Brigadier Mohammad Usman was the highest rank officer of Indian Army killed in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, who as a Muslim became a "symbol of" India's "inclusive secularism". At the time of partition of India he with many other officers declined to move to the Pakistan Army and continued to serve the Indian Army. He died in July 1948 while fighting the raiders in Jammu and Kashmir.
At the time of Indo-Pakistani War of 1947-48 Brigadier Usman was posted at the Jammu and Kashmir front as the brigade commander of the 50 Para Brigade. He led his soldiers from front and in January–February 1948 repulsed a fierce attack on Nowshera and Jhangar, two highly strategic locations in Jammu and Kashmir. He was thence known as the Lion of Naoshera. However, he was killed in action while fighting the Pakistan Army and the tribal raiders on July 3 of that year.
An Indian journalist, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, wrote about his death, "a precious life, of imagination and unswerving patriotism, has fallen a victim to communal fanaticism. Brigadier Usman's brave example will be an abiding source of inspiration for Free India".