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Capt. Vijyant Thapar in his childhood days


By Ila Garg


Kargil War Heroes – Part 8

Carrying forward the family legacy, Capt. Vijyant Thapar joined the armed forces. His family had served in the Army for a long time. In fact, he was named after the name of the main battle tanks of the army. His great grandfather Dr. Capt. Karta Ram Thapar, his grandfather Mr. J.S. Thapar, and his father Col. V.N. Thapar all served the Army during their professional lives. Vijyant’s grandfather encouraged him to join the Army. Capt. Vijyant’s father retired after 37 years’ service in 1999 and in the same year that Capt. Vijyant was commissioned.

Capt. Vijyant then joined the 2 Rajputana Rifles at Gwalior. The battalion then moved to Kashmir to check insurgency. While still involved in this counter insurgency, orders were received for the unit to evict the enemy who had occupied Tololing, Tiger Hill, and adjoining heights.


Capt. Vijyant with his troops moved to the Drass sector under Col. M.B. Ravindernath, commanding officer, and his company commander Major Padmapani Acharya. Initial attempts were no good. On the night of June 12, 1999, Capt. Vijyant Thapar led his platoon to capture a Pakistani post called Barbad Bunker. His diary notes show how in close combat he killed two soldiers but was disappointed at not being able to capture the two enemy soldiers alive.

After the victory of Tololing, he spoke to his mother on a V Sat telephone and proudly said, “Mumma, we have captured Tololing.” 2 Rajputana Rifles was then given the task of captaining Three Pimples, Knoll. Capt. Vijyant Thapar aka ‘Robin’ fought like a valiant and true soldier. These forbidding heights were held by enemy Northern Light Infantry (NLI). The troops of NLI (Pakistan) had all the advantages – well entrenched in strongly prepared


positions, well stocked with precipitous slopes on both sides, while the Indian troops were devoid of cover. With almost vertical climbs at an altitude of 15000 ft and a temperature of -15 °C, it was indeed an impossible mission.

There were intense artillery shelling and heavy bombardment. Some brave soldiers lost their lives and some more were injured, causing the attack to be disrupted for a short while. However, Capt. Vijyant was a brave-heart. With his undying spirit, love to serve the nation, and tremendous urge to capture Knoll, he gathered himself and moved through a ravine to face the enemy with the remaining soldiers.


While the exchange of fire was going on, Capt. Vijyant, along with his platoon secured a foothold on Knoll. By this time, his company commander Major Padmapani Acharya had been killed. This further angered Capt. Vijyant and he surged ahead with his colleague Naik Tilak Singh. There were two enemy machine guns firing towards them. After about an hour and a half of fierce exchange of bullets, Capt. Vijyant moved ahead to kill the enemy. Suddenly, a burst of fire struck him on his head. He fell in the arms of his comrade Naik Tilak Singh and closed his eyes forever. The victory at Knoll on 29 June, 1999, is a saga of bravery unmatched, and unbounded grit and determination.

Capt. Vijyant was awarded India’s high military honour, the Vir Chakra by the President of India, for his acts of bravery during the Kargil War. In an exchange of mails, Capt. Vijyant Thapar’s father, Col. V. N. Thapar told NewsGram that he is grateful for the fact that the nation still continues to remember his son:

“Sixteen years after we lost our son in the Kargil war your mail was most thoughtful. Thanks. It is this support that has sustained us through these years. Young men like Vijyant did what the nation expected of them – their duty. Actually, the war at Kargil brought the best in the Indian nation – those like Capt. Vijyant, who fought bravely and fell honourably to redeem India’s sanctity and the countrymen who showered their love and their support for the brave hearts. We, of course, feel proud of what he has done, but losing a young son is painful and we go through it every day of our life.

Kargil is already a distant memory. We don’t want the legacy of the young men like Capt. Vijyant to fade and be lost to the coming generation of Indian, who have a right to know what their previous generation did and be inspired.”


Capt. Vijyant Thapar in his childhood days

Even as a child, the captain always thought about others more than himself. As a person, he was very warm hearted and considerate. He always wanted to be in the Army. His favourite toys were guns. He would wear his father’s peak cap, take his cane, and march around like an officer. At the age of four or five, he had already fired a pistol sitting in his dad’s embrace.

His brother, Tarun Thapar says, “Robin’s sacrifice has deeply moved us all. He will always remain in our hearts.”

During his training, Capt. Vijyant did very well and got the silver medal for standing second in the order of merit in the first term. He also got a Gold Medal in Water Polo. He was a very principled and disciplined person and nothing was more important to him than his nation, India.

At the age of 22 when life was still to come, he chose to battle with the enemy with utter disregard for his personal safety.


More in this segment:

Kargil War Heroes – Part 1
Kargil War Heroes – Part 2
Kargil War Heroes – Part 3
Kargil War Heroes – Part 4
Kargil War Heroes – Part 5
Kargil War Heroes – Part 6
Kargil War Heroes – Part 7
Kargil War Heroes – Part 9
Kargil War Heroes – Part 10
Kargil War Heroes – Part 11
Kargil War Heroes – Part 12
Kargil War Heroes – Part 13
Kargil War Heroes – Part 14
Kargil War Heroes – Part 15


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