Updated: Aug 26, 2020
There are many stories in the Indian Army that touch our heart and move us to the core. One such true incident is of Capt Vijyant Thapar, Vir Chakra (Posthumous), a 22 year old Indian Army officer whose family members used to fondly call him Robin. Vijayant was a benevolent soul and it showed in his actions. Vijyant was commissioned to the Indian Army on 12 Dec 1998. His Battalion, the 2nd battalion, Rajputana Rifles which was stationed at Gwalior soon moved to Kupwara, Jammu & Kashmir during Op Vijay. In 1999, six year-old Ruksana, a resident of Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir, saw her father Mohd Akbar, being brutally murdered by militants, and out of this sheer agony and shock, lost her ability to speak.
When Captain Thapar heard about Ruksana’s plight, he began to make daily visits to her school. Accompanied by his buddy, Sepoy Jagmal Singh Shekhawat, he would bring along sweets, chocolates and talk to the child. The two slowly formed a bond, and he even took Ruksana to see a doctor.Due to these kind and consistent efforts of Captain Thapar,Ruksana slowly started recovering from the trauma of her father’s death and started speaking again. Vijayant took care of her like his own child. He even used to contribute a small amount from his salary towards her education.
Unfortunately, in June, that year, tragedy struck. The brave Captain Thapar lost his life, in the Battle of Tololing in Kargil. However, before he left for his last operation, he had written to his family, asking them to take care of Ruksana. Describing their bond, he requested his family to keep sending her help every month.
It's been 21 years now. Rukhsana is pursuing her graduation in Arts from Degree College, Handwara and her education is taken care by Col VN Thapar (retd). The 73 year old Col Thapar, who is Capt Thapar’s father, stated that they have honoured the wishes of their late son, stayed in touch with Ruksana, and have been sending her financial help on an annual basis.
Col V N Thapar (Retd) visits 47 RR Battalion every year in the month of Jun/July to meet Rukhsana. She has grown up to be a very bright student and is fluent in English, Hindi and Urdu and is living a happy life with her family comprising of her Mother Ameena Begum (currently working with the Electricity Dept in Handwara), her elder brother Mohd Aslam Rather and younger sister Shista Akbar in village Tarats.
Capt Vijyant Thapar was posthumously awarded the Vir Chakra. We salute the hero who selflessly laid down his life for the nation and what’s more, gave a little girl her voice back.