Vijyant Thapar's father makes pilgrimage to war zone; son had
asked him to be there.
climbs 16,000 ft to fulfill son's last wish (Indian Express)
It was Captain Vijyant Thapar's last wish- before he fell after
taking the 4,700 Peak in the Drass sector. Vijyant, 22, wanted his
father to visit the height where the army jawans sacrificed their
lives. That was on June 28. Yesterday, Vijyant,s 58- year-old father
Colonel Vijendra Thapar fulfilled that wish. It was a climb to the
peak at an altitude of 16,000 feet in the chilly September winds.
The winds chilled him to the bone,his legs ached and breathing in
rarefied air was laboured. But Thaper senior, despite his frail
frame, continued to climb. For him it was pilgrimage. The body was
not willing, but the spirit was, he said. " I had kept his last
letter with me for inspiration. He had written it moments before
he led the last assault that night. And he knew he was not coming
back." Colonel Thaper said, trying hard not to let his voice waver.
By the time you get this letter I'll be observing you all from the
sky enjoying the hospitality of Apsaras," he wrote. Reading the
first line of the letter from their son Vijyant from Drass heights,
Colonel Thapar's heart sank. Little did the parents know that when
they were reading this letter, their son had already killed several
enemy soldiers, destroyed their position but fallen to an enemy
bullet. Soon, they received his body. " If you can, please come
and see where the Indian Army fought for your tomorrow," the letter
read. And that was the time that Thaper senior made up his mind.
Vijyant's mother Tripta, was supportive and so was the Army. The
whole of July and August were, however, spent in religious rites
and receiving a flow of letters, people and visitors all coming
to pay homage to the " young son of India". " That to gave me strength.
The nation was behind me. A young girl even wrote a letter in blood.
And mainly because it was the wish of a soldier son to a father,"
says the Colonel who recently bid farewell to arms.
Vijyant of 2 Rajputana Rifles had passed out of the Indian Military
Academy (IMA) last December and after two months in counter insurgency
operations in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir was drafted
for the recovery of crucial peaks in the Drass sector occupied by
the Pakistani army. " Three of them died that night. Major Padmapani
Acharya, young Captain Neikezhakuo Kenguruse and my son. Acharya
and my son died within an hour of each other. I just had to see
that pilgrimage spot," he adds. Even it meant climbing those inhospitable
peaks. Thaper senior reached Drass on September 6 and then began
the acclimatisation period. The Colonel spent time in the
tent where his son and his buddies lived before.
VIJYANT MEMORIAL MANDIR AT KNOLL