Birth Place: Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh

Service: Army

Last Rank: Colonel

Unit: 42 RR

Arm/Regt: 9 Gorkha Rifles

Service Years: 1997 - 2015

Awards: YSM, SC

Date of Martyrdom: Jan 27, 2015


Colonel M N Rai hailed from Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh. Youngest of the three brothers Col M N Rai was commissioned into the 2/9 Gorkha Rifles in September 1997. His eldest brother Lt Col D N Rai like him also belongs to the Gorkha Regiment, while his second brother Y N Rai is serving with the CRPF. Later, Col M N Rai was deputed to serve with the Rashtriya Rifles and took over the command of the 42nd Battalion of Rashtriya Rifles in May 2013.


By 2013, Col M N Rai had put in over 15 years of service and evolved into a committed soldier and a very fine officer. His unit, 42 RR was engaged in counter-insurgency operations and had taken part in various operations to contain militancy in the J & K. Col Rai was decorated with the Yudh Seva medal on the eve of Republic Day in 2015 for outstanding contribution in planning and conduct of operations including a gun battle with militants in south Kashmir in 2014.


Tral Operation: 27 Jan 2015


By Jan 2015, Col Rai had completed nearly one and half years as commanding officer of 42 RR, which was responsible for counter-insurgency operations in Tral sector in Pulwama district of J & K. Tral had been a hotbed of militancy as it provided suitable terrain for militants to operate. On 27 Jan 2015, the unit had received credible information about the presence of terrorists in the village under its area of operational control. After analyzing the situation a decision was taken by the security forces to launch a joint operation by the Army, CRPF, and the police.


The suspected militants were hiding in a house which was soon surrounded by the security forces. On being challenged the militants started firing and a fierce gun battle ensued. At this point, reportedly, the father and brother of one of the terrorists informed the assault team that the ultras would surrender. Col Rai displaying good leadership and following the Army doctrine of WHAM(Winning Hearts and Minds), decided to give the militants an opportunity to surrender. The militants, however, took advantage of this act of compassion and started firing in order to escape. The forces soon cornered the militants after a while and gunned down the two militants. But during the heavy exchange of fire Col M N Rai got severely injured and later succumbed to his injuries. Col M N Rai was given the gallantry award, “Shaurya Chakra” for his cold courage, leadership and supreme sacrifice during this operation. 


Col M N Rai was martyred in the operation but the exemplary courage and leadership skills displayed by Col Rai would always be remembered. Col M N Rai is survived by his wife Priyanka, daughters Alka & Richa and son Aditya. At the funeral of Col M N Rai, his daughter Alka then 11 years old made his Regiment and the entire nation proud by bidding her father a farewell with the Gurkha Regiment’s war cry, “Ayo Gorkhali” meaning ” The Gorkhas are here”.

  • Col M N Rai was the youngest of 13 officers awarded the Yudh Seva Medal on Republic Day for killing a terrorist in a close battle in 2014. The Yudh Seva Medal is awarded for the distinguished service in a war or conflict.
  • Col M N Rai was also given the gallantry award, ‘Shaurya Chakra” for his courage, leadership and supreme sacrifice. 
  • Lt Gen Subrata Saha said, “He was always in the frontline, leading his men to deliver exceedingly well. If it were not for his quick response, quite clearly, there could have been causalities on the civilians who were there in the vicinity along with his brother and others.”
  • “Clearly because traditionally and as per our ethos, Indian Army officers always led from the front and it is a matter of pride for us that we have officers of such calibre and such commitment who, even at the rank of the commanding officer, a very senior rank, chose to fight from the front with their men at all times,” he said.
  • “Col Rai always led from the front in multiple operations that he carried out in 2014 and also in 2015. He combined bravery with compassion and people in Tral knew him very well for his several initiatives,” he told reporters. “The supreme sacrifice of the brave men only strengthens our resolve to fight all elements inimical to the security of Kashmir,” he said. Rai had taken “a number of initiatives for the positive engagement of youth like organizing cricket and football tournaments”.
  • “Clearly under his leadership, we could say that the narrative in Tral was changing. He earned the admiration of all the administration for his meticulous planning and we have seen how Tral turned out to vote,” Lt Gen Saha said.
  • Speaking to media persons, Rai’s father said his youngest son was “simple and honest, with no trace of anger”. While the martyr’s parents and his wife Priyanka were inconsolable, his three children — Alka and Richa (8) and Aditya (6) — tried putting up a brave face.
  • “He was full of life; always cracking jokes, making people laugh,” Major Sanjay Tanwar, Rai’s former batchmate said.
  • “He walked shoulder-to-shoulder with his men,” Tanwar, a Shaurya Chakra awardee, said.
  • “Life is in the academy is tough. The training is aggressive and the atmosphere is tense. But, there was never a dull moment with Rai. He always cracked jokes that revolved around a character Pappu, so Pappu became his nickname,” Tanwar recalled.
  • “During training, we saw a different side of him… One day we had to ‘race back’ to our academy. The exercise involves running long distances with a 20 kg weight on the back along with one’s rifle. That’s when we saw the ‘superhuman’ side of him. Some of us were dehydrated. He not only carried his own bag then but two more bags to ensure that the platoon doesn’t feel let down. That was the sense of his pride,” Tanwar said.
  • “Play your role in life with such passion, that even after the curtains are down, the applause does not stop” said the last status message on his Whats App.
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49 Tributes
  • Gobind Vijayakumar - Bangalore Urban,Karnataka

    2019 at 10:12 am Reply

    Proud of you sir! Jai Hind

  • Dhanya K - Dakshina Kannada,Karnataka

    2019 at 11:56 pm Reply

    Saluting Col MN Rai and his family !
    Jai Hind !
    RIP !

  • Prerna Anand - New Delhi,Delhi

    2019 at 3:14 pm Reply

    Very Proud of you a d your daughter. Salute to you Sir.

  • Tanusree Chatterjee - Kolkata,West Bengal

    2019 at 4:03 pm Reply

    Salute to you sir. U will always be alive in our heart.

  • Shilpi Upadhyay - East Delhi,Delhi

    2019 at 2:49 pm Reply

    A grand salute from my soul… to the brave Army Personnel… who laid down his life.. protecting us.

    Will always be in your dept!

    Will always remember you as a brave son if India!

    Jai Hind!

  • Karthick - Chennai,Tamil Nadu

    2019 at 2:36 pm Reply

    Proud of you and your family for contributing so much for the nation.
    Wish India gets ruled by people like you one day

  • JEEVAN KISHORE CHALLA - Anantapur,Andhra Pradesh

    2019 at 7:41 pm Reply

    Sir, Your sacrifice and valour show the true spirit of an Indian army official. Your daughter’s war cry made us cry. Salute to you sir.

  • JEEVANKISHORE CHALLA - Vizianagaram,Andhra Pradesh

    2019 at 7:45 pm Reply

    SIR, Your Valour and Sacrifice show the true spirit of the Indian army. Your daughter’s war cry made us cry. Salute to you, sir.

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