Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2010 by the author on his personal site. Even after five years, the story still remains as fresh. Least we can do is, remember our martyrs, keeping their stories alive.
The trip to 89, Vijyant Enclave, Sec-29, Noida was spent contemplating the course of action which had to be taken after reaching. It was 3 PM and thoughts of upsetting grieving parents or being unable to meet Colonel V. N. Thapar were the dominant amongst all others. We were on our way to the home of Capt. Vijayant Thapar, VrC who was martyred in Kargil war.
Tentatively, we rang the door bell. Few anxious moments passed. “Kaun?” A lady asked from inside. Dumbstruck, we were unable to find words. “Kaun hai?” The voice again asked. One of us mustered the courage to say, “Aunty Col. Thapar se milna tha.” We were warmly welcomed to the household. A large portrait of Capt. Vijayant welcomed us smilingly. Soon the pleasantries were exchanged and chit-chat started. My friends dealt with majority of talking as I took the back seat perplexed at the smiling faces in front of me. Half my time was spent in assessing whether Mrs. Thapar’s smile was genuine or not. Soon I realized that she was smiling because she was more proud of her son than any mother on this planet. Discussion veered from politics & society to army and the rampant corruption. Col. Thapar was visibly distressed on the failure of bureaucracy to meet ex-army officer’s demand of one-rank one-pension. It was apparent that the couple fought vehemently and did not lose a chance to protest against injustices met out to ex-army officers and in other arenas of society.
It was as if bravery runs in the veins of this family. The father serves 37 years in army and retires when son is commissioned. Son is martyred at the age of 22 defending the nation, when most us were busy slogging to go into topmost MNCs available. Family braves it and moves on trying to inspire many other lives. This cannot be the family of mere mortals!! It was a pilgrimage for me today.
And in the meanwhile what was the Government doing? People in power were busy perpetrating scams. The list is long and endless. We have become a nation where nothing matters except money. Our policies have made our young soldiers to lay down their lives more frequently than ever. Have we lost all respect for people who died saving our future? Is there nothing beyond IPL, Bigg Boss and Bollywood gossip? I cannot even urge our media to spread awareness about it now. They are all corrupt! Where to go and whom to ask for help other than god almighty? Is the entire nation sleeping in drunken slumber or else Why is that young boys of 22-23 when martyred, nobody even bats an eyelid?
As I write this, I am aware that for many of you, the name of Capt. Vijayant Thapar would not ring any bells. And why would it be, he did not act in any movie or play a cricket match. Following is the tale of Capt. Thapar’s valour. Do compare it with any Rambo, Terminator or XYZ action movie you have ever seen-
2 Raj Rif was given the task of captaining Tololing Knoll, Three Pimples. In these actions Robin (Capt. Vijayant Thapar) fought like a man and a true soldier. These forbidding heights were held by enemy Northern Light Infantry (NLI). They had well constructed fortification, were very well stocked, well placed and dominating the narrow ridge line on which 2 Raj Rif had to attack. In Tololing capture operation, determined to go to the forefront, Lt. Vijyant finally captured Bar Bagh bunker, Pt. 4590, which proved to be crucial. At 4 a.m., with 20 degrees Celsius on June 12 and 13, Tololing was captured. Leading his men of Raj Rifles in an audacious attack against heavily forfeited Tololing Hill, he hoisted the Indian Tricolor there, smiling and sitting on top of the hill, with a dead pakistani soldier lying around. It was a turning point in the Kargil conflict and was the first victory for India in Kargil.
After the successful capture of Tololing he spoke to his mother on V Sat telephone and proudly said “Mama we have captured Tololing”. Later on 28 June, 2 Raj. Rif. was given the task of capturing Three Pimples, Knoll and Lone Hill area. The attack started with Vijyant’s platoon leading on a full moon night along a razor sharp ridge with no cover to offer. There was an intense and accurate artillery shelling and heavy enemy fire. He lost some of his dear men and some more were injured causing the attack to be disrupted. However, with his indomitable spirit and tremendous urge to capture Knoll, he got together the remnants of his men and moved through a ravine to face the enemy. It was a full moon night. Moreover this was an impossible position to capture. The troops of enemy 6 Northern Light Infantry had all the advantages – Strongly prepared positions, one narrow knife edge ridge, with precipitous slopes on both side, ravines thousands of feet deep, devoid of cover and almost vertical climbs at places.
At 8 PM, the attack commenced with a thunderous shatter as 120 guns opened fire rockets hit up the sky. Shells, Indians and Pakistani covered the whole area mixed with lethal machine gun fire. Into this inferno 2 Raj Rif moved with capt. Vijyant Thapar leading the attack. Among the first to fall in this rain of death was Sepoy Jagmal Singh Vijyant’s very dear orderly.
While the exchange of fire was going on, full of excitement Vijyant reached his company which had already secured a foothold on Knoll. By this time his company commander Major P. Achrya had been killed. At this news Vijyant’s anger was explosive. He surged ahead with his colleague Naik Tilak Singh. Both of them started engaging the enemy merely 15 mts. away. There were two enemy machine guns firing towards them. After about an hour and a half of fierce exchange of bullets and abuses Vijyant decided that he had to end the enemy. As he moved up to do so, a burst of fire struck him in his head. He fell in the arms of his comrade Naik Tilak Singh. A brave son of India had fallen. It was after that the men of his company charged and fully captured Knoll. The victory at Knoll on 29 June 1999 is a saga of bravery unmatched, and unbounded grit and determination. Courage alone and unflinching faith in almighty God alone turned a tactically impossible situation into a victory. Sometime just before the final assault, Vijayant had written his last letter to his family.
Did Vijayant lay his life for nothing? A boy of 22 died for the nation, can’t we even think of that nation for a couple of moments? Look around yourself. You will surely find something worthwhile which can go a long way in helping our country.
Col. Thapar and every martyr’s home is a pilgrimage which should be visited by a youngster before he goes to Kashi, Mecca or Medina.
वही मेरा काशी, वही मेरा मदीना,
जहाँ रहती है वो माँ, जिसका लाल वतन पे शहीद हुआ…
(Please visit www.captainvijayantthapar.com to read more about the brave-heart.)