Date of Death: 10/09/1965
Age: 32 Years
Wife: Rasoolan Bibi
Some lesser known facts about Abdul Hameed
- Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hameed was a non-commissioned officer in the Indian Army. He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the country’s most prestigious gallantry award. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Abdul Hameed was posted on the Western Front, on the Punjab border, and participated in the Battle of Asal Uttar. Abdul Hameed died on 10 September 1965 while defending his position from a Pakistani armored attack.
- Abdul dreamed of joining the Indian Army since childhood. However, his family did not support his decision to join the Indian Army. Abdul Hameed participated in an army recruitment rally in Varanasi at the age of 20; From where he was selected for training at the Grenadier Regimental Centre.
- In 1955, Abdul Hameed completed his military training and joined the 4th Battalion of the Grenadier Regiment.
- Abdul also fought in the Indo-China war in 1962. During the war his unit was part of India’s 7th Mountain Division. The division was tasked with defending the Namka Chu area in Arunachal Pradesh from Chinese raiders.
- Abdul and his unit, the 4 Grenadiers, fought valiantly against the Chinese army, but soon the unit exhausted its ammunition and other resources as well. The unit was ordered to withdraw to the safe lines. The task was easier said than done as Chinese soldiers had cut off the entire unit’s escape route.
- The only way for the battalion to return to safe places was to sneak into Bhutanese territory and bypass the Chinese forces.
- Abdul Hamid was deeply disappointed by the events that took place during the war with China. Rachna Bisht Rawat writes in his book The Brave: Param Vir Chakra Stories,
He fought in the ’62 War at Thug La, then in the North-Eastern Frontier Province, as part of the 7th Mountain Brigade, 4th Mountain Division, and returned disappointed with the battle.
- After the end of the 1962 Sino-Indian War, Abdul’s unit was transferred to Ambala in Punjab. There, he was promoted to the rank of Havildar and given the charge of an administrative company.
- After the 1962 war, India acquired 106 mm recoilless (RCL) guns from Russia as part of its re-arms programme. Abdul Hameed was one of the few soldiers of the Indian Army who were sent for training on new guns.
- After returning from his training, Abdul was transferred from the rifle company to the anti-tank detachment of 4 Grenadiers.
- In September 1965, the Pakistani Army launched Operation Gibraltar in an attempt to wrest Kashmir from Indian hands. India responded to Pakistan’s aggression by invading Pakistan’s Punjab province.
- Abdul was tasked with his Unit 4 Grenadiers to move to the Khem Karan sector of Punjab and set up security around Cheema village.
- There was a shortage of trained anti-tank detachment commanders in the 4 Grenadiers, so Abdul was made the commander of a squadron of RCL jeeps.
- Cheema village was strategically important for India; Had India lost its control over it, Pakistan would have occupied a large part of Indian land in Punjab.
- Abdul reached Cheema village on 8 September 1965. His unit brought with it the newly inducted RCL guns. The area was surrounded by lush crops of sugarcane, which provided a good cover to the defenders against the Pakistanis.
- On 8 September 1965, at around 9 am, Abdul noticed the movement of Pakistani armored units. They saw 3 tanks with infantry, which were moving towards the forward positions of the 4 Grenadiers.
- Abdul remained calm and waited for the Pakistani tanks to enter the effective firing range of his RCL jeep. Writer Rachna Bisht Rawat has written in her book,
With sugarcane rustling in the fields and Hamid sits in the passenger seat of his jeep, fitted with a recoilless (RCL) gun, he can hear the wind. The jeep fell on a narrow mud track in front of Cheema village. Hamid knows that Pakistan has attacked with a regiment of Patton tanks that have moved into a straight forward position. He first hears the rumble of armor and then sees some tanks moving towards his battalion. ,
- Coming below the firing range of the RCL guns, the unsuspecting enemy tanks broke into pieces. This caused fear and panic among the remaining contingent of the other 2 Pakistani tanks; They left their tanks and fled. Writer Rachna Bisht Rawat has written in her book,
The tank is burning before his eyes. Hamid and his men rejoiced. ‘Well done!’, Bravo, he mouths and they exchange wide smiles. They see the crew of the two following tanks disembark and run away. Hamid orders the driver to reverse and proceed.
- The same day, at 11 a.m., the Pakistani forces regrouped and re-attacked the advance of the 4th Grenadier. This time Pakistanis had brought 3 new tanks. Abdul and his anti-tank detachment were aware of the Pakistani movement and were silently waiting for the tanks to enter their firing range.
- As the tanks came within effective firing range, Abdul opened fire on the lead tank, destroying it completely. The remaining crew members of the other 2 tanks also abandoned their tanks and fled.
