Service No : IC-6059
Date of Birth : April 22, 1924
Place of birth : Narowal(Punjab)
Service : Army
Last Rank : Major
Unit : 4 Rajput
Arm/Regt : The Rajput Regiment
Operation : Indo-China War 1962
Martyrdom : November 23, 1962
Major Trilok Nath hailed from Narowal district of undivided Punjab (now in present-day Pakistan) and was born on 22 April 1924. Son of Shri Ram Ratan Sarin and Smt Kesara Devi, he joined the Indian army in the year 1948 at the age of 24 years. He was commissioned into the 4 Rajput Battalion of the famed Rajput regiment known for its valour and various battle honours. In the following years of completing his training, he served in various operational areas and gained proficiency in the required field-craft skills. After serving for some time, he got married to Ms Saraswathie and the couple had three sons Lalit, Ganesh, Sunil, and two daughters Anjana & Pamila.
By 1962, he had put in about 14 years of service and had been promoted to the rank of Major. By then he had evolved into a committed soldier and a fine officer. In 1962, Major Trilok Nath's unit was stationed in Belgaum. As the Chinese hostilities escalated along the border in Sep-Oct 1962, and troops from across the country were rushed to NEFA (North-East Frontier Agency, the present-day Arunachal Pradesh). 4th Rajput battalion with Major Trilok Nath as the officiating Commanding Officer, was also asked to move to NEFA along with many other units.
Battle at Lagyala Gompa(Indo China War): Nov 1962
On getting the movement order, Major Trilok Nath's unit left Belgaum and moved via Pune, Barauni to reach New Missamari on 23rd October. The unit was assigned to 65th Brigade under Brigadier GM Saeed. The battalion had a strength of 8 officers, 18 JCOs and 575 ORs. The battalion was asked to occupy the left side of Bomdi La with 1 Madras on the right. But even before it could get there it was reassigned to Dirang Dzong. The battalion was assigned to capture left flank of the Division covering the approach from Orka La-Punsum la, however the “C” Company of the battalion was made responsible to protect the headquarter of 4th Infantry Division. In the meantime, Lt Col Brahmanand Avasthy, who was serving as an Instructor in the Infantry School at Mhow was chosen to be Commanding Officer of the battalion and he took charge on 29 Oct 1962.
The 65 Brigade besides 4 Rajputs had battalions of 1st Sikh, 2nd Sikh and 4th Sikh Light Infantry Regiment. When patrolling soldiers of 1 Sikh LI observed some suspicious movements from the other side, a patrol party consisting of soldiers from these 3 Sikh LI battalions totaling 200 soldiers was sent out. The patrolling team crossed the Luguthana-Kya La line and planned to climb the nearest highest peak to observe the area carefully. As it had become dark they decided to make a defensive post there and planned to move the next morning. However, the Indian patrolling parties were being tracked by the Chinese forces and they waited for the opportune moment to ambush the Indian soldiers. The Chinese forces attacked the Sikh LI soldiers and 63 of them perished in the attack, which stunned the Brigade HQ.
However the aggressive patrolling continued and another patrol of 4 Rajputs under Naib Subedar Man Singh encountered the Chinese in the Jalak Pu area. Subsequently, a decision was taken to withdraw from Sela. With the 62 Infantry Brigade falling back from Sela, Lt Col Awasthy decided to defend Bridge 1 to allow the brigade and remnants from 4th Division to retreat. At 0730 hrs on 18th Nov morning the HQ 65th Infantry Brigade asked the battalion to withdraw. A little later Battalion HQ asked D company to fall back to Headquarters near Sapper Camp. By the time the Battalion HQ decided to withdraw they had elements of B company, elements of C company and D company. This group consisted of seven officers which included Lt Col Avasthy, Major Trilok Nath, Major Y Tandon, Captain Dayal Singh, Captain SK Mitra, Lieutenant DS Drar and Second Lieutenant Chatrapati Singh. However 62 Inf Brigade never returned and the remaining soldiers filtered through some other routes. Finally Lt Col Avasthy pulled back to Lubrang destroying any stores that could not be carried back. From there he moved to Phudung joined by various stragglers, many of them wounded and had to be carried. When this force reached Priyadung, they saw that the track bifurcated with one side climbed towards an old monastery Lagyala Gompa and the other followed a stream towards Morshing. Major Trilok Nath and his comrades decided to take the route to Lagyala Gompa.
Lagyala Gompa, one of the holiest Buddhist shrines in Arunachal Pradesh was located on a high feature overlooking the Morshing Valley as well as the route Lt Col Avasthy was taking. There was a plateau just before it made its steep climb to the monastery making it an ideal place for ambush. The movement of Major Trilok Nath and his troops was being tracked by the enemy forces and a 500 strong Chinese unit had already moved in behind and one group was waiting in ambush at Lagyala Gompa. On 23 Nov, as Major Trilok Nath and his troops approached the Gompa they came under heavy fire from the Chinese. Although lacking heavy firepower the CO launched a 2 pronged counter attack. The battle was fierce and the Chinese annoyed by the casualties they were taking, tried to isolate the CO Lt Col Avasthy and cut him off. Finally it came down to hand to hand combat. However after few hours of fierce fighting, the Chinese prevailed. Major Trilok Nath, the CO Lt Col Avasthy and all other gallant soldiers of the battalion were martyred and the battlefield was littered with the bodies of 126 Indian soldiers and over 200 Chinese soldiers. A shepherd boy who later became the Head Lama of the monastery was the only witness to this heroic episode. The Chinese dug a mass grave for the Indians and left a flattened ration tin with the names of the officers. On 11 December 1962, Major Trilok Nath’s body, along with that of CO and five other officers, was found in a mass grave dug by the Chinese. Major Trilok Nath made the supreme sacrifice in the cause of his nation in the face of incredible odds— high altitude, hostile terrain, bitter cold, lack of proper equipment and ammunition, and meagre rations. Major Trilok Nath was a courageous soldier and gritty officer, who led from the front and laid down his life, upholding the highest traditions of the Indian Army.
Major Trilok Nath is survived by his children, Shri Lalit Kumar Sarin, Smt Anjana Sarin Marwaha, Shri Ganesh Sarin, Shri Sunil Sarin, and Smt Pamila Sarin Bakshani.