his sustained acts of bravery in the face of constant enemy fire were a shining example not only to his unit but also to the whole division and were in the highest traditions of the Indian Army.