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Captain Vijyant Thapar's father makes pilgrimage to war zone; son had asked him to be there.

Father 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.

Young 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.














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