- On 9 September 1965, Abdul destroyed 2 more enemy tanks. By the end of the day, Abdul had destroyed 4 enemy tanks and captured 4. For this, he was recommended for the Param Vir Chakra. Rachna Bisht Rawat has said in his book,
Abdul Hameed used to sleep well that night. He is happy with his achievement. His citation has been sent for the Param Vir Chakra (PVC). This credits him with the destruction of four tanks. ,
- On 10 September 1965, Abdul saw a large number of Pakistani tanks, following which the infantry was moving towards its position. Abdul and his men were waiting for the tanks to arrive inside the RCL gun firing range. They waited under the exquisite camouflage provided by the thick leaves of the sugarcane field.
- As the tanks came to the firing range of the RCL guns, Abdul ordered his men to open fire on the tanks. But this time, the tanks were outnumbered, and they traced the exact location from where the Indian soldiers were firing.
- Pakistani tanks started setting fire to the sugarcane field in large quantities. Aiming and firing at enemy tanks, Abdul moved his jeep from place to place.
- While walking, Abdul targeted a tank; Which was also targeting Abdul’s RCL jeep. Even though Abdul managed to hit the tank with his RCL gun, the tank also managed to hit Abdul’s RCL jeep, which ultimately led to his martyrdom on the battlefield. Rachna Bisht Rawat in his book The Brave: Param Vir Chakra Stories explains the situation as follows,
Another tank slowly rushed towards him, but he did not have time to move as they both looked at each other. The two keep each other in their eyes and shoot. Both the bullets hit his target. There is loud bang, fire and smoke. As the tank is detonated, its shell hits the RCL jeep. The impact blows it up in the air. There are screams of pain, there is a loud bang and then there is complete silence which is interrupted only by the flames. Abdul Hameed is dead. He has shot down a total of seven enemy tanks, nothing more can be expected from an armored formation.”
- A plaque erected by the 4 Grenadiers in honor of CQMH Abdul Hameed states,
Never in the history of war have so many tanks been destroyed by an infantry man – a feat achieved by CQMH Abdul Hameed of 4 Grenadiers, who fought 8 with this 106 Recoilless Gun before laying down his life for the nation. Destroyed Pakistani Patton tanks.
- The Pakistani Army had fielded its newly inducted, state-of-the-art Patton tanks against India. These tanks were American-made tanks and were considered indestructible.
- On 10 September 1965, the Pakistani army sent 14 Patton tanks to capture Cheema village.
- The gallant actions of Abdul Hameed won 4 Grenadiers, Battle Honor of Asal Uttar and Theater Honor (Punjab).
- There is an entire chapter in the NCERT book named Veer Abdul Hameed dedicated to him.
- Abdul always prioritized his duty over anything. When his wife asked him to delay his departure for a day, he refused to do so with a smile.
- On the day Abdul had to get off the train, rejoin his unit in the front row, his bed rope broke and his cycle broke. This was seen by his wife as a sign of bad luck. Author Rachna Bisht Rawat has written in the book,
Hamid presses his rolled-up bed with his knee and ties the thick rope together. When the rope suddenly breaks, half is left in his hand while he is giving it another tug to make the bed roll harder. The bed unfolds, scattering the contents. One of these is a muffler that Rasoolan Bibi has bought for her husband from a fair in the nearby village. She is in tears. That’s a bad omen, she says, please don’t go today.
- Abdul Hameed’s citation was written on 9 September 1965, as a result of which, he is credited with destroying 4 Pakistani Patton tanks, whereas, in fact, he destroyed a total of 8 tanks; On 10 September 1965, 4 more enemy tanks were destroyed by him before being martyred.
- Once, a wealthy landowner from a neighboring village openly challenged him to shoot a particular kind of bird. Anyone who could complete the challenge was eligible for a reward. However the challenge was accepted and Abdul Hameed completed it; He did not go to the landlord’s house to collect the prize money. His grandson Jameel said,
Haseen Ahmed, a zamindar of a nearby village who was a very good marksman, offered him a huge prize money for killing a particular bird, which Ahmed himself could not do. My grandfather borrowed his friend Bachu’s gun and shot the bird, but refused to go to the landlord for the prize money. Instead Bachu went there and when the zamindar asked my grandfather to come to collect the prize, he refused, saying, ‘I may be poor, but I don’t beg in people’s houses.’ The landlord later sent the prize money to his house.
- In 1988, the role of CQMH Abdul Hameed was portrayed by the renowned veteran actor, Naseeruddin Shah, The show, Param Vir Chakra, was directed by Chetan Anand, and aired on DD National.
- Abdul Hameed was also interested in sports. He liked to participate in sports such as hunting, swimming, wrestling and gatka; Which is a game in which swords are used.