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In the chain of motivational lectures, it was Col V N Thapar who addressed the students of IIT Kanpur online. He is more popularly known as and who feels proud in being remembered and to be called as Father of Capt Vijyant Thapar Vir Chakra, who sacrificed his life for the nation on 29 Jun 1999.
Capt Vijayant Thapar Vir Chakra was born on 26 Dec 1976 in a military family to Colonel V N Thapar and Mrs Tripta Thapar. Having brought up in the army family Capt Thapar always wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father. In his childhood, he would often play with a gun and march around wearing his father’s peak cap and holding his cane like an officer. He pursued his dream and worked hard to get selected in IMA Dehradun. He did exceedingly well in his training and was commissioned into 2 Rajputana Rifles on 12 Dec 1998.Capt Vijyant Thapar Vir Chakra was the Fourth generation in the Indian Army starting from his grate grandfather, grandfather, his father and followed by him.
Capt Vijayant’s first unit 2 Rajputana Rifles was at Gwalior in 1998. He stayed there for a month before the unit moved to Kashmir to undertake anti-insurgency operations. Here Capt Vijayant was involved in two fierce encounters. While talking to his mother on the telephone he described how he lived through a live encounter in which about thirty bullets were fired at him. Later his unit was tasked to move to Drass in Kargil sector to undertake operations against Pak forces who had occupied Tololing, Tiger Hill, and adjoining heights.
Battle of Tololing, Knoll and Three Pimples: June 1999
On 11 June 1999, Capt Vijayant’s battalion under the command of Col M.B. Ravindernath, was tasked to capture the feature Tololing. After the initial assault by Major Mohit Saxena was held up, on the night of 12th June’99, Capt Vijayant Thapar led his platoon to capture a Pakistani position called Barbad Bunker which proved crucial for the onward battle for Tololing. During this attack 2 Pakistani soldiers were killed in the melee of fire from sides and behind. Tololing was the first victory for Indian army on 13th June 1999 and was the turning point in the war.
Later on 28 June, 2 Raj Riffals was given the task of capturing Three Pimples, Knoll and Lone Hill area. The attack started with Capt Vijayant’s platoon leading on a full moon night along a razor-sharp ridge with no cover to offer. There were 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 strong determination, he moved ahead along with his troops through a ravine to face the enemy. It was a full moon night and was a very difficult position to capture. The troops of enemy’s 6 Northern Light Infantry had all the advantages.
At 8 PM the attack commenced when 120 guns opened fire and rockets lit up the sky. In this heavy exchange of fire 2 Raj Rif moved with Capt Vijayant Thapar leading the attack. Among the first to fall in this battle was Sep Jagmal Singh, Capt Vijayant’s very dear orderly. Finally, Capt Vijayant’s company secured a foothold on Knoll. By this time his company commander Major P Acharya had been killed. Enraged at this news, Capt Vijayant surged ahead with his comrade Naik Tilak Singh. Both of them started engaging the enemy merely 15 meters away. There were three enemy machine guns firing towards them. After about an hour and a half of fierce exchange of fire Capt Vijayant realized that the enemy machine guns had to be silenced to continue their advance towards their objective.
The ridge beyond Knoll was very narrow and sharp and only 2 or 3 soldiers could walk abreast. The danger of getting killed here was very real and therefore Capt Vijayant decided to go ahead himself with Naik Tilak Singh. Capt Vijayant in a daring move surged ahead to do that but was hit by a burst of fire that struck him on his head. He fell in the arms of his comrade Naik Tilak Singh. Capt Vijayant was martyred but motivated by his daredevilry and leadership, his troops later charged at the enemy and fully captured Knoll. The victory at Knoll on 29 June 1999, is a saga of unmatched bravery, grit and determination. CaptVijayant Thapar was awarded, “Vir Chakra” for his gallantry, unyielding fighting spirit and supreme sacrifice. Capt Vijayant Thapar is survived by his father, an Army veteran Col V N Thapar, mother MrsTripta Thapar and brother Vijender Thapar.
Col V N Thapar in his address to the students of IIT Kanpur said“Very few people or parents get the distinction of getting known by the deeds of their children. Just like all of you Capt Vijyant was barely 22 yrs, he was spirited, fearless and most importantly, he was a young man with convictions and a dream that he wanted to live. It was his dream to were the uniform that his forefathers had worn with pride so that they can defend the frontiers of our country. In spite of all the difficulties that he had he archived his goal and that is the kind of spirit and dedication the youth should have. CaptVijyants job was to protect India and your job is to make a better India than what you have inherited and for this you require a character of steel which can withstand any pressures in the times to come. There will be times and crisis when you will be tested and it is at this time your character will help you to sail through the storm.
In Jun 1999 in Kargil when the sky over the Kargil attack was not clear. Capt Vijyant was given the responsibility of carrying out an attack on a hill feature called Knoll, a feature which was having a near vertical climb. Let me tell you I go there every year to visit and the feature is really scary and that too they had to climb at night and enemy sitting on the top with fully protected defenses. It was a moonlit night and the enemy could see them very clearly. The temperature was minus 15 degree at a height of 16,000 ft. The oxygen level was depleting, even walking was very difficult on the other hand these going men were carrying 25 to 30 kg of load on them and going for the attack in such a condition. In such a situation when enemy had opened up all their weapons from Artillery guns to Machine guns, here was this young officer who was leading his men by his personal example. Tomorrow you too will have to lead your teams in corporate, you will have to lead by personal example.
In the end of the attack he captured his objective by sacrificing his life for the nation, gentlemen in your life too you will come across challenges when you will have to choose between a difficult path or an easier one with shortcuts and compromises. I would say that always go on the correct path that is wright for your men even if is difficult for you. The choice will be yours.The easier path may appear to be attractive but it will destroy your soul and spirit. Always remember that nation looks up to its best youth that is you all have to set an example by making the right choices.
Never look back from the goal that you have set for yourself, you have lot of examples like the late President Abdul kalam, Sunder Pichai, etc to guide you in your life. You have to createan India which world will look up to. Read the book “Vijyant in Kargil” and that would be enough inspiration for you all. Gentlemen, Life is measured with the intensity with which you live and nothing else.
Making a mention of CaptVijyants last letter he said if you ever go to Leh please visit the Hall of fame where his last letter is displayed and along with that is my reply to his letter in that I say :
“Son, The brave way you left this world, at the age of 22 is a measure of how you lived your short life and what you valued. In meeting the stark challenges of capturing Knoll against all odds, during the battle of Three Pimples with heroic coolness and single-minded devotion to duty, you have achieved immortal honour. In death, you have epitomized the spirit of national pride – an honour which makes every sacrifice worthwhile. Your actions will forever inspire generations of Indians to come. You have left us with pride for being the parents of a worthy son and a lifetime of pain for having lost a child we loved”.
Do remember his last words in his letter “Live Life King Size”
Capt Vijyant Thapar Vir Chakra last letter: